Brewing Open Mate soda

After the members meeting last night, the M-team (Marek, Marty, Matt S., and Matt M.) brewed our first batch of Open Mate soda. Inspired by the Club Mate that Marty had ordered, but put off by its closed-source nature (hey, we are a hackerspace here!), we realized that we should brew our own. After acquiring some yerba mate tea, caffeine powder, sugar, and kegging equipment, the first batch is brewed! Check out the photos of each step, and be sure to stop by this Friday to taste the results!

3 gallons water
85g Chai mate tea (from Teavana)
2.5 cups ‘raw’ cane sugar
1.5g caffeine powder (handle with care!)
CO2 (to taste)

Terse instructions:
Sterilize all equipment. Bring water to just under a boil, add tea and sugar, steep for 5-7 minutes. Cool, add caffeine powder, stir well, then transfer to keg. Float 15psi of CO2 over the mixture, then release the pressure valve and re-pressurize. Repeat 5 times (to purge oxygen from the keg. Let sit for 24 hours, to allow the soda to carbonate, then drop pressure to 7psi and enjoy!


  1. C on February 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    A friend of mine makes a drink called “dizzap” which is a carbonated %12 energy booze drink which contain mate along with 7 other stimulating herbs ^_^ its good

  2. Eric on February 6, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Congrats getting on the blog with this project. Sorry the Friday night session was canceled due to the snow. We’d planned on stopping by.

  3. AtOurGates on February 7, 2010 at 11:30 am

    So, I think it’s awesome that you’re making a recipe for unusual soda. But, don’t you think you’re taking things a bit far jargonwise?

    Or, alternatively, explain what the difference between “Open Source Soda” and “A Recipe We Posted On The Internet” is.

    • schmarty on February 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      Good question! We chose the term “Open Source Soda” because we want to open up this recipe to the community. Not only do we want other folks to try this recipe themselves, we want to hear their improvements, improvisations, bottling and carbonation techniques, etc.

      Just as there are open source beer recipes, open source cook books, etc., we want to open up everything about Open Mate and share the improvements with everyone who cares. We’re going to try and get better web presence and documentation going shortly, so stay tuned!

  4. diten on February 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Hello, sorry for my English, I’m from south America, Argentina in fact, I wonder if the yerba mate you use, is any special type or a standard one, because, as very rarely occurs, yerba mate is very common here (any supermarket have many kinds) and is not so common in USA o Europe (as friends there told me). I’m not a big fan of the mate, but I’m really courios of this beverage, and being ocassionally a beer brewer I presumme brewing this is similar or even simpler.

  5. beardicus on February 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Nice job M-Team! Count me among those who bristle a bit at the terminology of “open source” recipes… but I’m slowly getting over it. It seems the most justified when you’re in the process of “opening up” a previously proprietary recipe.

    Anyways… I’ve never had Club Mate, but am intrigued. As a beer brewer and ginger beer creator I’m interested in any sort of fizzy beverage that’s a little odd and perhaps unpalatable to the masses. So, I just bought a case for my new hackerspace (Interlock Rochester ) and I’ve got some mate and powdered caffeine on the way. I’m thinking our first batch will use some lemon juice or citric acid to add that little hint of acidic bite… I’ll keep you updated. Please let us/me know when you’ve got more documentation up!

  6. Ken on February 25, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Hey M-Team,

    This looks like a really cool project. I’m a big fan of Club Mate and I’ve even tried making it myself (without much success). Two things I noticed though are that:
    1) the mate tea you are using is already blended with some things that give it flavor. I might recommend using plain mate tea, such as “Guayaki Traditional Loose Yerba Mate” (available at places like Whole Foods). I figure this would get you closer to Club Mate, which is pretty plain.
    2) I am not sure why you are adding caffeine powder. I’m certain that the original producers of Club Mate didn’t have to add this. Maybe by brewing it longer or with more mate, the caffeine level of Club Mate can be achieved.

    Good luck with future batches !

  7. beardicus on February 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm


    “I am not sure why you are adding caffeine powder. I’m certain that the original producers of Club Mate didn’t have to add this.”

    The club mate bottle I have indicates “Mate soft drink with caffeine” and “Increased concentration of caffeine (20mg / 100ml)”

    That’s sort of ambiguous, but my reading of it is that they have indeed added some extra caffeine to the mix, in addition to what one would get from the tea itself. Additionally, they do list caffeine as an ingredient, separate from the mate extract.

    That said, I may skip the extra caffeine when I make my open mate batch… but that’s just because I like the taste more than I like the stimulating effects.

  8. Matt Mets on February 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks! So, we started out with the intent to clone Club Mate, but then sort of went off in a different direction- to me, it was more interesting to try some different flavors. I’ll agree that it is probably even more interesting to start with base materials (though the chai mix we used was pretty tasty). Also, we drank up our entire shipment of Club Mate, so someone has to order some more if we want to do taste comparisons.

    It’s possible that they didn’t need to add caffeine, but the calculations we did using the recommended volume amount of tea showed that it needed to be supplemented. Wikipedia says that it has 20 mg caffeine per 100 ml of liquid (, where our three grams of input tea (which was already mixed, so the actual mate content was lower) wasn’t enough to hit that amount (using for an estimation of the caffeine delivered by a hot-water extraction method). I suppose the other option is to use boiling water (needs taste test), or just more tea/volume. Also, now that we have the powder, we can use it to make other things such as caffeine jello shots 🙂

  9. beardicus on April 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    TARDY UPDATE: we finally made some Open Mate at Interlock… check out our progress here:

    We’ve already consumed all three gallons. Onward to gallons four through six!

    PS: How did yours turn out, anyways?

  10. Blasted Bill on June 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    HEY! while doing a search for my web site ( I found this entry!! Sounds like you have a good start to open source soda. We have been working on open source soda for about 5 years. Take a look through my site and see our work. Let me know if you have any questions. We are not joining I3 detroit(the detroit hacker space). We are going to run some classes there. If you guys are really interested, perhaps some of you guys can come up and test some batches with us! YAY for home brew soda getting more popular!

  11. Emmmm on July 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Sooo, I’ll confess my dumbness.. Where do you get caffeine powder, of a consumable grade online? (I know I can google it, but where’d YOU get it?)

  12. matt.mets on July 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    We got ours from PureBulk Nation.

  13. Mr. Cheeky on October 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Ahoy Mateys!

    Just a few suggestions for ingredients:

    1) You can find mate in kilo sizes at el cheapo prices in latin american markets. Plus they have different flavors, lemon, ornage, smoked etc. I drink it all the time.:)
    2) There is a mate soda available in the US at Mexican and latin american markets called Materva. It does have sodium benzoate in it though. 🙁
    3) For the caffeine element you might want to look at guarana powder. Mountain Rose Herbs sells it in bulk. What is unique about it? It is a vasodilator rather than a constricter. I actually mix it with hot chocolate mix at work when I need to focus intently for a couple hours. Or I just take it by itself in capsules for a longer effect. Greta for long car trips too.



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  17. Tom on May 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hi, folks. Sorry, but you’re not right with you understanding of the “added caffeine”: according to German/European regulations any drug (as caffeine ot the rather dubious taurine) has to be indicated on the container. The “enhanced” level of caffeine reffers to vaguely “more caffeine than coffee”, not to “artifically” added caffeine (there is an exact limit which separates “normal” and “enhanced” content, but I don’t know the value).

  18. german on May 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I’m surprised!
    Here, in Argentina, what you are doing is called “mate cocido”, basicly it’s yerba mate boiled in water, then add sugar..
    It’s very common as a breakfast, replacing coffe or coffe+milk.
    But much more popular is drinking “mates”:
    It’s the same thing, yerba mate in some kind of glass, you put some water in it (hot water NOT boiling, ideally 80deg.) and drink it with a “bombilla”, wich is an small metallic tube. In this way de “Mate” is shared with the people that is with you. One person adds water and pass it to the next, making a round. Most people drink it without sugar, “amargo”, this is the clasical way.. the pure way.
    Some people say that when you drink your first mate alone, really alone, it’s becouse something changed in you.. you left the house of your parents, you are about to take some hard choice in your life.. your girlfriend left you and things like that!

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  20. barfa on May 27, 2011 at 4:22 am

    re: the adding of caffeine. I’ve visited Berlin a couple of times and ofc drunk Club Maté (there is at least three versions: regular, ice and cola, all taste great). On the label caffeine is clearly stated as an additive. European food label laws (as I understand them) requires caffeine to be labeled as a taste additive and not as an additive having any medical properties. My reading and interpretation of the Wikipedia article is this: the 20 mg of caffeine they report is THE ADDED AMOUNT, not the total. Since Yerba Maté contains caffeine (along with other nice things, this likely puts the caffeine content higher than 20mg/100ml. I find no further info on the official website ( though.

    Best Regards, barfa

  21. Tobystereo on September 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. I adapted it to make a syrup to use with the increasingly popular Soda Stream carbonators. Check it out at

  22. berg on December 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I love club mate from a few years in germany, and yes i mean the taste! the caffeine content doesn’t really interest me, but i did make some of this at home where there is nothing like this and supermarkets don’t stock mate tea. I found the most important thing to getting it to taste similar was the unflavored mate tea, and angostura bitters, i didn’t add caffeine but did use a soda stream to give it some fizz.

  23. levi on February 15, 2018 at 6:59 am


    Id like to bottle my mate tea but but I am worried about bottle bombs, CAN anyone shed some light so as to aviod the BOOM.

    Thank you

    • Douglas on July 8, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      Its not a fermented beverage. I doubt it will go boom 🙂 It most probably will lose the CO2 if kept for long.
      Are you using a co2 cylinder or soda stream?

  24. JAJO on April 19, 2018 at 9:17 am

    can anyone tell me how to carbonate my tea? Im doing it for 2 months but cant carbonate it well

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