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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.

            2. Yerba mate is funny in that it can be made in every way that coffee is made and just about every way that tea is made... though if I make it any way but in the mate gourd we always end up wanting another "mate in the gourd--traditional style. The reason is , I believe, that not only does it make a nice strong "mate", but it affords one the beautiful cultural ritual of passing the gourd, talking, and spending time with other people in a bonding and loosely, casually affectionate manner. This is really what it's all about.

              We had yerba mate vendor of a North American branded/repackaged tea once claim to us that North Americans would never go for the mate and bombilla approach... however, from our sales and feedback we would have to disagree. In fact I'd say that most North Americans are into trying the traditional method and most, after various experiments, find the traditional methods really satisfying. that said; if you haven't tried a yerba espresso with hot milk you really ought to... but make it yourself on the stovetop; most espresso stands don't yet know how to prepare it.
              Buen Provecho

              1. Just a note re the mention of mate de coca. Tried yerba mate in N. Argentina (Tucuman). It is a tea. With a great "social" ritual connected to its use. Mate de coca though is a whole 'nother story. Had that in La Paz. When one gets "soroche" or altitude sickness in the mts. of like Bolivia or Peru one is served mate de coca. It is simply dried coca leaves floating/steeping in a tea cup of hot water. It works very well to cure your "soroche".

                1. I've had the tea bags and liked them. Celestial Seasonings has a yerba mate/black tea mix called 'Morning Thunder' that's OK, but I prefer straight mate. I'd like to try bulk yerba mate in my coffee press. Anybody done that?