Flying high on Club Mate

I’ve been led to believe that Club Mate (pronounced: ma-tay) is the drink in the international hacker community. Being a fan of the international hacker community—and by “hacker” I don’t mean stupid idiots who DDOS Web sites for lulz, but rather people who enjoy tinkering with the world around them—I decided to buy a case.

What the devil is Club Mate? First off, it’s not Corona; there’s no alcohol in there! It’s a caffeinated iced tea drink that’s produced in Germany. Hackers (coders, tinkers, and the like) enjoy it because you get a nice portion of caffeine (20 mg per ml, or about 96ish mg per bottle) without having to deal with cubic tonnes of sugar like you might have to with traditional energy drinks (32ish mg per bottle). The secret ingredient, as the name suggests, is mate, a South American plant that’s traditionally used in awesome drinks down there, as seen in the movie The Motorcycle Diaries.

The bottles that 2600 Magazine sells—2600 Magazine is the U.S. distributor of the drink—are of the 500 ml variety. That’s a lot of mate. Smaller bottles are available, but I don’t know where you’d get those. It’s about 150 calories per bottle. I don’t know if you’d consider that high or not.

On to the taste!

It’s not bad! I fully expected the drink to taste like grim death, but it really doesn’t. I mean, it is a tea, so I really shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m not very familiar with German drinks, South American influenced or not, so I had no idea. That was a hell of a sentence right there. It sorta tastes like your standard issue green tea. I don’t know, do people dislike the taste of tea?

The big draw, though, is the caffeine. I’m about a quarter of the way through with the bottle in that there photo, and I’m already all jumpy. That means it’s working! I imagine if you’d drink the whole bottle in double-quick time you’d end up like Fry did in that one episode of Futurama. Put on a some trance—I love World of Warcraft guild Vodka’s videos specifically because of the music they use—and you’re flying through space and time.

Another bonus: all the caffeine you could want without the teeth-staining properties of coffee.

So yeah, I like Club Mate quite a bit. It’s a little expensive at $45 (plus shipping) per 12 pack, but last I checked a large coffee in New York is like $3.00, so it’s really not all that crazy.