Yerba Mate: History and Tradition

3000 BCE – that is our first known encounter with Yerba Mate. According to the book “Caá Porã: The Spirit of Yerba Mate”, The Kaingang ethnic group chewed the raw leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, gaining an energetic, caffeinated and theobromic buzz, rushing through their system. 

“I reached the place of our vibouac by sunset and drinking much mate, soon made up my bed for the night. The wind was very strong and cold, but I never slept more comfortably.”

Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin

Chewing Yerba Mate doesn’t sound very appealing, and it wasn’t, even at that time. The trend didn’t catch on, and it wasn’t until the Guarani tribe in the late 1500s that Yerba Mate took off. They worked on exploiting the benefits of the plant, creating the iconic gourd, and the first Bombilla’s (filtered straw) made from sugarcane. They knew about the benefits of the plant, and hence knew the best ways to extract all its xanthine-ic goodness. 

It’s the 21st Century now, and Yerba Mate is just starting to become a worldwide sensation. In our modern world, we needn’t brew Yerba Mate only in the traditional ways that the Guarani did. Here are some ways in which you can enjoy Yerba Mate: 

The Matero Way – with the Gourd, Bombilla and Sharing Circle

Source: MateOverMatter

The traditional method, (or The Matero Way, as we say it) is the toughest one to set up since it even requires a group of friends. Just kidding. 

Yerba Mate is originally a community drink, just as a group of colleagues share a pitcher of beer, a group of friends (or anybody really) can share a gourd of Mate. 

What you require: 

Yerba maté may boost antioxidant levels for overweight and obese people:  Study
  • A Gourd
  • A Bombilla
  • Loose-leaf Yerba Mate
  • A sharing circle (not necessary, but a lot of fun)

The Cebador, or the one who prepares the tea, is the person who pours the water into the gourd and passes it around. 

Step 1: Heat some water, and bring it to a fisheye boil. 

Fisheye Boil is boiling till you see tiny fisheye like bubbles at the bottom of the utensil. The water shouldn’t be too hot, since very hot water might burn the leaves. Pour the water into a thermos to maintain its temperature. 

Step 2: Put 10-15g of loose leaf Yerba Mate into the gourd.

Now, cover the gourd with your palm, rotate 180°, and shake to let all the fine particles come up and the bigger particles settle down, acting as a natural filter. Now, rotate it again and set it straight. You will notice a “valley” or a “pit” on the side that doesn’t have Mate. The part with the Mate is called the “mountain”, and the other the “valley”. Pour some cold water at the base of the mountain to preserve the integrity of the leaves. 

Step 3: Insert the Bombilla and pour hot water.

Pour hot water into the valley, and sip water till there is no more in the gourd. Now, the Cebador will fill water again and pass it on to the next person in the circle. 

Step 4: Continue this, till the Yerba Mate starts tasting bland, and which point you empty the gourd and put new Mate.

Yerba Mate has a rich tradition, culture and history! Get your Matero Yerba Mate today! Visit our store.

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