I love smoothies!
It was only a matter of time before some enterprising “health nut” would try adding yerba mate to a smoothie. One good nutritious drink mixed with another good nutritious drink doesn’t necessarily equal a great healthy drink – but in the case of the yerba mate smoothie – it works! Yerba mate smoothies combine plenty of energy with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients in a delightful beverage with endless variations of ingredients, textures and, of course – taste. Suddenly, yerba mate smoothies seem to be everywhere.
Several years ago, when juice bars first came to my neighborhood, I was amazed at how many different variations there were on this “juice drink” theme. There were about six of them on the main street near my home. Some succeeded and some failed. It was simply an early indicator that people were looking for a healthy alternative to a coffee break. They are not just for “breaks” however.
My wife suggested I consider a smoothie as a healthy meal and not just a beverage. I resisted because I didn’t think they would be filling enough to satisfy me for a whole meal, but I finally tried one and she was right. They are delicious and satisfying enough to fill me up.
My friend Bela Mogyorody, owner of the Viento y Agua Coffee House, has been experimenting with yerba mate smoothies for quite some time. He substitutes a strong pre-brewed Nativa Yerba Mate for part of the ice he would normally add to his recipe. The result is a refreshing yerba mate smoothie.
On a recent visit to Viento y Agua, Bela shared his latest creation with me — the Mango Mate Smoothie. It was delicious, with just a hint of yerba mate taste to the Mango fruit drink. Bela says he will promote yerba mate smoothies in a big way during the hot summer months ahead when customers are looking for something cold.
A few years ago, Robeks Juice Bars, a nationally franchised chain with more than 160 locations in 17 states, began offering Yerba Mate Chai Smoothies during the winter months — from October to December. Matt Chagnon at the Robeks near my home told me they make it with the Pixie Mate Chai Mate Concentrate, soy milk, non-fat vanilla yogurt, banana and ice. I tried one and found the taste different from most other smoothies — not fruity, but very rich and creamy. The taste was just too good to be considered a healthy drink. The Pixie Mate website has a few more yerba mate smoothie recipes that you can try too.
Here is Noelle Palm with the container of Pixie Mate Chai Mate Concentrate. Since, this nutritious drink is only “seasonal” at the present time, it’s not listed in their nutritional values brochure. I had to call Robeks’ Corporate Office to get a breakdown.
Amy Bergman, a Robeks Product Analyst, gave me the following nutritional information for the Robeks 24 oz. Chai Mate Smoothie.
- Calories – 582
- Fat (g) – 5
- Cholesterol (%DV) – 1
- Carbohydrates (g) – 121
- Sugar (g) – 104
- Protein (g) – 15
- Sodium (%DV) – 14
- Fiber (g) – 5
When I asked Amy if Robeks would be adding the Chai Mate Smoothie to their regular menu, she told me she “didn’t make those decisions.” She thought it was possible though, because the drink has been very popular.
The newest offering — and on a grand scale too — is from Smoothie King, a national franchise system with more than 550 locations in 32 states. I have been a Smoothie King customer for years, so when they announced the Berry Stimulating Mate Smoothie was coming, I thought I had “died and gone to heaven.” Here is Rachel Cruz posing by a promotional banner.
The Smoothie King announcement was a well-thought-out program in partnership with Guayaki Yerba Mate. The Smoothie King recipe uses Guayaki Chai Mate Concentrate, mixed with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, non-fat milk and turbinado for a fruit drink with some real “kick” to it. In addition to posters and signs all over the store, the Guayaki brochure at the counter attempts to direct more attention to the benefits of yerba mate. But, even if customers aren’t interested, the Berry Stimulating Mate Smoothie is attracting fans of its own.
Here is the nutritional breakdown of a Smoothie King 20 oz. Berry Stimulating Mate Smoothie from the Smoothie King website. Unfortunately, for comparison purposes anyway, some of the calibrations and the serving size do not match the Robeks 24 oz. above.
- Calories – 348
- Calories from fat – 2
- Fat (g) –
- Saturated fat (g) –
- Cholesterol (mg) –
- Carbohydrates (g) – 84
- Sugar (g) – 81
- Protein (g) – 2
- Sodium (mg) – 22
- Fiber (g) – 3
Both franchise systems make smoothies with a chai smoothie concentrate. The chai spices add a distinctive spicy flavor that seems to work with either fruit or milk based smoothies. A word of caution: please remember all yerba mate smoothies contain caffeine. This may affect the hour or amount you consume.
Last, but not least, I have been making smoothies at home for years. I decided to attempt my own version of a yerba mate smoothie. I made some yerba mate concentrate and added it to one of my own favorite smoothie recipes. It worked just fine. So, if you don’t live near an enlightened smoothie bar, you can buy (or make) some yerba mate concentrate and blend your own. You would be wise to start practicing now; summer will be here before you know it.