How to prepare yerba mate the traditional way?

How to prepare mate? 

Mate is gaining a lot of popularity in North American and European societies. However, do we really know how to prepare it properly in order to get all its benefits? Indeed, mate stands out for its therapeutic virtues, but even more for its unique way of infusing. There are several ways to consume mate. In this article, we will explain in detail the steps of the traditional method. 

Mate: The child from Paraguay.

Yerba mate plant is from Paraguay, but is now grown and processed in Argentina and southern Brazil. It’s also where its consumption was born. The Guarani people were the first consumers and growers of mate in the 17th century. They consumed this plant for its benefits on mood, ability to drive away fatigue, and for its therapeutic benefits. The method of consumption evolved over time, eventually giving birth to the traditional method that would spread to South America. This method is the most known, but also the one that requires the most steps.

How to consume mate?

As mentioned above, the most common method of consumption is the so-called traditional method. To benefit from all that the plant can offer you, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the method of preparation. Here are the steps to brew your mate the traditional way. 

  1. Pour the Yerba Mate in your favourite gourd, fill it up just about ¾.
  2. Place your hand on your gourd so that it covers the opening of it, then turn it over several times. This exercise allows you to mix the different components of the mate.  More precisely, to mix the leaves, stems and it’s residue. 
  3. Make sure to create a cavity in your gourd: take the gourd in your hand and bend it, the mate will now move to the side of your gourd. Place your gourd on a flat surface. You will see that a well will have formed. 
  4. Push the bombilla into the well, and make sure that the hollow space created by the well remains intact.
  5. Meanwhile, boil some water. Important: water must be at a temperature of 75 degrees. Otherwise it will burn the grass, resulting the infusion to be less effective.
  6. When the water is at the right temperature, pour it directly into the hollow space. Make sure not to pour water over all the leaves the first time. Infuse for a few seconds only, then drink.
  7. You can brew mate this way up to 20 times.

Traditionally, drinking mate is for sharing with your own community. In South America, the Cebador is the master of ceremony. He’s the one responsible for brewing the mate and passing the gourd. The circle can go on for hours, and everyone has the right to his own gourd.