Yerba mate is a highly caffeinated tea that seems like the type of thing that would be popular in parts of South America or maybe Nepal. Guayaki is marketing it here as a tea-slash-energy drink. The ingredients don’t list any of the ADHD-causing additives normally associated with energy drinks, so that seems to be just a marketing angle, rather than a bold new paradigm shift.
As you know from dealing with me offline, I’m normally a pretty spazzy fellow, so in order to conduct a proper scientific study of yerba mate’s alleged energy drink prowess I purposefully made myself extra tired by staying up late watching Newsradio DVDs. I’ve got this whole thesis I’m working on which details the similarities between Matthew Brock and Buster Bluth. Watch the episode where Matthew drops the pen down his pants before he can hand it to James Caan: tell me those facial expressions and physical mannerisms aren’t complete Buster. Or watch the Halloween party episode and compare Matthew’s motorcycle enthusiast/gay biker situation to the Army uniform Gob puts together for Buster. I think the writers of Arrested Development spent a lot of time around WNYX, that’s all I’m saying. Anyways. I can just put this in a email.
So the next morning I was all set for the experiment. I cracked open the bottle and was greeted with the scent of tea and freshly-cut grass. The scent of health. Taste-wise, it was interesting. It’s clearly not like regular tea: the flavor had a harsh edge to it, but fortunately the mint and cane sugar tempered it nicely.
I wish I could end the review there. Knock off early, get a beer. Maybe watch some more Newsradio. (I’m also putting together a list of Lisa Miller’s top 10 cutest moments (#4: Her lunge across the conference table when Matthew warns Dave to keep his woman from mouthing off).) But I can’t do that, because this is where my experience with yerba mate took a turn for the worse. The horribly worse. This is the first drink I’ve ever had that actually scared me. Well, second, if you count Clamato. You should read the rest of this review like you’re Stone Phillips, if you weren’t already. Daniel Schorr also works.
One thing I should have remembered before I drank this is that I’ve had some weird reactions to non-standard stimulants in the past. Taurine and spirulina are some that come to mind. Right when I was halfway through my yerba, my head started feeling very light and dizzy. And then I felt tingly all over my arms and torso. And then my heart was beating double-time, and my carotid artery was threatening to do an Alien baby thing with my neck. Awsum, totally extreme!
It was just a teensy bit terrifying and I stopped drinking right away. But it was cleary too late, and I was all uncontrollably nervous and jittery and wondering if maybe I was going to have a heart attack, or maybe I already had, and this is what that was? And would I have to go home early, or to the hospital, or would I simply pass out at my desk? (Discovered by my coworkers, I groggily confess to having been felled by some tea.) And the jitteriness just would not go away. It was actually pretty un-fun, and I kept on feeling that way. And I kept feeling that way, and I kept feeling that way. All told it was three solid hours before I felt like things were about back to normal.
But I guess it works! So if I lack the moxie and constitution for large doses of caffeine, at least I’ve still got what it takes to conduct some serious science, which is its own sort of manliness. OK not really.