The inhibitory effects of maté tea (MT), a beverage produced with leaves from Ilex paraguariensis, in vitro lipase activity and on obesity in obese mice models were examined. For the in vitro experiment, porcine and human pancreatic lipase (PL) activities were determined by measuring the rate of release of oleic acid from hydrolysis of olive oil emulsified with taurocholate, phospholipids, gum arabic, or polyvinyl alcohol. For the in vivo experiments, animals were fed with a standard diet (SD, n = 10) or high-fat diet (HFD, n = 30) for 16 weeks. After the first 8 weeks on the HFD, the animals were treated with 1 and 2 g/kg of body weight of MT. The time course of the body weight and obesity-related biochemical parameters were evaluated. The results showed that MT inhibited both porcine and human PL (half-maximal inhibitory concentration = 1.5 mg MT/ml) and induced a strong inhibition of the porcine lipase activity in the hydrolysis of substrate emulsified with taurocholate + phosphatidylcholine (PC) (83 ± 3.8%) or PC alone (62 ± 4.3%). MT suppressed the increases in body weight (P < 0.05) and decreased the serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol concentrations at both doses (from 190.3 ± 5.7 to 135.0 ± 8.9 mg/dl, from 189.1 ± 7.3 to 129.3 ± 17.6 mg/dl; P < 0.05, respectively) after they had been increased by the HFD. The liver lipid content was also decreased by the diet containing MT (from 132.6 ± 3.9 to 95.6 ± 6.1 mg/g of tissue; P < 0.05). These results suggest that MT could be a potentially therapeutic alternative in the treatment of obesity caused by a HFD.