Best Of 2008

BEST ALTERNATIVE TO COFFEE: Yerba Mate at Abuela’s

As writers, we love our coffee. Indigo, the Globe, the quickie mart down the street — it doesn’t matter where we get our fix, as long as we’re awake, alert and typing 60 words per minute by the time the cup is finished. But then come the jitters, the crash and our doctors advising us to lay off the java. What’s a caffeine addict to do? Join the millions of South Americans and drink Yerba Mate, a tea brewed from the leaves of a small Brazilian tree, which tastes like a stronger green tea. Yerba Mate will stimulate the mind without the nervousness and jitters. And as an added bonus, the drink contains dozens of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, along with the caffeine. You can find pre-packaged Yerba Mate teabags at some health food stores, but the best (and cheapest) place to grab the unadulterated, loose-leaf version is at the Hispanic market Abuela’s. 402 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-236-4890