The Lowdown on Yerba Mate Gourds Posted on 15 Apr 08:18

The Yerba Mate Gourd Is an Invitation


The yerba mate gourd is a striking balance of contrasts. The warm gourd overflows with froth. The bombilla rises out, inviting us to share. 

Yerba mate is a versatile herb. You can brew it a thousand different ways. But for us at ECOTEAS, the yerba mate gourd is the beginning and end of all things yerba.

Yes, the yerba mate gourd requires attention and skill. But if we open to its magic, the gourd can be a great teacher. It can help us slow down and connect.

Please read below for instructions on the care and use of yerba mate gourds.


Enjoy and Share Your Yerba Mate Gourd! 


Sharing a yerba mate gourd with a circle of friends and family is a daily delight. To explore this tradition, you will need a thermos, some loose yerba mate, a bombilla, and a gourd. It’s easy if you take it slow...

Share yerba mate with a gourd

  • First, fill a thermos with hot (but not boiling) water. 150°F is ideal.
  • Next, fill your gourd about ⅔ with loose yerba mate.
  • Tap the yerba mate to one side of the gourd to create a pit on one side.
  • Moisten the pit with cool water. Just a splash. Don’t flood the whole gourd.
  • Gently insert the filter tip of the tea straw into the pit.
  • Pour hot water into the pit about halfway up the gourd, still keeping the high side 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 liquid 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 loses flavor, then replace as needed.
  • Please avoid touching the straw! Stirring makes all the herb steep at once, and it can also clog the straw. One of the cebador’s most difficult jobs is to gracefully discourage newcomers to the yerba mate circle from touching the straw.   


The Ideal Yerba Mate for a Gourd

When drinking yerba mate traditional-style, we at ECOTEAS prefer a loose tea cut that contains a blend of leaf and stem.

A whole-plant, traditional yerba mate cut with leaves and stem creates a smooth balance over the course of many pours.

The leaves provide long-lasting vitality, while the stems lend a subtle softness.

We keep the powder content low to help prevent bombilla clogging.


Tired of Cloggy Bombillas?


Try our spring-tipped bombilla!

Made of stainless steel, it won't rust. And it won't leech harmful metals into your gourd, either.

The two layers of filtration mean you get to enjoy smooth, clog-free sipping the whole way through. 

The innovative spring-tip also makes it a snap to clean!



Prepare Your Yerba Mate Gourd for Use


Before you enjoy your yerba mate gourd for the first time, you must cure it. This 48 hour process prepares the gourd for daily use. Our yerba mate gourds come with instruction cards inside:

  1. Fill the gourd halfway with loose yerba mate.
  2. Top off the gourd with hot water.
  3. Let the gourd sit for 24 hours.
  4. Empty the yerba mate into your compost and rinse the gourd.
  5. Using a small teaspoon, thoroughly scrape the soft, pulpy gourd material from the inside of the gourd. 
  6. Repeat this process a second time.
  7. Now your gourd is ready for use!


Take Care of Your Yerba Mate Gourd


Remember that your gourd was once a living plant. It is not made of plastic, and it will not last forever. However, there are steps you can take to increase your gourd's longevity.

  1. Allow your gourd to dry out completely between uses. This will help prevent mold and splitting.
  2. Never use soap on a gourd. It will taste soapy forever after.
  3. Yerba mate naturally oxidizes to a deep, inky green-black color. The inner walls of your gourd will soon stain this color. Don't worry, this is not mold. 
  4. If you live in a humid climate and your gourd never seems to dry out, try popping it into the toaster oven every once in a while on the lowest setting for twenty minutes or so. This ought to do the trick!

Please visit our Yerba Mate Gourds page to shop for a great selection of yerba mate gourds.