Yerba Mate was first used by the Guarani Indians, who believed it could cleanse and heal the spirit. Now millions enjoy it in South America. In Brazil, the drinking of Yerba Mate is practiced as a social ritual. Friends and family gather in a circle as the host prepares the beverage in a gourd and drinks the first infusion with a filtered straw called a bombilla (Spanish) or bomba (Portuguese). The gourd is refilled and passed to each guest in the circle. Everyone shares the same gourd and bomba, joining in a bond of acceptance and friendship.
In the following video, Cinthia demonstrates how to brew Yerba Mate while talking more about the tradition behind it. Cinthia comes from Southern Brazil, not far from the border region with Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, where Mate is enjoyed on a regular basis.
Implements used for brewing Yerba Mate
- Bomba or bombilla: This filtered straw is used to drink the Mate. They are often made of bamboo or stainless steel.
- Gourd: Mate cups are often made from natural gourds or wood.
Curing your gourd
- Fill your gourd 3/4 full with Mate leaves.
- Fill the gourd with hot but not boiling water (around 165 – 175°F) until it is full.
- Let the Mate sit overnight. Top off the gourd with more water as the water absorbs.
- Rinse out the gourd thoroughly.
- For natural gourds (ones not made of wood): Your gourd may have seeds and a natural membrane. Some of this may wash out when you cure it; this is normal but there is no need to excessively scrub the inside.
- Let your gourd air dry.
Cleaning your gourd
Always rinse your gourd after use with warm water. Do not use soap because it will absorb into the gourd and flavor your mate. Never use boiling water, as it may crack your gourd.
Let the gourd air dry, preferably at a 45° angle, to prevent mold growth.
Yerba Mate featured in this video
- Argentinian Yerba Mate (Argentina): Crisp, herbaceous, vegetal aroma and taste.
- Chimarrão (Iguaçu Valley, Brazil): Powdered Yerba Mate that is strong, herbaceous, grassy, and slightly smoky.
- Rio (Iguaçu Valley, Brazil): Cooling, clear, bittersweet flavor notes.
- Roasted Mate (Southern Brazil): Toasty, smooth, and full-bodied with light cocoa notes.
- Our other Mate choices
Look out for more Yerba Mate videos in the future!