Styles of Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is very popular in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. The methods and types of yerba mate vary greatly between the regions.
Argentina is the largest producer of yerba mate. The popular method of drinking is with a small gourd and bombilla. Sugar and perhaps lemon or orange rind is added to the brew. After the mate is prepared, warm water (sometimes with sugar) is poured over the leaves and it is all drank immediately. A thermos is usually available to refill the gourd with warm water. The favorite style of yerba contains stick (stems), medium leaf cut, and yerba dust. The sticks help to form a well-packed gourd and soften the flavor. The dust helps to make a stronger infusion in the beginning of the process.
Uruguay has the largest per capita consumption of yerba mate, although most of their yerba mate comes from Brazil. For the most part Uruguayans prefer a very strong mate. They use larger gourds and will allow the yerba to brew longer before drinking. The style of yerba mate they prefer is with a very small leaf cut, no sticks, and a significant quantity of dust. Careful perpetration of the gourd is necessary to prevent the bombilla from clogging. The most popular brand in Uruguay is Canarias
Most Paraguayans prefer their mate brewed cold (Terrere), with ice water. They use a guampa (bulls horn) or a guampa shaped mate, add the yerba, add lemon or lime, and add ice water and drink it all out with one continuous sip. A large thermos of ice water is kept handy for a quick refill. The style of yerba mate is similar to Argentina, with leaves, stick and dust, but the characteristics of the yerba are quite different. Paraguayan yerba when brewed hot can be very bitter, but when brewed cold can be very refreshing. The most popular brand in Paraguay is Pajarito.
We have found that new yerba mate drinkers prefer a yerba mate with no dust or stems and a large leaf cut. Our brand Itapua Organic is produced and blended just for the market in the USA