Mi Yerba Mate

How is Yerba Mate Prepared?

How to prepare a traditional Yerba Mate

If you are new to Yerba Mate, or simply “Mate”, keep three things in mind; one, it’s an acquired taste but if you commit to drink it on at least three occasions you’ll easily become accustomed to the comforting taste; two, the warmer the water and the longer you let it sit before you drink it, the more bitter the taste will be; and three, after the yerba has soaked for 30 seconds or so, insert the bombilla by placing your thumb on the top of the bombilla. This will trap the air and keep the yerba from getting through the strainer. If a little comes through the strainer the first few sips, just spit it out and keep sipping.

Yerba Mate ‘con palo’ or ‘with stem’ is not as bitter as a ‘pure leaf’ blend. If you really want to ease yourself into drinking mate, try the Taragui Hierbas del Litoral blend, which contains some softer and more flavorful herbs.

To prepare the Yerba Mate infusion, place the dried minced leaves of Yerba Mate inside the Mate cup, and moisten with cool water – let that sit for a minute or so. Next add hot water, below boiling (approx. 70 C) this is called “cebar el Mate”. The infusion is sucked through a metal pipe called a “bombilla,” which has a strainer at its lower end to prevent the minced leaves from reaching the mouth. There are as many different techniques to prepare Mate as there are Mate drinkers, here is a fairly traditional method:

  • Fill the Mate cup with Yerba Mate 1/2 to 3/4 (the more yerba the stronger) of its capacity. A variation that will give you more tea per infusion and a less potent taste is to fill the Mate cup only 1/4 way, or even a little less than that.
  • Moisten the Yerba Mate with of lukewarm water – wait for a 30 seconds – 1 minute or so.
  • Pour hot water in until it nearly fills the cup. Don’t worry if some of the leaves remain dry, floating on the top. They will eventually absorb water in subsequent infusions. The hotter the water the stronger the brew. It’s best to ad warmer water after a few infusions.
  • Let it stand a few seconds and replenish with hot water when the previous one is absorbed by the dry Mate leaves.
  • When the water is not absorbed anymore, close the bombilla’s “mouthpiece” with your thumb and insert it firmly into the Mate.
  • Start over with a fresh Yerba Mate infusion the afternoon/next day etc.

Some people add sugar and/or some herbs (like mint, snipits of lime, for example). Some replace the water with milk and honey, especially for the children. You drink and replenish the Mate with hot water many times until the liquid comes out with almost no taste. The repetitive extraction with hot water seems to be an efficient way of extracting the beneficial properties of the herb.

Disfruta! Although the first taste will be an unusual flavor for newcomers, keep trying it until you find the right method and right Yerba Mate blend for you.

There are as many different techniques to prepare Tereré as there are ways to prepare the traditional mate:

  • Generally a wooden mate made of Palo Santo wood is used in place of a traditional gourd mate for Terere Fill the Mate cup with Yerba Mate up to _ to _ (the more yerba the stronger) of its capacity. For cold mate, a Yerba Mate blend with orange, lemon, or grapefruit is often refreshing. Ice can also be placed in the mate with the yerba.
  • Squeeze a lemon or lime to taste into the Matero. Ad ice and cold water to the matero. Ad water to the mate until it nearly fills the cup.
  • Let the infusion stand a full minute then replenish with cold water when the previous portion is absorbed by the dry yerba mate leaves.
  • When the water is not absorbed anymore, close the bombilla’s “mouthpiece” with your thumb and insert it firmly into the Mate.

Perfect for a hot summer day!

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