With long winter months ahead, there's nothing like hanging out at home with friends and a steaming cup of something tasty. Yerba mate—a traditional beverage from South America—has a long history of bringing people together and providing solo drinkers with an extra boost of energy. Local company Origin Yerba Mate wants to supply you with your fix.
"We actually picked the name 'Origin' because of the Origin of Species, and put Charles Darwin on our labels," co-owner Christopher Jensen says. Darwin discovered the beverage during his travels on The Beagle, and noted in his journals the supposed rejuvenating effects the tea could have on the mind. Naturally high in caffeine and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, yerba mate is often shared among friends.
"We are a company made up of friends with a common goal of bringing the best quality yerba mate to market," Jensen says. "We all have a passion for good food and drinks, which is why we are so committed to ensuring our mate is the very best. It's completely organic and all our flavors are natural—no fillers or chemicals."
Origin's product comes in traditional, cacao, lemon verbena and peppermint flavors. The owners acquire their cacao from local company Solstice. Origin products can be found at several establishments around Salt Lake City, including The Rose Establishment and Mestizo. Two of Cafe Expresso's locations—1100 E. 900 South; 602 E. 2100 South—use Origin lemon mate to make their "DJ tea" with milk and honey, and Nostalgia Café sells bags of Origin peppermint and traditional loose leaf.
It's also sold through Amazon. But just because it's sold by one of the biggest retailers around, don't think it doesn't have local impacts. "We're employee-owned, so everybody that works for us owns a stake in the company," Jensen says. "We also recently changed our bags and label processes to reduce waste and have less impact on the environment."
"It's great to see such a refined, naturally grown product handled in such a grassroots manner," creative director Cameron Hooyer says. "I think the product and packaging reflect the personal touch that is put into each bag of mate and I think that is something that the people of Salt Lake notice and appreciate."
After experimenting with a number of different producers, Jensen and his partners began sourcing their flavorful yerba mate from an organic farmer in Paraguay. It's available to purchase loose-leaf or individual tea bags, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.