Top Ways To Make Yerba Mate
3 min

Top Ways To Make Yerba Mate

3 min

Yerba mate is a herbal drink steeped in South American tradition, but it still holds a valued place in the modern era. If you're looking to try something a little different, or have heard of mate before but believed it to be too complex to make, you're in for a surprise. Read on to discover the best ways to make yerba mate at home.

Originating in South America, yerba mate is a herbal tea made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant (Ilex paraguariensis). Offering a robust and unique flavour, yerba mate is also capable of providing a boost of energy, thanks to its caffeine content. Furthermore, as it contains high levels of antioxidants, there are many other potential benefits to be experienced. But don't just take our word for it; served hot or cold, mate is a hugely popular drink that's easy to make. Want to learn how to do it yourself? You're in luck! Join us as we fill you in on the best ways to make mate: the traditional way, the easy way, and iced!

Yerba mate: The traditional way

Yerba Mate: The Traditional Way

While there are many shortcuts you can take to make mate tea, let's start with the more traditional method.

Here's what you need:

  • Calabash (gourd carved into cup)
  • Bombilla (metal straw featuring a filter)
  • Yerba mate
  • Filtered water

Steps for traditional yerba mate

  1. Water temperature is very important. The water needs to be hot but not boiling; 70–80°C will bring out the best in your yerba mate leaves and twigs, giving you a more rounded, less harsh flavour.

  2. Take your calabash, and fill about ¾ with yerba mate. Place your hand over the top of the calabash, turn upside down, and shake. Be careful to rinse off any residue left on your hand, as it can stain clothes and other fabrics.

  3. Next, tip your calabash to one side, allowing the yerba mate to create a little hollow gap. Now, slowly pour in a little water, and place the calabash down on a flat surface to let it settle for a moment.

  4. Plunge your bombilla into the yerba mate mulch. Begin to add more hot water into the calabash, and allow the mixture to brew for 3–5 minutes. Traditionally, drinking mate is a ceremony-like experience that's best enjoyed with friends. Pass the calabash around to really get into the mate spirit.

Yerba mate: The quick and easy way

Yerba mate: The quick and easy way

If you're a little short on time or don't have access to the traditional equipment, no problem! There are many ways to recreate the mate experience using items you have around the house. Here's what you need.

  • Yerba mate
  • Filtered water
  • Teapot
  • Electric kettle
  • Strainer

Steps for quick and easy yerba mate

  1. Boil the filtered water in your kettle. If you have a temperature-controlled kettle, dial into the desired 70–80°C. If not, allow the water to reach a boil, but leave it to sit until you deem it cool enough.

  2. Next, warm your teapot. This can be achieved by pouring a little of the hot water into the pot and swirling it around. Once suitably warmed, pour the water out.

  3. Place your yerba mate into the teapot (around ¾ full) and add your hot water. Cover the teapot and allow the yerba mate to infuse for 3–5 minutes.

  4. Now fully infused, place your strainer over a cup and pour the liquid from the teapot into the cup. Now you've got some great-tasting yerba mate that's ready to enjoy. Easy.

Iced yerba mate

Iced Yerba Mate

As mentioned, yerba mate can be enjoyed cold too. But you don't have to wait for boiling water to cool before enjoying it. Let's get into how you can make an ice-cold mate beverage. Here’s what you need:

  • Yerba mate
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Filtered water
  • Ice
  • Strainer

Steps for iced yerba mate

  1. Place your yerba mate in your shaker, and add your filtered water. Seal, and shake vigorously for about 15–20 seconds. It might seem quick, but this will give the leaves and twigs plenty of time to infuse with the water.

  2. Next, fill a glass with ice, and place your strainer over the brim. Once in place, open your shaker and pour the contents through the strainer.

  3. Give your glass a little stir, and enjoy your refreshing beverage.

Related article

Yerba Maté: Everything You Need To Know

What does yerba mate taste like?

As touched upon, yerba mate has a unique and distinctive taste. It can be described as “strong” and “pungent”, but these don't do it justice. Fans of more earthy teas will be right at home when sipping on mate, and it has a eucalyptus-like aroma that's very pleasant. It can have a slightly bitter taste that some may find overwhelming; but don't fret, there is plenty you can do to make mate a little more palatable.

Last tips

Last Tips

When it comes to masking some of the bitterness of mate, you can always add sugar, syrup, or a little honey. If you're not initially keen on the flavour, experiment with different sweeteners to make it better suit your fancy.

Another tip is to purchase yerba mate in relatively smaller amounts. Although the herb doesn't “go bad” if you buy in bulk, you may find that the flavour is somewhat diminished if left unused for too long. Good storage can help to limit this.

If you're really looking to make the most of your yerba mate experience, you can experiment with adding additional herbs into the mix. A popular combination is yerba mate with a bit of chamomile. Not only will it alter the flavour a little, but you'll also expose yourself to the array of other possible benefits.

Lastly, we've already stated the importance of dialling in your water temperature, and this is for good reason. Boiling water is too harsh for yerba mate and can result in an extremely bitter taste. So if you really want to get the most out of your mate, be sure to use a thermometer to ensure a water temperature of 70–80°C.

Your turn to yerba, mate

Your Turn To Yerba, Mate

Now that we've given you the lowdown on everything yerba mate, it's time to check it out for yourself. With just a few items and ingredients necessary, it's an effortless process that can be enjoyed actively with others, or passively on your own. If you've ever wanted to make yerba mate for yourself but have been hesitant about the complexity, it really is an easy process. Pick yourself up some yerba mate today, and enjoy!

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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