How to Prepare Yerba Mate
How Yerba Mate Is Prepared Traditionally
The preparation of a cup of yerba mate is one of the keys to a pleasant taste. If not started properly, the taste can turn bitter.
Although the method may vary depending on the region, most methods have a couple of things in common; the gourd, or mate, is nearly filled with the yerba and hot water. The temperature of the water may vary between 160 and 180 degrees F. It should never be boiling.
The mate is first filled ½ to ¾ full with yerba. After that, one grasps the mate with one hand, completely covering the opening with the palm. Then it is turned upside down and shaken briefly. It should be shaken vigorously to begin with, gradually decreasing the forcefulness of the shaking. This causes the finer particles to settle closest to the palm and the top of the mate, and the heaver leaves and stems to the bottom so that the bombilla will not stop up.
Once the yerba is settled as described above, carefully and slowly turn the mate to its normal position. You have to pause when the mate is at a slight tilt before bringing it fully vertical. The goal is for the yerba to be at one side of mate, leaving a cavity between the yerba and the opposite side of the mate.
Now add a small amount of cold to lukewarm water to wet the leaves and let it sit until the water is absorbed. Then fill the mate with water, never hot , into the cavity until it nearly reaches the top. If necessary it can be held slightly tilted in order to keep the yerba on one side. Insert your bombilla into the cavity for a longer lasting softer brew or into the yerba leaves for a stronger flavor. Sip slowly and add more water as needed.
Do not allow the water to sit in the mate for a long period of time, it will get very strong.
Curing the Gourd
It is necessary to cure a new gourd to remove the bitter taste of the gourd and replace it with the essence of your favorite yerba. There is no need to cure solid wood mates, this process will crack the wood.
Fill the gourd 3/4 full with yerba mate Add boiling water to fill, let it soak in and fill again with boing water.
Let the gourd sit for 24 hrs Empty out the yerba, rinse with water and scrape the inside with a spoon to remove the gourd flakes.
This process may be repeated more than once.
The classic French press is a great way to enjoy yerba mate.
Just add the yerba mate and add hot water
Allow the leaves to float to the top and settle. Do not stir.
Insert the screen and push down slowly.
A coffee maker will work but some of the natural oils may be missing from your brew.
It is important to wet the leaves and let them sit in the filter and swell up, otherwise they will float and the water will simply work around the yerba mate.
Often people who purchase yerba mate for the first time think the there is some special amount of mate to use or a best way to brew. Experiment find what is best for you, your taste, your lifestyle. The best preparation method is the one that you enjoy the most.