Yerba Mate

Enjoy the benefits of Yerba Mate!

Mate is a delicious and nutritious infusion made from the leaves of Ilex Paraguariensis, a tree that only grows in subtropical regions of South America.

What is the origin of mate?

What is the origin of mate?

Mate is a beverage from South America, very popular in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. To understand its present importance, it is necessary to know its history.

The Guaraní and their yerba

Mate consumption dates back to the Guarani people (natives of some South American countries), as confirmed by the investigations of essayist and journalist Amaro Villanueva. They chewed the leaves directly or placed them in a calabash gourd with water and sipped. In fact, the word “mate” comes from the Guarani “Caa-mate” ( “Caa” means plant or grass, and “mate” refers to the gourd). Other groups like the Incas, the Charruas and even the Araucanos adopted mate from the Guarani. For the natives, the mate plant was a sacred gift of the gods, and the mate had for them a special and spiritual significance, in addition to its nutritional value.

Popularity in colonial times

Thanks to its virtues and benefits, mate soon became popular among the Spaniards who colonized South America. The yerba was carried from its place of origin throughout the territory under Spanish rule, and especially the Jesuits were responsible for extending the use of mate by using it in their reductions, although they drank boiled mate and not from a gourd. They also discovered that the mate plant germinates only in certain regions of South America, a secret that was confirmed half a century later by the French naturalist Aimé Bonpland.

The “gauchos” and their love for yerba mate

During the long process of Argentina’s independence in the 19th century, the tradition of mate gained strength in Argentine folklore. The “gauchos” (a kind of Argentine cowboy) adopted mate as part of their culture, along with riding horses and wearing leather clothing. They drank mate in groups, for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner and before going to bed.

Yerba mate, today

Yerba mate is grown in Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil, where conditions of soil, temperature and humidity are ideal. Just like those old gauchos, mate is part of the daily life of an average Argentine. It is consumed equally in homes, offices, parks, universities and squares, not only for its properties as an infusion, but for its role as a social bond.

How to prepare a good mate tea?

How to prepare a good mate tea?

The process of preparing mate (“cebar”, in Spanish) involves a series of techniques and tricks to ensure the best results. In this opportunity, Valeria Trapaga (sommelier specializing in yerba mate) explains all there is to know about preparing mate as an expert.

The quality of the Yerba Mate

The first step is using a good-quality yerba for our mate tea, as this will have a huge impact on its flavor, texture and aromas. To identify a good yerba, we must use all five senses. The yerba should exhibit a yellowish green color and there should be a harmony between the components: dust, leaves, chips and fiber. When you hold it, yerba should have a dry texture and produce a light cracking sound; Its aroma should be fresh and slightly roasted, while the flavor should have a nice bitter touch.

An appropriate mate container

When the mate (container) is properly cured, it is able to absorb all the attributes of the yerba and preserve its flavors. So before we start preparing the infusion, it is important to make sure that the container we use is appropriate (it must have a narrow base and a wide mouth) and that it is properly cured.

How do we cure the container? We fill the container with yerba mate, then we add hot water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, we scrape the surface very well to remove the woody stem. If necessary, repeat this process until it is completely clean and then let it dry in the sun.

Steps to prepare the perfect maté

  1. Steps to prepare the perfect maté.
  2. Fill three-quarters of the mate container with yerba.
  3. Place the container upside down and shake it vigorously to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly mixed and distributed.
  4. Slowly, bring the container back to its initial position, making sure that the yerba is inclined at an angle of 45 degrees, forming a small hole. Through this hole we will pour warm water (a water temperature between 70°C and 80°C is recommended) to moisten the lower part.
  5. Now introduce the “bombilla” (straw) by pressing it against the internal wall of the mate container and try not to move it again.
  6. Gradually add the water through the small hole where the straw is.

All set! The result will be a foaming and intense infusion, where the good flavor of the yerba will stay much longer.

10 excellent health benefits of yerba mate

10 excellent health benefits of yerba mate

Tea and coffee drinkers may be unaware that yerba is considerably healthier and more beneficial. This is a brief summary of all the properties that make mate a “super-drink”.

  1. Yerba mate contains 90% more antioxidants than green tea. This is reflected in its high content of polyphenols, which improve the body's natural defenses and prevent cellular aging.
  2. It improves cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels and even preventing atherosclerosis. It also has a hypotensive and vasodilatory effect, which is very good for those who suffer from high blood pressure.
  3. Yerba mate has a natural energizing and stimulating effect. It increases concentration thanks to its percentage of caffeine (also called “mateína“). This substance also stimulates the nervous system, so the consumption of mate is ideal before any physical or intellectual activity. That is why this drink is recommended for athletes as an alternative to commercial energy drinks.
  4. Another great advantage for athletes: the recovery rate after an exercise routine increases considerably with the consumption of yerba mate, so it is also recommended as a post-workout drink.
  5. Mate does not contain fat, it is low in calories and in sodium. It can be easily included in the routine of anyone who is trying to control their weight or simply following a healthy diet.
  6. The human body needs 13 vitamins, eight of them are in group B. Well, yerba mate is rich in these vitamins essential for men. It also contains very important minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
  7. This infusion has powerful bioactive compounds which prevent diseases. For example: it reduces glucose and lipids, helping to control diabetes mellitus type 2.
  8. Mate also has a diuretic effect, as it prevents fluid retention and improves kidney function.
  9. It has an influence on stomach and digestive health by stimulating the production of bile and gastric acids. The properties of yerba mate can relieve constipation.
  10. Finally, the consumption of yerba mate has a positive effect on emotional health. Not only is the energy intake a natural antidepressant, but as this drink is commonly shared with friends and loved ones, it fosters moments of well-being and joy.