Delicious yerba mate is easy to brew if you follow a few simple tips.

  1. Moisten Your Yerba Mate First: Before you add hot water, moisten your tea bags or loose yerba mate with cold water. This will protect the flavor and nutrients.
  2. Avoid Boiling Water: Boiling water makes bitter yerba mate. Simmering water (around 170F) is ideal.   
  3. Five Minutes: Avoid over-steeping yerba mate. Five minutes is the right amount of time.

If you are using tea bags, simply add one or two bags to a mug, splash in some cool water, and top of the mug with simmering hot water.

Loose yerba mate is also easy to brew. We often tell beginners to pretend they are making a cup of coffee, but use loose leaves instead of ground beans. Add a tablespoon of herb per cup of hot water. Percolators, French presses, espresso makers, strainers, and tea straws all work great.

Yerba Mate is delicious all by itself, but many people like to flavor it. An incredibly versatile herb, it goes great with milks, sweeteners, juices, and herbs of all kinds. You can make a yerba mate latte, a yerba mate chai, or a yerba mate iced tea with lime. The possibilities are limitless!

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The Traditional Yerba Mate Sharing Circle

Once you get the hang of brewing yerba mate, chances are you'll grow curious about the authentic South American yerba mate experience. In order to share a yerba mate gourd with a circle of friends and family, you'll need a thermos or pitcher, some loose yerba mate, a tea straw, and a gourd.

  • Fill a thermos or pitcher with hot (but not boiling) water.
  • 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.
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      Sharing Tereré, A Tropical Yerba Mate Treat

      Tereré is another authentic yerba mate experience that you may have heard about. Basically, tereré is an ice-cold variation of the yerba mate circle. Tereré is very popular in tropical South America, especially after siesta. It’s incredibly refreshing. Here's how to make it:

      • Fill a pitcher with water and ice.
      • Stir in some fresh lime juice and sweetener to taste.
      • Fill a small metal or glass cup with loose yerba mate.
      • Insert a tea straw to the bottom of the cup.
      • Pour, share, sip, repeat.

       

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