Yerba Mate Instructions: A How-to for Preparing this Herbaceous Drink

Our yerba mate, a powerful caffeine alternative, is the perfect morning drink that will keep you energized with added health benefits. The below instruction provides a step-by-step process to help you create this incredible drink at home.

Expect an herby, earthy, and bittersweet flavor when consuming yerba mate. While it’s quite different in flavor than coffee, it will soon become your new go-to drink. Continue reading the below how-to guide for more information on preparing yerba.

Step 1: Simmer the Water

Yerba mate does not require boiled water. Instead, it’s best to use simmered water to help bring out the flavor. Aim for a water temperature of 158F – 172F, which you can achieve by using a temperature-controlled electric kettle. Traditionally, people use a standard kettle on the hob and wait until it’s the correct temperature. However, this can lead to overheating the water. Check the water temperature before adding the yerba if you choose this method.

Step 2: Pour and Shake

This traditional Argentinian drink requires specific steps for the best flavor and outcome. You’ll want to add the yerba to the gourd for the second step. Yerba is made from twigs and leaves of the yerba plant so that it will appear like a loose-leaf tea.

Adding the correct amount of yerba to the gourd (the traditional brewing mechanism) is essential. Many suggest eyeballing the amount, noting that it should be about ¾ of the way full. It’s necessary to add enough of the yerba without adding too much, or it will overflow. If you must measure it, it should be about one tablespoon for every eight ounces of water.

Cover the gourd with your hand (before adding water), turn it upside down, and give it a shake. This step helps you remove any dust particles stuck in the yerba. Ensure you blow off the excess dust from your hand before continuing. Otherwise, you risk staining other items.

Step 3: Create a Hollow and Pour

You’ll need to tilt the gourd, so the yerba rests on one side. Then, add warm (not hot) water to the empty space. Pour the water slowly to avoid burning the yerba.

Step 4: Adding the Bombilla

A bombilla is a traditional metal straw that you use to drink the mate. After brewing the first cup of mate, you’ll need to insert the bombilla into the space where you poured the water. Whoever is serving the mate drinks the initial cup, which is typically more bitter than the following cups.

Pro tip: By covering the mouthpiece of the bombilla with your finger as you insert it into the drink, you can avoid the tea bits getting into the straw.

Step 5: Brewing for Loved Ones

Unlike coffee, drinking mate is a social activity. Typically, you’ll brew a gourd of mate for each person and pass the bombilla around. Continue pouring warm water into the empty space where the bombilla sits for each individual.

Step 6: Pass the Gourd

It’s important that the same person pours and brews the mate each time. Usually, the cebador (the mate server) will pass the gourd to the person on their right, and it will continue through the predetermined order of people. It’s an important task for a cebador to keep the correct order while passing the gourd.

Before starting the mate process, you can put together a picada, a traditional snack tray with meats, cheeses, olives, etc. Then, enjoy the shared bonding experience with friends, family, and loved ones.