Sudo pop

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Did you notice most rootbeer is caffeine free? The goal here is to have fun brewing a non-alcoholic caffeinated rootbeer or ginger ale. To that end we are making the first batches of a Noisebridge label yerba mate-niated rootbrew, gratis and DIY



A recipe hasn't been finalized yet. For the first few batches, carbonators will be used, later natural carbonation will be explored.


  • Syrup for 4 gallon batches of ginger ale and root beer
  • Taragui Mate con Palo
  • 5 Gallon Carboy (secondary fermentation)
  • 5 Gallon Pot
  • Bottle siphon, bottle capper, caps
  • 5 Gallon (Primary fermentation or mixing) bucket
  • airlocks, and miscellaneous brewing supplies


  • 04/03/2009 bottle prep, supplies consolidation, and soda pop/ Y. Mate recipe & brewing research
3 dozen bottles prepped.


Experiment series #1 (4/10/2009 - Martin B)

  • 1 liter water
  • coffee filter (unbleached, melitta #5)
  • 250ml by volume of Yerba Mate (Taragui : elaborada con palo)
  • 50ml of cane sugar syrup (obtained at Whole Foods)
  • 1 liter seltzer bottle w/ co2 cartridge for carbonation

Brought water to 90C, and added cold-rinsed yerba mate tea contained in polymesh teabag for 10 minutes of steeping time. Removed bag, and ran through a common coffee filter to remove sediment into the glass seltzer bottle. Added 50ml of cane sugar syrup and set aside to cool to room temperature. Capped bottle and left in fridge for 30 minutes to cool.

Result was mildly astringent, similar in flavor profile to Club-Mate but perhaps a bit sweeter. After adding CO2, the slight acidity of the soda countered the sweetness. When served from the selzer bottle, however, the soda was extremely foamy. May have to add an agent that makes the soda more tart, but without adding a flavor like lemon does.

Brewing at 90C may be too hot. Next pass should be done at 80C but still for 10 minutes.

adjustments for batch #2

  • Reduce yerba mate to 100ml by volume.
  • Reduce cane sugar syrup to 25ml
  • 5g of fresh lemon zest (for tartness)

Added lemon zest to mate before steeping. Allowed 10 minutes of steeping time, followed procedure from earlier experiment.

Result is still mildly astringent, but sweetness profile is much closer to Club-Mate. Lemon flavor is not right, but not unpleasant, as a tartening agent. Using the seltzer bottle is not the right way to add carbonation, the resulting soda is still far too foamy. Transferred soda from seltzer bottle into clean 1 liter glass mineral water bottle then capped.

adjustments for batch #3-8

Lowered steeping time by one minutes per batch.

Result was batch 7 (5 minute steeping time) had a markedly less bitter flavor, while retaining a strong mate flavor profile.

adjustments for batch #9,10

  • Juice of one whole lemon (meyer)
  • Increased cane sugar syrup to 50ml
  • Increased fresh lemon zest to 10g
  • Steepting time reduced to 5min
  • Water temperature reduced to 80C

Result is a refreshingly tart drink without the bitterness present in previous batches. Similar to an 'Arnold Palmer' without all the sweetness.

Experiment Series #2

The need for some sort of coloration is somewhat evident. After 24 hours in the fridge, there is a marked coloration difference from when the drink was first bottled in Series #1. It has gone from a dark brown/green to a light green/yellow, possibly due to the acidity of the drink causing the chlorophyll or other components in the mate to act as an indicator dye. Either way, the addition of a caramel color or other dark colorant may be adviseable from a 'look and feel' perspective.

Mate brewing replication Series #1 (4/14/09-4/21/09 R.M. Alexander)

Brewing Taragui Yerba Mate con Palo according to an interpretation of the above brewing steps performed by Martin B. 1:10 Mate:H20, 80-85C, 5-10 Minute brewing time.

Resulting Flavor qualities

  • creamy, slightly astringent & woody flavor that matures to a sweet aftertaste after a few minutes or drinks.
  • After drinking, throat and tongue tip coating has similar to licorice root sweetener.
  • In general, does not follow sweet foods well.
  • Generally enjoyed by others, but not *enough* for quick adoption or conversion of die hard coffee drinkers.


  • Base brewing recipe needs group testing with citric (fresh lemon/lime based) and sugar additions before making modifications


  • Interesting frothing is possible with agitation.
  • Investigate effects on gastrointestinal tract as well as appetite suppressing qualities.
  • Should we codify or find extant codifications for some of these descriptive flavor characteristics?
  • Blind testing setup between brands as well as recipes: LOTS more experimentation cycles to go through
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