ATASCADERO, Calif.— As of March 2019, California’s central coast will see a new ready-to-drink tea on local shelves. Sunshine Bottle Works handcrafted yerba mate tea will be available at local retailers in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The first four offerings will include mint, peach, berry and unsweetened yerba mate tea.
Many people may not be aware of what yerba mate actually is. The yerba mate plant (formally known as theIlex paraguariensisplant) is a South American plant which has been cultivated for many centuries, it is the drink of choice in many parts of South America and the Middle East. The leaves and twigs of the plant are dried out and, like tea, contain a good amount of caffeine and antioxidants along with a host of other health benefits.
Commonly described as bitter, earthy and vegetal, the taste is not like black or green tea and is quite distinctive. Organic and Fair Trade yerba mate leaves from Brazil are combined with organic yerba mate extract and organic cane sugar, along with other all natural flavors are brewed and blended to make these refreshing drinks.
“We decided to integrate two types of yerba mate into our beverages,” said owner Doug Martin. “The brewed green mate contains lots vitamins, minerals, amino acids, polyphenols and antioxidants along with great flavor, and of course the natural caffeine content. We also utilize an expensive, roasted extract which gives the tea a darker color and another layer of robust, earthy flavor but takes away some of the bitter.” In addition, Martin notes that they are adding a proprietary blend of antioxidants including organic beet root, sea buckthorn, barley grass and goji berry, all increasing the functional antioxidant aspect of the beverage.
Mate is known, among other things, to help with boosting the immune system, weight loss, concentration and better digestion. Yerba mate contains a variety of polyphenols such as the flavonoids quercetin and rutin along with three xanthines – caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, the main one being caffeine.The sweetened Sunshine teas have only 95 calories per 16 oz. bottle and the unsweetened version has only 5 calories. All beverages have 160 mg of naturally occurring caffeine.“Our Sunshine yerba mate drinks are for people who want healthy refreshment along with that extra energy boost without loads of sugar and all the fake and chemical ingredients found in many beverages today.”
Martin is confident that it will be a hit. “I brewed a lot of test batches in my little kitchen, worked on the recipe for almost a year. Many of my friends and family gave me feedback on what they liked and didn’t like, and the final product became more and more refined. There were a number of factors: sugar, acid, mate of different origin and cuts, varying levels of extract, various types of flavors and possible additives in different quantities – it was such an enjoyable but tedious process. In the end, my testers were begging to brew more! I really hope folks here on the central coast love the products as much as I enjoyed brewing them.”
In their local market of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, Sunshine yerba mate teas will be distributed through the largest local distributor, Pacific Beverage company based in Santa Barbara, California.