Citation: Eulachon. "Kick the Coffee: An Experience with Yerba Mate & Caffeine (exp36002)". Erowid.org. Mar 7, 2007. erowid.org/exp/36002
Most experiences here seem to center around caffeine pills or extreme caffeine use, and not the daily use of caffeine - so here's a review of my first experience with Yerba Mate and replacing that old vice, coffee, with it.
After being a coffee addict for years I recently heard about Yerba Mate, a caffeine-containing herbal tea that is supposed to have less of the side-effects of caffeine due to the synergistic effect of the other compounds.
My caffeine tolerance is relatively low - perhaps I am sensitive to it. When drinking coffee my hands get shaky, my mind feels spacey for awhile at first and I always suffer a bad 'crash' as the effects wear off. I don't like the experience, however I need it to wake up in the morning.
I bought a 1/2lb of GUAYAKI Yerba Mate tea for $12 at a local headshop. Recommended dose as a coffee replacement was 1 tsp in 1 cup of tea. I decided to try it half strength due to my low tolerance. I tried it in the morning after half a week of bad insomnia, while barely able to open my eyes.
8:30AM - Drank 1 cup Yerba Mate tea, 1/2 tsp powder steeped 3min, drank straight up. A pleasant taste not unlike most teas. Also ate a bowl of honey nut cheerios.
+5min - no caffeine 'rush' as coffee has.
+10min - increased alertness, kind of creeping up on me as opposed to coffee.
+15min - talkative/energetic/alert, vision crisp and clear. Very awake. No side effects (jitters, spacey feeling) as from coffee. Slight exhilaration.
+30min - plateau, no feeling of excess energy anymore but still alert and awake. Got to work and did some work that I'd been putting off for awhile. General mood elevation.
10:30 (+2h) - very slight drowsiness creeping back in but still clarity of vision and thought, concentration fading a little.
11:00 (+2.5hr) Getting kind of drowsy but still capable of doing work well. Hungry
11:30 (+3hr) - Approaching baseline. No 'crash' but more of a gradual fading.
12:00 (+3.5hr) - More awake than I would be with a cup of coffee in the morning, about the same as if I skip the coffee.
14:00 (+5.5hr) - This is when I would normally be devastated by coffee crash and need to drink more. Instead I'm just kind of drowsy.
Overall I was very happy with the experience as a coffee replacement and would recommend it to anyone who wants to break the hold of coffee. I found it pleasant and enjoyable as opposed to the daily ritual of coffee and will continue using it in the mornings.
I will try increasing the strength next time to see if it will last longer, or perhaps I will just drink another one later in the day to top up. I recommend purchasing a gourd and bombillo to drink from, or a press-type coffee maker to use as the little bits of leaf tend to end up in your mouth, a teaball cannot strain them all out, yuck. Luckily they sink to the bottom, so it is possible to brew with a teaball.
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