Prepare Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate Overview
The Mate plant, anglicized as maté, is a tree that belongs to the genus of holly. The mate tree is commonly grown in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil. It is used almost exclusively for its leaves. The leaves are dried, steeped, and drunk creating effects similar to that of coffee, but without the high caffeine content.The drink is mainly consumed in a traditional manner that is native to the regions were mate is grown. The loose mate leaves and stems are placed into a hollow gourd and steeped in hot water. The tea is then sipped through a bombilla, which is a metal straw that filters the tea and keeps the leaves in the gourd.
A new gourd needs to be cured before the first use, which is easy and will make yerba mate taste better. Preparing yerba mate and the gourd before each use is very important as well. The gourd also requires a little care and maintenance after each use. A gourd gets better with age and use, similar to a seasoned tobacco pipe.
Yerba mate is a communal drink. Remember to share and enjoy yerba mate with others!
Native Regions of Mate
Benefits of Yerba Mate
Vitamins & Minerals
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, C
- Energizing & Stimulating (Less caffeine than coffee)
- Rich in Antioxidants
- Enhances Focus & Clarity
- Used in Traditional Weight Loss
Curing Yerba Mate Gourd
A new gourd needs to be cured before use. Curing removes the soft tissue that still remains inside the gourd. Curing also helps remove the bitterness and earthly taste of the gourd as well. It also creates a smoother surface on the inside of the gourd. Curing is easy to accomplish.
- Place some loose yerba mate into the gourd.
- Add warm (not boiling) water to the gourd.
- Let the water and yerba mate sit for 24 to 48 hours. This softens the excess gourd tissue.
- Pour out the water and yerba mate, then rinse out the gourd.
- Gently scrap the inside of the gourd with a spoon. Try to remove as much of the softened tissue as possible. Be careful not to dig into the hardened shell of the gourd.
- The yerba mate gourd is now ready to be used and enjoyed!
Yerba Mate Loose Tea & Bags
Preparing Yerba Mate
Preparing yerba mate is essential, considering the yerba mate is in loose leaf form when used with a gourd. Correct preparation will enhance yerba mate and prevent loose leaves from being drawn into the bombilla (straw). Proper water temperature will also prevent yerba mate leaves from being burned. Preparation is easy and only takes a few minutes.
- Fill the gourd 2/3 full of loose yerba mate.
- Cover the opening with the palm of the hand and heavily agitate it by shaking it. This helps the coarse mate separate from the finer mate.
- Set the gourd down after agitating. The coarser mate will be settled on top of the finer mate.
- Tilt the gourd 45 degrees. The yerba mate will shift to the tilted side of the gourd.
- Pour a little room temperature water into the gourd (enough to wet the yerba mate) and let sit for a few minutes. This allows the leaves to slowly breakdown before the hot water is added.
- Pour hot water (not boiling water!) into the empty area of the gourd where the tilting shifted yerba mate to one side.
- Poke a hole into the wet yerba mate where the bombilla will rest.
- Place the bombilla into the yerba mate at an angle.
- Pour more hot water near the bombilla, and carefully share and enjoy!
Add hot water as necessary. The gourd can be refilled with hot water several times using the same yerba mate. Simply empty the gourd of yerba mate when finished and let sit to dry out.
Yerba Mate Teabags
Yerba mate can still be enjoyed without using a gourd and bombilla. Yerba mate is commonly sold in teabags that can be steeped in a coffee mug or teacup. The yerba mate sold in teabags is no different than the yerba mate sold in teabags. The only downside of tea bags is that the amount of tea in a bag is much less than a gourd full of loose yerba mate. Teabags are also a little more expensive compared to loose yerba mate.
Teabags are also available in different flavors and tea blends. Yerba mate is often blended with green tea, chamomile, and other herbs to create unique flavors and blends.
Yerba Mate Gourds
Yerba Mate Gourd Care
The gourd needs a little attention and care between uses. Empty the gourd of spent tea and leave the gourd out to dry. Drying the gourd between uses will reduce the gourd from degrading and prevents mold. Remember, the gourd is merely a dried out fruit that can decompose if neglected. Placing the gourd in an area where air circulates is ideal.
Do not drop the gourd or subject it to rough conditions. Gourds should be treated like china to ensure future enjoyment.