How To Brew
There are many acceptable ways to brew yerba mate. We are going to cover all of them in this section.
There are two important rules you need to keep in mind with every technique.
Rule #1: Never pour very hot water on dry yerba mate. The hot water will extract the tannins too quickly and the taste will be very bitter.
Rule #2: Yerba Mate infuses much slower than tea leaves or coffee. Brew too fast and you get very little flavor, too slow and it can be too strong. The temperature of the water may vary between 160- and 180-degrees F. NEVER BOILING. In most cases you can brew the same leaves several times.
Yerba Mate in South America is traditionally brewed with a "mate" (cup) and a bombilla (filtered straw). This is the most popular method. The brew starts off strong which gets you going in the morning, then the flavor get softer and sweeter as you add more water.
Here is an excellent video.
We recommend inverting the mate completely upside down and shaking vigorously. This will move the stems to the bottom and the dust to the top which will help keep the bombilla from clogging. Creating the slope is a very good technique for large mate cups (8-10 oz) where you are going to be drinking on it for a long time. For smaller mates no slope is needed. Keep in mind if you are using a yerba mate with very little or no dust there is no need to invert and shake.
The mate (cup) shown here is a traditional gourd which requires special preparation (curing) when new and can be a bit difficult to maintain because they can grow mold easily and crack. We include complete curing instructions with every gourd purchase. Stainless steel and ceramic mates are much easier to maintain. Some say the gourds improve the flavor.
The bombillas are easily cleaned by running it through the dishwasher regularly, or just soaking in hot dishwasher detergent. Dishwashing detergents have enzymes that will breakdown any build up on the inside of the bombilla.
A french press is an excellent way to pull all the nutrients out of yerba mate. The trick to making it work (especially with dusty yerba mate) is not to stir the yerba, it you stir a dusty brand the dust makes it to the top and clogs up the press.
Add about one tablespoon of yerba mate for every 12 oz of water in the press, wet the leaves with lukewarm or cold water let it sit a few minutes then add hot water. Allow the leaves to float to the top and settle. Do not stir. Insert the screen and push down slowly. You can brew the same yerba mate several times.
Tumbler with Bombilla
This is a great way to enjoy yerba mate on the go. You can purchase a long bombilla to work with your favorite tumbler (make sure the sip hole is large enough) or purchase one of our tumblers that come with a bombilla.
Add 1-2 tablespoons for every 12 oz of water to taste. Wet the leaves with tepid water and let is sit for a few minutes then fill the tumbler with water 160 to 180° F. You can also enjoy adding cold water many times. Suggestion, start with hot water for a nice yerba mate boost and then add cold water to the leaves the rest of the day to stay hydrated.
A conventional coffee maker is one brewing technique we do not recommend. It is difficult to get a strong enough brew. Dusty yerba mate will clog the filter and it will overflow.
If you do try this method, wet the leaves and let them sit for about 10 minutes to expand and set up.
A Keurig type system works much better but the brew may not be as strong as you would like. You will require a reusable filter for your machine.
Fill the filter about 2/3 full and wet the leaves, let it sit for a few minutes, then run on a strong brew setting. We have filters available for the Keurig machine.
Instant Yerba Mate
This is an absolute cheat technique but the easiest and fastest way for drinking yerba mate. You can add the instant to hot water, bottled water, juice, sport drinks and even your yerba mate leaves to give it more of a boost. They are most likely less nutritious but when you feel the need for speed this is the fuel.
If your new to yerba mate you may have trouble with the taste in the beginning. Flavored yerba mate is available as well as herbal blends. Citrus fruit is an excellent additive because the citric acid will neutralize the tannin in the leaf making it less bitter. Peppermint and spearmint leaves will cover the grass like flavor. Adding sugar is popular in Argentina and herbs are popular in Paraguay.
The most asked questions we get is what is the best way and how much yerba should I use?
The best method is the one that works for you, and the quantity is the amount that you find suites your taste the most.
We hope we have given you enough information in order to give you a healthy beginning to your yerba mate journey.
The most import point to keep in mind is that it is always a better day when your drinking yerba mate.