How to drink yerba mate?
For many, mate is a strange drink, which is barely seen from time to time. However, the opportunity to visit some Latin American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay or Uruguay is never lacking, and so the question is often heard: Why don’t you try mate?
We are going to provide you with a brief guide on how to prepare and drink mate, a tradition that has managed to cross decades and generations, remaining to this day as a badge for an entire region.
It is necessary to clarify that the mate that we will refer about is the traditional Uruguayan, but knowing the basics of how it is prepared, you will be ready to try other types of varieties.
How do you drink it?
The first thing you should know is the concept of what is called “the mountain”, because basically the success or failure of any mate relies on it. The mountain, that mound of yerba mate that remains on one end, is what will give the infusion its flavor.
In case you do not respect them, the taste of the yerba will last less than a sigh and you hear know the phrase: “It’s already washed.”
Another important point that goes hand in hand with the above is knowing how to turn the yerba around. For this, you must take the mate straw, throw a little of the yerba that is dry and is part of the mountain and then form a new one.
Surely, you will have half dry yerba and half used yerba left. This is necessary to continue maintaining the bitter taste and foam, a key to achieving a mate that is pleasing to the palate.
Very hot water is the other aspect to bear in mind if you want to achieve a well-made mate. If it is lukewarm or tending to cold, you will only achieve an ugly and disgusting taste. For this it is essential to have a good thermos.
Last but not least, the main protagonist: mate. At Cebala we have a variety of incredible mates, from the most classic to the most innovative.
In case you are a first-timer trying the infusion, we recommend the traditional gourd mate. It is the only one with which you will achieve a unique and traditional flavor at the same time.
How do I prepare it?
This is the big question for many who have already managed to have a regular relationship with mate but are still taking their first steps. If you’re reading this, two things may happen to you: you don’t like mate but you want to like it or you want to know how to do it so you don’t depend on anyone (hopefully this is it).
We are going to leave you a quick guide of steps to follow if you already have your mate but want to prepare it alone as an expert.
1- Pour a little less than half of the yerba that your mate has.
2- Cover the mouth of the mate with the palm of your hand and shake it with an ascending and descending movement. Do this at least three or four times.
3- Without uncovering the mate, lean it to one side so that the mountain is already made to be able to move on to the next step.
4- Right in the hole where the mate straw goes, it is important to first add cold water and wait a few minutes. Then, you will add the hot water and wait again.
5- Take the bombilla while covering the tip (where the water comes out). Then you will put it in the same place where you poured the hot and cold water into it.
6- With a thermo full of hot water, you can now enjoy your mate. The first one is probably the most bitter, but then the taste only gets better. (Linkear a catálogo de mates).
Why cold water first?
You will hear out there that many are used to putting only hot water and then going on to make the first infusion.
However, it is necessary to clarify that cold water beforehand is vital to achieve a perfect matte finish. Without a doubt, if you skip this step it will not be the same and the bitter taste will be much milder.
Why? Because the yerba is burned and the necessary property that emits that bitter taste is eliminated. Being “scorched” it is impossible for it to be in a position to be tested as it should.
In addition, the role of hot water will be much greater and you will feel that you are burning. This is important to do both in ceramic and gourd mate, since here the type of mate does not matter but the way in which it is prepared.
What yerba mate to start with?
There are many types of yerba mate, but to begin with, it is best to choose one that is not very strong. Otherwise, it can disturb your sleep or feel that you are too excited.
For this reason, it is important that you choose a yerba mate that maintains a bitter and traditional flavor while being smooth. In recent years, the Uruguayan market has innovated in this sense and excellent products have been introduced. (Linkear a nota de tipos de yerba).
What’s more, if you like fruit flavors, there is a wide variety that goes from ginger to orange, and even lemon.
Now that you have the base, it is time for you to continue discovering the world of mate, because that way you will know part of the local and regional history.
The best three teas in South America
1- Organic black tea from Bolivia
It is one of the most reputable teas in all of South America. In the Bolivian heights you can also get good tea and proof of this is a black tea, which is made completely handmade and organic. It has a unique aroma and a very deep, characteristic flavor.
2- Premium Missions
It is a region known for the production of yerba mate, but it also stands out in terms of the infusion of tea. One of the best black teas in the country is made there, with a certain proximity to those of Asia.
In addition, red and green tea is made in this province, although with a slightly lower quality than the mentioned above.
3- The mate of the southern cone
And of course, how not to talk about mate. It is an extremely stimulating drink (linkear a cómo se toma el mate), highly digestive and which provides properties at a general level for the human body.
Although it is strong and disgusting at first, it can be taken in various ways that you just have to go ahead and try. It is characteristic of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
4- The coca tea
In the Andean region between northern Chile, Argentina and also in Bolivia and Peru, it is usual to drink an infusion of coca leaves. It is stimulating and helps combat the effects of altitude. It is taken by everyone in the mentioned regions, especially when it is time to ascend the Andes Mountains.
5- The Ecuadorian guayusa
It is from the same family as yerba mate, and has stimulating capabilities when consumed. For this reason, it is often used as an energy drink. It is served, like mate, as a replacement for coffee.