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Whats the Best way to Consume Yerba Mate

Whats the Best way to Consume Yerba Mate,and what information can you give on it.I tried it a few time as tea and really liked it.Just wondering what other peoples experiences with it are.

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  1. In Argentina, you often see people carrying around a thermos of hot water and a gourd with a metal strainer/straw. Yerba mate is packed into the gourd (an alarming amount of it really), and then they pour the hot water over it, and drink through the straw, which, because it has a strainer built in, eschews the need for a separate brewing pot or tea-ball.

    1. I used to date someone whose family was from Argentina and he explained to me that traditionally it's actually a communal, social drink. A group of people would sit together and talk pass around the gourd and all drink from it.

      1. I lived in Uruguay (Argentina Lite...aka the Canada of Argentina) and these are both right. Basically the first person packs it and pours water in from the thermos, drinks, then passes to the next person, who pours, then drinks that water and passes it on. Its general a group social activity, but in Uruguay you don't leave home without it--students will have their backpacks and their mate bags. They even have it as they sit on the beach (awkward in such hot weather, but well, Uruguayans are odd)

        Its much better in its appropriate gourd (called a mate as well) than as a tea.
        What else? In uruguay, they don't add sugar the way they do in Argentina, I prefer it, but that is a matter of taste...

        Any other questions? (I knew my Uruguay culture knowledge would come in handy someday)

        1 Reply
        1. re: dagoose

          Hey dagoose, I spent a month in Montevideo a year or so ago, your descriptions made me smile. But you forgot to mention the "mate shuffle", where people carry the thermos of hot water in the crook of their arm and the mate in the other as they drive, walk, shop, talk on the phone, etc.

          And you should always have alfahores (shortbread cookies that sandwich dulce de leche in the middle) around for when you get the munchies later!

        2. You need a silver embossed mate gourd, silver embossed straw, hierba, sugar (more the more authentic), and thermos of hot water. Most Gauchos have their own, no need to share. Take your kit and suck on it everywhere. My Gaucho work colleague follows the above guidelines. In Bolivia, we drank mate de coca.

          1. whole foods and wegmans both carry boxed "teabags" of mate and i've been curious about it. in south america are the leaves used dry or fresh? would the teabag version be similar in taste?

            1 Reply
            1. re: spinach

              I found some Yerba Mate at a small herb shop right by my house called,The Grainery,and I must say I liked it much better than the one I usually go to in the Pike Place Market,for only c65/ounce,they had cotten reusable teabags with a drawstring for c35 cents.
              I brought it home and put a few tablespoons in the bag and put it in 32oz of water then microwaved it.Was very good,great coffee alternative and stronger than most green or black teas,I thought.
              Of course this is my crude method of drinking this revered beverage,more suggestions of flavorings,use ect. would be appreciated.