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Yerba Mate

I recently ran into someone who was raving about Yerba Mate and suggested I try it as an aleternative to coffee.

I have been trying to find a good place on the westside/Southbay of LA to buy some but am not sure where to begin.

Does anyone know of a good place to buy yerba mate in the southbay or westside areas? Also, are there any brands/types in particular that are enjoyable or recommended? Do any of these places also sell the gourds and straws needed to drink the yerba mate?

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

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  1. Whole foods carries both loose leaf mate blends (Guyaki Brand) and also Mate in tea bags - Numi makes a blend, as well as Guyaki and Tazo.
    While you get a larger serving of Mateine with the loose blend, you would need to purchase a bombadilla (gourd) and straw to partake. I got mine in Argentina and haven't seen anything around here but have since switched from gourd to bagged tea because it was a hassle.

    1. I know the Trader Joe's near us sells it. You may want to call the one near you to see if they carry it too.

      1. I believe the Grand Casino Bakery in Culver City sells it.

        1. i think the best mate comes up from the tea stores that will sell it loose. the brands at whole foods are pretty good but its always yummier and fresher at a tea place. now that elixir has changed, which is so sad! you can go to the place on the corner on beverly and doheny.

          1. Went to King Ranch in Monrovia yesterday to stock up on Latino groceries, and they had maybe five or six different brands of that. I'd expect any multiinational Latino grocery would have it.

            1. I lived in Paraguay for 2.5 years where yerba mate is a way of life and people don't wake up/sleep without having it continuously for hours throughout the day. Yerba preferences depend on your preferred tastes ... minty? lemongrassy? i personally love Kurupi, if you're able to find it. I agree with the Will Owen that your Latino groceries are the best bet. DEFINITELY get the kind that is loose leaf. The bagged kind that I've found in Whole foods are nowhere naer the taste that yerba mate should have.

              7 Replies
              1. re: gottabee

                Can I assume that in the absence of a gourd and that strainer straw you can just brew this the way you do any other loose tea? We brew lots of loose teas in our pot and just pour it through a strainer. I'd also like to know more about the flavor characteristics of the various kinds.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  yes you can. the traditional method with the gourd and bombilla makes for strong mate, using a strainer can let you control the strength a bit more accurately. haven't seen any specialist mate places round here, but most loose leaf tea stores carry it. palais des thes in bh has green yerba mate, which is unfermented and has a stronger vegetal and grassy taste, rather than the toasty flavour of "brown" mate.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    You also might try Grand Casino Bakery, not only for the Yerba Mate, but for info to see if they can source the gourd and strainers straw, or if they have any suggestions on how they prefer to do it here. They sell alot of Yerba at that place. And don't forget to pick up their alfajores while you're there...

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      I haven't seen the gourds at Grand Casino in Culver City, but I kid you not, I just discovered yerbamateteagourd-dot-com Haven't ordered, can't vouch. Also, I seem to remember seeing the tea at Grand Central Market in downtown.

                      1. re: writergirl

                        Isn't the internet a beautiful thing... all at your fingertips - and a credit card of course...

                        I haven't been on jury duty for a while so it's been a long time since visiting Grand Central Market... I'm guessing it's still a Chowhound foodfest in there...

                    2. re: Will Owen

                      This may be sacralige to some, but I use a Melitta-type cone & filter, and it works just fine for the mate. Also, most Latino grocery stores (at least in my area) carry it. Have had the Guayaki from WF, and actually prefer the more inexpensive stuff carried in the local carniceria. Tastes better and definitely more value for your $$$.

                      Purists are probably shuddering - I find the coffee filter method perfectly acceptable. Have used the loose tea brewing method as well, but the ease of use with the filter (esp. when you only want 1 cup) wins me over.

                      1. re: jazzlover

                        Shoulda thought of that - I've used my Chemex to make Thai tea, for which it worked very well, though I had the devil's own time getting both the taste and the color scrubbed out! Yerba mate shouldn't be quite as hard to deal with...

                  2. I bought the Guayaki bags at GNC Health/vitamin stores, I'm sure there's one in your area.

                    1. They have about a zillion different kinds at that little hole-in-the-wall called Spain (Echo Park, not where you asked! But if you should find yourself over there, it comes in these massive bags so you'll be supplied for a long time!)

                      The food at Spain is pretty good for a quick bite, too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: superba

                        I actually work semi near to Echo Park and may be able to get to Spain, where is it exactly? Do they sell straws and gourds? Thanks

                      2. HUgo's on Riverside in Sherman Oaks/Studio city sells it, as well as the gourds and straws.

                        1. How do you pronounce the "mate" part? Is there an accent on the e?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: izzizzi

                            "mah-tay" is how I've always said it. I'm probably way off, but it is spanish, no?

                            1. re: Diana

                              I think that's right. One time I ordered it as "mate" in "g'day mate" and they corrected me, saying it the other way...I just wasn't sure.