All food in Argentina is required to include an expiration date by law. Yerba Mate is no exception. However, technically, Yerba Mate does not “expire” in the regular sense of the term.
You can drink a Yerba way beyond its expiration date and the only thing you may notice is a weakness in taste if it was not stored properly.
However, if you store your Yerba Mate in a cool, dry and dark place (room temperature is best), chances are your Yerba will improve! Even years after it “expires”.
After a long period of time, you may notice that properly stored Yerba retains a matte sheen on the leaves and has a yellow hue without being dried out. At this stage, your aged Yerba Mate will develop additional nuanced and subtle flavors.
Yerba Mate producers in Argentina have two ways to show the expiration date to consumers.
Some will include the date the Yerba was packed and the expiration date (normally 2 years after)
Others will only include the date it was packed and the following text :
“Consumir preferentemente dentro de los 24 meses a partir de la fecha de envasado”
Which means “Better consumed within 24 months from the date of packaging”
This is sometimes tricky to new drinkers as they think the bag is already expired.
So…the best way to store your Yerba Mate for a long period of time is in a airtight container in a dry place at room temperature.
Dot not throw away your Yerba if it is already “expired”. You can still safely drink it.
The best test is your nose : If it smells moldy or musty then it is time to replace it.