Yerba mate tea can be relaxing and energizing at the same time. Whether drinking it in the traditional fashion, as a hot or cold tea, or in another way altogether, the experience is unique and enjoyable.
The tradition of drinking yerba mate tea has been circulating among the Indigenous tribes of South America for centuries and is still alive today. Yerba mate can be used in many drinks to provide a fresh, unique flavor and a great caffeine boost. Knowing the traditional preparation of yerba mate, as well as some contemporary recipes and availability of commercial teas allows you to enjoy yerba mate at home and abroad.
The first step in making traditional yerba mate tea is to find the right equipment. A specially shaped drinking gourd, or mate, along with a filtering straw, a bombilla, are traditionally used. While it is possible to enjoy the drink without these, they enhance the traditional experience and can make drinking yerba mate more enjoyable.
To steep the tea, you must add the dried yerba mate leaves to the gourd first. Then, shake and shift them so the leaf pile is on one side of the gourd, with the smaller pieces on top. This leaves room for the bombilla and helps keep the smaller pieces of leaves out of the bombilla filter.
Once the mate pile is in place, you can cover the pile with cold water to help it stay in place and insert your bombilla. Then, fill the gourd with hot water, and enjoy your tea. In this step, it’s important that the water is not boiling, as this could create a bitterness rather than the usual rich flavor.
Other Tea Recipes
Depending on your familiarity with natural and homemade teas, it may be best to purchase your tea from the store. Many online and local shops have a variety of yerba mate teas available that combine the taste of the mate with other teas and flavors such as lavender, mint, chocolate or green tea.
If you feel adventurous, you could mix your own loose-leaf teas with yerba mate, creating new flavors you enjoy. However, this must be done with care and attention as different types of tea leaves may require different temperatures and treatments to steep properly.
Cold Tea and Drinks
Cold yerba mate tea and drinks have gained popularity across the globe. By steeping yerba mate tea, cooling it and adding it to other drinks, it can be used in almost anything. As with the hot drinks, this process should still be considered carefully. Yerba mate has a distinct tang that may not mix well with some flavors, so any at-home experiments should be done with flavor compliments in mind.
Commercially, cold yerba mate tea and drinks can be purchased from sites and stores around the world. As a popular ingredient in natural energy drinks, yerba mate can be found in healthier alternatives to the quick energy beverages found in a gas station. Taking the time to find a yerba mate tea or drink can be rewarding and refreshing.
Yerba mate teas can provide a refreshing energy boost after a long day. Whether steeped and enjoyed traditionally for a full experience, mixed with another tea flavor, or picked up from the store, its unique taste and caffeine boost make it an excellent supplement.