How to Prepare Yerba Mate?

The worst thing that can happen to any mateiro is a clogged gourd. Once you read this article you will never have this disastrous problem happen to you!

First let me set-up the nightmarish clogged gourd of mate scenario. Imagine. You are all ready to enjoy a piping hot cup of delicious mate. You crack open the fresh bag of mate, the aroma wafts out and you throw some mate in your gourd, pour in a measure of water, take a pull from the bombilla. And nothing happens. Your gourd is clogged, you have wasted all of the soggy mate in your gourd, and you will have to spend the next couple minutes cleaning out a clogged bombilla.

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STEPS: How to Drink Yerba Mate?

  • Fill gourd about 2/3rds full.
  • Cover the top of the gourd with your hand & shake. (This moves the small powdery mate grains to the top of the gourd and shifts the larger flakes and stems to the bottom of the gourd.)
  • Stop shaking and keep the gourd tilted. (Not flat so the mate is spilling out, but not on its base so that there isn’t any space for the bombilla. There should be a space for the bombilla to slide to the base of the gourd unimpeded.)
  • Put your bombilla in the empty space created by the tilting gourd.
  • Optional: Pour an ounce of cold water in.
  • Place the gourd upright and pour in the hot water. (NOT boiling water.) Bring water to a boil and let it sit for three of four minutes before pouring it in.
  • Enjoy!
  • Re-fill with water and enjoy again & again!

A great way to see this process in action is by viewing the following short clip. Speed up the video to the 1 minute mark and you will see the entire process for how to prepare yerba mate.

Thanks to TasteMade for the clip.

A couple quick things to consider
  • Don’t pour boiling or near boiling water into your bombilla

It’s best to let the water cool down before pouring it into the gourd. You can’t drink the mate for some time, just sit back and relax. When you pour boiling water directly into your gourd it can ruin the gourd’s interior and burn away some of the nutritional benefits found in the Mate leaves. Finally, pouring the boiling water into the gourd while the bombilla is inside can be a serious health risk due to the effects the boiling water has on overheating the metal bombilla. Let the water cool down first!

  • Match the size of the holes in your bombilla with the thickness of the mate grain.

In practice: It’s to better to buy a bombilla that have very small holes at the base of the straw. Also many higher quality bombillas have thin metal strips inside the straw which create a filter that reduces the likelihood of clogging. However, many mate lovers bought the first straw that they came across in the local shop. If your bombilla has big holes at the base, make sure to buy a mate brand that is not powdery. A thicker and flakier mate is what you will need to buy to avoid clogging. If you are interested, you can read a breakdown of a few of the top mate brand’s Amazon sells.

  • You bought Yerba Mate that is too fine for your bombilla to handle? Don’t worry.

If you accidentally bought mate that is too fine (powdery) than your bombilla can handle then put it in a french press. French press the mate the same way you would a cup of coffee. This way you can still get a delicious brew from this too powdery mate blend.

  • Who makes Yerba Mate this way?

This is not only the most popular Argentina Yerba Mate recipe, but also the traditional method for how to drink Yerba Mate across South America.

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