Hello, fellow materos!
Welcome to the Yerba Mate Blog. In this article I will be explaining to you how to prepare yerba mate for the first time. Please sit back and watch while I do my best to get you up and running as soon as possible! I hope you have brought along your favorite yerba, bombilla and a gourd. If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, then please consider reading these three articles first:
- Get to know your yerba mate blends first
- What gourd should you go with?
- How to pick the best bombilla for your gourd?
Before we begin the whole process of preparing our mate, you should be aware of your role as a mate server or cebador. Traditionally, the cebador (person who prepares the mate and pours the water) drinks first then passes it
to the next person if drinking with others. The cebador refills the mate and passes it to each person in turn. Each persons normally finishes his portion before returning it to the cebador. The gourd can be refilled with water until it loses its flavor (lavado). This is what is called a yerba mate circle.
If you want to learn more about the traditions of a yerba mate circle, then please take a look at this article entitled the 10 commandments of a yerba mate circle. Now that we are all on the same page, let’s get your mate ready!
Fill your mate gourd ½ to ¾ full with loose yerba mate tea
Cover the top of the gourd with the palm of your hand. Turn the gourd up-side down and shake slightly
so that the yerba drifts toward your hand. Carefully turn the gourd sideways until the yerba is tilted enough to be partially filled with water.
Fill the gourd with cool water and allow the yerba to absorb it completely. This helps fixate the yerba to the side, prevents scalding the yerba and helps spread the flavor more evenly throughout the duration.
While still sideways, insert the bombilla making sure the filter goes to the bottom of the gourd below the water level. Use your thumb to seal the mouthpiece of the bombilla.
Gently pour in the hot water (not hotter than 80°C) into the mate gourd. The higher you fill it the stronger
it will be. So to achieve the most even and long lasting flavor, you pour less at first and more later thus utilizing the reserve as the yerba weakens.
Remember that its perfectly normal not to get it right the first time. There is also no 100% official way to do this. Try out my method and see if it works for you. If not, try modifying it a bit by inserting the bombilla before pouring cool water and so on…saúde!