bulk loose-leaf yerba mate in philly
I used to supply my mate addiction at the Shop&Bag on Walnut at 43rd, which had a whole range of brands and types (with stems, with powder, just leaves, etc) -- kilo sacks of loose leaves for $11. They still have a decent Latin American section but they stopped carrying mate altogether.
Whole Foods carries little bags of the expensive organic Guayaki loose-leaf mate, but that's a little fancy for my habit. I've been randomly poking my nose into bodega-type places, to no avail as yet.
My stash is running low! Does anyone know where to get reasonably priced bulk yerba mate in Philly?
Thanks, you guys!
Spice Corner in the Italian Market has it. Their prices are always good but I can't speak to the quality.
yerba mate is a kind of tea (or tisane, i guess, since it's not from the tea plant). it's popular in parts of latin america, where sometimes people drink it from a gourd-&-straw type thing.
yerba mate has more caffeine than black tea, and can have as much caffeine as coffee, depending on how strong you brew it. but it doesn't have some of the side effects of coffee (for example, it's not a laxative, and it's not as acidic as most coffee). it's supposed to also naturally contain something like an maoi-inhibitor type antidepressant, and for me it's definitely a perceptible mood booster. it's a more focused, less jittery, less chatty "high" than coffee.
yerba mate tastes kind of smooth/planty-sweet/bitter, a little like green tea, but definitely not as delicate or perfumey. it's good plain or with sweeteners or even milk.
if you're making it at home, the only difference between brewing yerba mate and brewing black tea is that you have to douse the leaves in cold water first to protect them. and i like to let the boiled water rest for a minute before pouring it over. you can reuse the soaked leaves a couple of times.
yerba mate is available with stems (con palo, smoother and less caffeinated) and without, with more or less powdered leaves (i.e. with more or less of a kick), in teabags and loose, and sometimes mixed with herbs (mint, chamomile and others) or citrus peels.
Cousin's grocery market on 5th and Berks carries cruz de malta kg bags for $5. Just picked up 2.