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Yerba Maté
Yerba Maté
Yerba Maté
Yerba Maté
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Course Beverage
Difficulty Easy
IC Diet Scale Try It
Keys To Success - Make the Dulce de Leche ahead of time in batches
- Use Aviva Brand Yerba Mate, Apricot Spice Flavor (I've tried them all, this one is the best, hands down)
- Water should be hot, but not boiling or it will make the Yerba Mate bitter

Do you miss coffee? Coffee and Iced Tea were two of my favorite drinks before I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis.  Unfortunately, I had to give them up as they flared my bladder terribly.  For almost a year, I pretty much drank nothing but water and coconut water.  Needless to say, it was a real bummer. Then, one day, I started reading about Yerba Mate and all the associated health benefits. I immediately ran out to the store and tried some. Not only did it not hurt my bladder, it actually helped it.  I spent months and months researching and experimenting to come up with this recipe.  It is absolutely fabulous!  I cannot get enough of it.  It has become my new favorite drink.

Yerba Maté is similar to an herbal tea.  In South America, Yerba Maté has been revered for centuries as the “drink of the gods” and is drunk daily for optimum health, sustained energy and mental clarity.  Although it is a stimulant, it is said to have a beneficial effect on nerves and muscles as well as useful for bladder troubles. 

Before you proceed, I must add this WORD OF CAUTION. Yerba Maté is not well known in IC circles. It works for my bladder, but I only know a couple of other IC patients who have tried it. Your bladder may react differently. But if it helps your bladder like it helps mine, it will be well worth your effort.


16 oz Brewed Aviva Apricot Spice Yerba Mate (yerba-mate.com)
2 tablespoons Dulce de Leche (see recipe below)
4 drops Frontier Alcohol Free Coffee Extract
4 drops Apricot Stevia adds flavor and cuts down on calories

Play with the amount until its to your liking.

note: I have tried many, many different brands and flavors of Yerba Mate. Some of them are absolutely terrible.  For this reason, I strongly recommend you try Aviva Brand Yerba Mate, Apricot Spice Flavor. My farmers market carries it, but you can get it from www.yerba-mate.com

Brewing Yerba Mate USA / European Style

  1. Using a kettle, heat water to very hot (NOT BOILING) never over 85 degrees C or 160 degrees F for it will scorch the delicate leaves
  2. While water is heating, put approximately 1 tablespoon of loose leaf yerba mate per cup (8oz) of water into a french press or large tea ball.
  3. Pour a small amount of cool water over yerba mate to insure that the leaves are not shocked by the hot water (shocking the mate makes it bitter tasting)
  4. Add the heated water and let it brew for at least 8 minutes.

Dulce de Leche Recipe

Dulce de Leche is to South America as Caramel is to North America . It is super easy to make but does require a long cooking time. You can use 2% milk but it will not thicken as well or as fast. I have heard of people using milk substitutes for this recipe; however, the taste, thickness and texture are lacking. Also, traditional recipes call for 1 part to 2 part ratio of sugar and milk, respectively; so do not cut down the sugar anymore than the recipe calls for. The recipe can be doubled. Personally, I use organic raw cow’s milk and have made it weekly for the past year. I use it daily in my Yerba Mate.

Dulce de leche is easy to make but does take from 2 – 4 hours cooking time. But it is well worth the effort! tip: Make it in large batches and then store it in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Dulce de Leche Ingredients

8 cups organic WHOLE milk (= 1/2 Gallon)
3 1/2 to 4 cups organic white sugar
3/4 tsp baking SODA (makes milk alkaline and help dulce to turn brown)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional - 1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon (true cinnamon)

Dulce de Leche Directions

  1. In a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, and sugar (wait for sugar to dissolve, about 15 minutes) then add baking SODA. (This chemical reaction will cause it to foam over so keep an eye on it at all times to prevent a mess).
  2. (little to no stirring) Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. As mentioned above, a foamy layer will develop on top as it reaches a boil. Turn burner off. Skim off the foamy layer on top then turn burner back on (save the foam for coffee or tea).
  3. (stir little) Continue to simmer gently for 1 hour over medium heat.
  4. (stir often) Continue to simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours over medium heat, stirring often. Once the dulce de leche reaches a deep caramel color and thick consistency, watch it closely. At this point, you must stir it continuously to prevent the bottom from scorching. Dulce de leche is easy to make but does take from 2 – 4 hours cooking time.
  5. If using vanilla extract and cinnamon, add it at this point.
  6. Cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to one month.

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