How to prepare the best mate
You recently travelled to an estancia in Argentina and discovered how to drink mate, maybe you even got one for yourself as a souvenir, but now how do you prepare it?
1. Fill a flask or thermos with hot water.
The water should neither be boiling nor lukewarm. The ideal temperature ranges between 70º and 80ºC (158º – 176ºF) to ensure the original rich flavour of the yerba remains.
2. Pour in the yerba inside the mate and shake.
When you are pouring the dried leaves of yerba into the mate make sure you pour the right amount. The mate shouldn’t overflow with yerba but it shouldn’t be almost empty either. Ideally it should be ¾ full. Then, you are going to cover the top of the mate with your hand or a slightly wet paper towel, so that when you shake it, the small dust particles of yerba will stick to them.
3. Tilt the mate, making a hollow space to pour in the water.
Now tilt the mate so that the yerba rests on one side, and slowly pour a little water into the space created. Let it rest for a moment before moving on.
4. Place the bombilla.
The bombilla is the metal straw used to drink the infusion and it should be placed into the moist area of the yerba where you just poured the water. Remember to cover the mouthpiece with your thumb as you plunge it in to avoid blocking the bombilla with pieces of yerba.
5. Time to brew.
Now it is time to slowly pour more water into the same part of the mate where you placed the bombilla. Make sure to pour it in the same place each time to ensure the yerba leaves on the other side of the mate stay dry making it last longer. Note that the person brewing the mate, called the cebador, has the duty to serve it all throughout the round. The cebador should also remember whose turn it is to drink, in order to avoid skipping anyone in the round.
6. Share the moment.
Now you are all set! Pastries are a great way to accompany this traditional moment with your friends and family so you can all enjoy drinking mate.