This Spanish Drink wakes you up better than your mom

September 13, 2019 — by Sandhya Sundaram

In a six-week summer program, I lived in a frat house along with 27 other high schoolers. With so much to talk to and not enough time, we were up all night and typically slept under five hours each day. I repeated this routine each day of the six weeks. People who know this have frequently inquired as to how I am still breathing and how I survived the summer.

The answer is Yerba Mate.

This South American drink was first introduced to me in Spanish class junior year, when Señora Marks described mate as a cultural practice in Argentina. The original drink is made from infused mate leaves and can be consumed hot or cold, much like tea, and is typically passed around and shared.

With enticing flavors like Bluephoria, Passionfruit, and Pomegranate, Yerba Mates are available in most Safeways and 7/11s. The best flavor is Original, but Bluephoria is a distant second. Although similar to tea, Yerba Mate is in fact made of a different type of leaf. 

Unlike many energy drinks, the packaging doesn’t make you feel like you are buying a sketchy product that might be revealed to cause cancer in the near future. In fact, it makes me think that I am putting something healthy and natural into my body even if that isn’t the case. And the best part? The drink can have up to 140 milligrams of caffeine — the same amount of caffeine as three cups of coffee! 

With all of these benefits, I was completely hooked. Every morning this summer, running on only a handful of hours of sleep, I would grab a Yerba Mate at 7/11 and chug it during my seminar. As a result, I was able to pursue this seemingly unsustainable lifestyle for six weeks. While this may not be sustainable for the entirety of the academic year, it works for shorter time periods that require the maximum grind.

So this year if you need something to power you up, whether during finals week, AP season, or college app season, consider trying Yerba Mate. If you reduce your sleep to five hours a night, you’re probably adding years to your lifespan by just being awake for more time. I promise, you will feel invigorated.

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