How To Prepare The Mate

STEP # 1

Get your set of tools ready for the mate and make sure that all tools are complete and entirely clean and hygienic.

Basic Utensils:

  • Pava – Kettle
  • Mate – Gourd
  • Bombilla – Sipper
  • Sugar Bowl
  • Spoon
  • A Thermo, of course

STEP # 2

Pour the yerba mate inside the mate until it is ¾ full.

STEP # 3

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.

Here is some good stuff on the Etiquette and Ritual of drinking Mate:

The Mate is traditionally drunk in a particular social setting, such as gatherings with friends and family. In Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina, the same gourd - mate– mate and straw - bombilla are used by everyone drinking. Here are some typical etiquettes of the ritual:

  • One person, the cebador, assumes the task of server. Usually, the cebador fills the gourd-mate and drinks the mate completely to ensure that there are not leftover particles and it is also good quality.
  • Passing the first brew of mate to another person is considered bad manners, as it may be too strong or too cold; for this reason the first brew is often called mate del zonzo (mate of the fool).
  • The cebador subsequently refills the gourd-mateand passes it to the drinker to his or her right, who will also drink it all, without thanking the server.
  • Sometimes, it is possible that the cebador drinks the second filling as well, if he or she feels it may be too cold or bitter.
  • When the tea is out and the mate holds mostly moisture, yerba, the straw, makes a loud sucking noise. This is not to be considered rude.
  • The ritual proceeds around the circle in this fashion until the mate becomes washed out or flat (lavado), usually after the gourd-matehas been served or filled about ten times or more depending on the yerba used and the skill of the cebador.
  • When one has had enough mate, he or she thanks, in a very polity manner, the cebador, passing the mate back at the same time. It is considered rude to complain about the temperature of the water or to take too long to finish drinking. When someone takes too long, others in the circle will likely friendly warn him or her by making some sort of smart sarcastic remark, all in a friendly manner.
  • Some drinkers like to add honey or sugar, making mate dulce (sweet mate), instead of mate amargo (bitter mate). It is considered bad for the gourd–mate (especially for the natural squash or wood) ones to be used for mate dulce so it is normal for households with drinkers of both kinds to have two separate gourds. It is also thought proper only for children and ladies, not for adult men, though this is becoming quickly obsolete.
  • Traditionally, natural gourds are used, though wood vessels, bamboo tubes and gourd-shaped mates, made of metal or ceramic, stainless steel or even silver. Other gourds are commonly decorated with sporting decorative, silver or designs with floral, native, and gaucho motifs. Here at GauchoGourmet, we have a long line of Mates and Bombillas. Check them out!
  • Consider drinking yerba mate more than just healthy for the body, it is also good for the soul. Drinking mate can form of a sort meditation or reflection - allowing the all the natural aspects to mix into the body while stimulating and allowing the mind to rest.

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