Yerba Mate Information

Page Summary: Yerba Mate , an explanation and description of the custom and culture, value and properties, uses, effects, benefits and constituents of Yerba Mate . On this page we describe how to prepare the brew and the ceremony of drinking Yerba Mate.

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Yerba Mate is consumed in vast quantities in South America instead of Tea Or Coffee.

Parts of plant used, aroma, names, contraindications and warnings, its origin and other information if we have it is available on our Mate Herbal Page.

Yerba Mate leaves are harvested and stored dried dried. Before use the are ground into a coarse powder. Commercially available Yerba Mate is mostly supplied like Tea in either "tea bags" or chopped leaves. The herb is infused in a specially prepared gourd and drunk with a silver metal straw called a bombilla.

Preparing Yerba Mate:

Yerba Mate leaves are infused with very hot but not boiling water. The method of preparation varies from region to region and debates of which is the right way of doing it have been raging for centuries.

All methods of preparing the Yerba for infusion revolves around the ultimate management of the sediment, which, if not done well, has a tendency to block the holes in the bombilla (traditionally a silver straw with one end flattened and pierced to form a strainer). Some believe that the Yerba had to be placed dry in the bottom of the gourd to which the water is carefully added not to disturb and suspend the sediment others believe that vigorous shaking to soak the Yerba in cold water first is needed followed by a series of gentle shakes while holding the gourd at an angle to settle the sediment on one side of the gourd. Either way the trick is to set the Yerba up so that it assists in the filtering of Yerba Mate and this is achieved by ensuring that the mound of yerba is organized so that the largest particles will be closest to the place where the bombilla is finally inserted for drinking.

The bombilla is inserted into the mound of Yerba and it is ready to drink.

Hot water is now added. The water should not be boiling hot as it will scald the Yerba and it is ready for drinking.

A traditional Mate drinking ceremony always revolves around a single person (called Cebador if male or Cebradora if female). This person will drink the first infusion to ensure that the Mate is of good quality and that the particles of the herb are properly filtered. The gourd is then filled again and passed counter clockwise to the first person who will drink all of it. It is refilled again and passed to the next person and this process continues until all have had enough or the mate has lost its ability to infuse (described as lavado).

Thanking the cebrador/a indicates that one will drink this particular gourd but does not wish too drink more after that.

The gourd containing the Yerba is thus shared but the liquid is not. Every drinker is expected to completely empty the gourd every time.



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