Yerba maté brewing guide


Ilex paraguariensis brewing guidelines

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Expert Step and how to make the most of your yerba
As the flavour reduces (the yerba is ‘washed’) gently move the bombilla in a digging motion to the other side. As you do so you will turn the higher side into the ‘dip’ where the bombila will now sit. Careful as you do it so as not to make the yerba extremely bitter. If you are an expert you could gradually move the bombilla round between servings. You will literally get twice as many servings if you can master this trick, but it will take a little practice to do so without affecting the flavour on the way round.

In summary:

  1. Fill the cup 3/4 full of loose leaf yerba, place your hand over it and shake, returning the cup to a slanted position

  2. Add a little cool water and leave to soak for 2 minutes

  3. Add a little hot water and leave to soak for 2 minutes

  4. Firm up the “bridge” between the dry side and the serving side (optional)

  5. Dig in the bombilla

  6. Serve hot water into the serving side, sip and repeat!


Maté is exactly the opposite of television, it makes you talk if you are with someone and it makes you think when you are alone.

Charles Darwin called it the perfect stimulant. “I reached the place of our bivouac 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.” – Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle —

 You’ll need the following items to prepare yerba mate:

  • A bombilla which is metal or cane straw with a filter at one end

  • Mate which is a cup usually made from gourd, wood, cane, horn, ceramic or glass

  • Hot water. It is recommend to have it at 82C and using a flask is ideal.

  • Cool water at room temperature

  • Loose leaf yerba (with or without stem)

If you follow these simple steps, your yerba mate will not be too bitter, and your yerba will last longer.

Fill your gourd 3/4 full with yerba mate. Cover the top with your hand and shake up and down. To bring the fine ‘dust’ particles to the top and help prevent blockage of the bombilla. Return the gourd to a tilted position and you will see the ‘dust’ on your hand, and the yerba will be on a slant (important for the next step). Next you need to pour in cool water (room temperature is ideal) and allow the water to soak into the yerba. This causes the yerba leaves to swell and prevent blockage of the bombilla

To continue and prepare yerba mate, now you need to pour a serving of hot but not boiling water on the lower half of yerba (82C is ideal so you don’t burn the yerba) and leave the yerba leaves to continue to swell.

Use the back of the bombilla to pour the water onto – it helps to prevent burning the yerba. Once all the water is absorbed (after a couple of minutes), use the bombilla to accentuate the ‘bridge’ – make a wall between to the levels of yerba (one half is wet, the other is higher, and dry). Then dig in the bombilla with the ‘spoon’ curved towards the middle of the gourd, scrape the bombilla down the outside wall of the gourd on the side where the yerba is wet. Try not to move the bombilla – each time you move the bombilla significantly the mate will be very bitter!

Your yerba mate is now ready to serve – pour water into the lower side of the yerba