Buzzing in the Bay

An exploration of healthy caffeine alternatives

Yerba makin’ me crazy

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I never started drinking coffee until I began college nearly five years ago and since then it has become a ritual every morning. It got to the point that even if I was going to be late for class, it was okay, as long as I had time to get a cup of coffee.

It didn’t get bad until I was studying abroad in Europe last year, which makes sense now looking back, because they devour their coffee. I kept telling myself that it was time for a change, due to the fact that coffee destroys my stomach and makes me a jittering wreck, but I could not find an alternative that had the same effect and jumpstarted my brain enough to pay attention during my 8 a.m. class.

Then I moved back to one of the most health conscious cities I have ever been in: San Francisco.


So now as I sit here in Philz Coffee, I feel like the odd person out drinking an iced Yerba Mate out of a paper coffee cup that should be filled with something hot.

What is Yerba Mate you might ask? In layman’s terms, it is a tree found in the rainforest of South America and its dried leaves are used to make a tea-like drink.

With research I found out that Yerba Mate does in fact have caffeine. However, it is considered a healthier/organic alternative because while it does have relatively the same milligrams of caffeine as a cup of coffee, it does not have the same side effects and it contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.

This sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but I would choose a Mate over a cup of coffee any day; and this is coming from someone who would drink coffee like there was no tomorrow.

Why I prefer Mate:

  • Doesn’t give me coffee breath
  • Doesn’t make the smell of coffee ooze out of my pores all day
  • Doesn’t color or make me clench my teeth
  • No crash
  • No jitters
  • No acidic stomachache
  • I can drink more than one cup without feeling overly hyperactive
  • Easy to drink quick

This list can go on for days but this drink is amazing and packaged by Guayaki, comes in many forms including energy shots, loose tea, tea bags, bottled flavored teas (my personal favorite) and canned carbonated drinks. What’s even more convenient is that (in San Francisco at least) this beverage can be found in nearly every liquor store and market.

But don’t take my word for it; Go out and try a cup, bottle, can or shot of this energy-filled drink. It will start your day right without a stomachache, coffee breath or crash later.


In regards to an immediate jolt and on a scale of 1-10, I would rate Yerba Mate a solid nine.


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