Dearies, Kat is in Brazil right now, and she just sent me a postcard! I was so excited to get it. The historic sights! The gorgeous beaches! But the first thing she mentioned was tea! Actually, it was that she found a new kind of ‘tea’ to drink there. It’s called Yerba Mate, which is a naturally caffeinated herbal tea. Have you tried it? Kat wrote that she’s seen it in the states before, but never thought to try it. She said it is a great addition to her morning tea routine because it wakes you right up without giving you jitters.
Mate is made from the leaves of the South American holly tree, and it is traditionally sipped from a gourd with a metal straw called a bombilla that has a strainer in it. She was very excited to find a new kind of tea that has a unique taste and caffeine to wake her up. The flavor is a bit bitter and astringent but also vegetal. She said she added some sugar to it, even though most people in Brazil drink it straight. I decided to do a little research on mate myself, and found interesting story about it.
I also discovered there are a more non-traditional teas that are perfect to wake up with. Here’s what I found for any time you need a bit of help to shrug off that sleepy feeling:
Guayusa: This is the Amazonian cousin to yerba mate that is found in Argentina and Ecuador. The flavor is supposed to be smoother than mate and a bit fruity. It can be more difficult to find than yerba mate, but look for it in the tea section of your health food store. You’ll be surprised to see it sitting on she shelf near the mate. I’m going to tell Kat to give it a try as soon as she gets home.
Yaupon: This caffeine-rich plant is grown right here in the southern United States! Similar to the teas above, it is also a species of the holly tree. It has a very interesting history and was used by Native Americans as far back as a thousand years ago. There has been a recent resurgence in processing and selling the tea, and a quick internet search will produce quite a few vendors. I love the idea of trying a tea made with a leaf native to the United States.
Matcha: We’ve discussed matcha quite often, and it’s perfect as an early morning tea. The vegetal, sweet green powder feels magical to me. It wakes you up, gives you focus, and keeps you going for quite a long time. If you are too sleepy to sift and whisk the matcha in the traditional way, you can also blend it, or even put the tea and water in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake it up. There is no excuse not to enjoy your matcha in the morning!
Would you swap out your black breakfast tea blend for one of these? There is room for a large selection to choose from. Pick the wake-me-up tea based on what you’re craving. If I know Kat, she certainly won’t abandon her beloved breakfast tea altogether. And why should she? These days her morning tea of choice is an English breakfast black tea blend from Private Selection. This is a beautiful dark amber brew that is bold, malty and refreshing. She likes to add a touch of milk to enhance the sweet, brisk flavor. Kat’s cousin Tracey brought this tea over when she was staying for a long weekend. Tracey always brings this tea with her while she travels because it’s a perfect morning blend that’s easy to pack. The bags are individually wrapped, so she can add a few to her overnight bag and not worry about them getting ripped or crumpled. Kat loves a good strong breakfast tea, and she immediately added this one to her stash.
I’m excited to learn all about Kat’s adventures in Brazil, and hear more about her experience with yerba mate. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting in the kitchen with this new list of eye-opening teas. Do you enjoy an early morning tea that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to read about it in the comments.