The origins of yerba mate begin with the Guarani, an ancient people indigenous to the South American rainforests, who not only used the leaves as a drink, but as a currency in their exchanges with other prehistoric cultures. For the Guarani, the yerba mate tree was worshiped as a gift from the gods and prized for its strength-giving properties.
European explorers soon learned from the Guarani the uses and virtues of yerba mate, and its consumption quickly spread across the region as its reputation as the “drink of the gods” grew. In time, the Jesuits would introduce yerba mate to the world, and today the tradition of drinking yerba mate has remained unchanged for centuries.
As the world’s leading producer of yerba mate, Argentina cultivates the tree with production practices that are one hundred percent natural. Within Argentina, the plant is cultivated in the Misiones Province, where the trees thrive in the region’s humid, subtropical climate, growing to approximately 40-50 ft. tall before being harvested.
Yerba mate leaves are similar to wine in their aging process, which can take anywhere from one month to three years to age depending on the variety. From germination to packaging, it takes approximately five years to harvest just one crop of yerba mate.