Mate (pronounced mah-teh) is a drink made by steeping dried leaves from the yerba mate plant in hot water. It was the Guarani Indians of South America who first discovered the rejuvenating qualities of yerba mate. It tastes somewhat like green tea, with hints of tobacco and oak. The simplest method for many is to treat yerba mate like any other loose tea; steep it in hot water and then filter out the leaves before drinking. (Note: The ideal brewing temperature for yerba mate is approximately 170°F; using boiling water will produce a bitter, inferior beverage.)
In order to enjoy mate in the traditional way, however, you must prepare it properly.
Basic Utensils:
Pava – Kettle + Mate – Gourd + Bombilla – Sipper +Sugar Bowl + Spoon + a Thermo.
1) Pour the yerba mate inside the mate until it is ¾ full.
2) Mate could be drunk bitter or with honey, sugar, or any other kind of healthy sweetener. We prefer a bitter mate, no sugar or sweetener. The mate is much healthier this way, but you have to get accustomed to it. If you choose to have the mate sweet, then add sugar, one or two teaspoons at max (omit this step if you chose to sweeten the water, which is not recommended, it will wash the mate too soon.
STEP # 4
Cover the mouth of the mate with one hand, invert it and shake it vigorously for about 5 seconds. The purpose of this process is to get the smallest particles to sit on the top of the brewing. By doing so, the possibilities of them passing through the small holes of the strainer of the sipper-bombilla and block it are diminished. This mate is looking good!!!
STEP # 5
Place the mate again in its original position— taking care of the brewing to remain inclined on one side. This step is optional, but this the right way.
STEP # 6
Heat the water to a boiling point. When the water is warm, pour softly a sufficient amount of water into the hollow part of the brewing, so that all of the yerba gets wet. Allow the mate to rest for a few seconds. The yerba is now getting soaked and the infusion starts taking place. Hmmm!! The mate keeps looking better and better!!
STEP # 7
Cover the mouth of the bombilla with your thumb and put the filter end into the hollow part of the brewing. Uncover the bombilla only when you have found the definite position of the bombilla touching the bottom of the gourd. This way you will keep the filter from blocking with fine particles.
STEP # 8
When the water has reached its optimal temperature (before boiling), you can begin to brew. Pour the water softly and add sugar to the mate when you think it necessary (if you have not chosen to sweeten the water). Usually, if you add sugar, you do it every two or three mates so it will not be so sweet and wash the mate tea after a few servings (cebadas).
STEP # 9
Keep the water at a constant temperature without letting it boil (to use a thermos or our Matermo is highly recommended for this matter). Try not to move the bombilla, but if this were necessary, do it when the mate is empty (without water). Now you can begin to enjoy a friendly, foamy mate, with or without sugar, according to your taste and like we do in Argentina or like we do it daily, here in Texas, more than four times a day. We might have left Argentina, but the Mate is the part of Argentina that is always with us.