The Yerba Mate Sharing Circle: A How-to Guide Posted on 6 Dec 11:52
The heart of yerba mate culture is the ritual of sharing a gourd with friends and family. The details of the ceremony can seem complex at first. But it's easy if you take it slow...
- First, fill a thermos or pitcher with hot (but not boiling) water and set it aside.
- Next, fill a cured gourd about ⅔ with loose yerba mate.
- Tap the yerba mate to one side of the gourd to create a “little mountain” and a “little valley” inside.
- Moisten the “little valley” with cool water. Just a splash. Don’t flood the “little mountain.”
- Gently insert the filter tip of the tea straw into the “little valley.”
- Pour hot water into the “little valley” about halfway up the gourd, still keeping the tip of the “little mountain” dry.
- Sip this first pour right away. Make sure the tea straw is flowing well. Make sure the water is the right temperature. Drink until there is no more water left in the gourd.
- Now you are ready to pour sips for the friends and family in your yerba mate circle. Each person receives a half-full gourd. They sip right away, drinking all of the tea until the straw gurgles. Then they pass the gourd back to the pourer for refilling.
- Traditionally, only one person does all the pouring for the group. This person is called the “cebador.” She will keep pouring for each person in turn until the hot water runs out or the herb runs out of flavor, then replace them as needed.
- Avoid touching the straw! Stirring makes all the herb steep at once, and it can also make the straw clog. One of the cebador’s most difficult jobs is to gracefully discourage newcomers to the yerba mate circle from touching the straw.