How is the yerba mate produced?
The Guaranies drank mate long before the conquest of America. Our infusion, now recognized worldwide, had several evolutionary and productive processes.
Step by step, this was how the Guarani natives cultivated, harvested and processed yerba mate.
At that time, the yerba was still not cultivated; It was collected from the wild trees of the Paranaense Forest. The harvest was done very precariously, and they cut only the leaves they had on hand. The amount was very small and for personal use.
To facilitate their transport, the branches were tied in bunches with bark. The bundles weighed no more than 2 kg.
Sapecado was also manual and in small quantities. It consisted in the rapid exposure of the leaves to the flame of a campfire. Large quantities were not needed for the personal consumption of the community.
To dry the leaf, they hung it from a branch over the soft fire for a day and a night to dry it and make it crispy.
With a wicker mesh they sifted the leaves and freed them of the excess dust. They manually uncovered it on a wicker basket when the blade was brittle.
The dried yerba was ground in a mortar made with a hollow trunk and a large stick, until it reached a texture similar to the one we know today.
When it was ready it was served in a porongo mate and they used a light bulb made of tacuari. The infusion was consumed with cold water. Yerba mate was reserved for the most important members of the tribe, such as chiefs and shamans.