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 South American drink, really popular in places such as Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. To grasp its relevance, it is key to know its history.

The Guaraní and their yerba

The drinking of Mate goes back to the Guarani people (natives of a few South American regions), as proved by the research of poet and journalist Amaro Villanueva. They would chew the leaves straight, or would place them in a calabash gourd with water, and take sips. Actually, the term “mate” stems from the guarani “Caa-mate” (“Caa” stands for plant or grass, while “mate” represents the gourd). Other peoples such as the Incas, the Charruas and even the Araucanos ‘embraced’ mate from the former. For the locals, the mate plant was a holy present from the gods, and mate had a special and spiritual meaning, apart from its nutritional value.

Popularity in colonial times

Due to its advantages, mate turned popular very quickly among the Spanish people that colonised South America. The yerba was taken from its place of birth all through the land under Spanish rule, and mostly the Jesuits were in charge of extending the usage of mate by having it in their reductions, though they took boiled mate, and used no gourd. They also found out that mate plants germinated only in certain areas of South America – a secret confirmed 50 years after by the French naturalist Aimé Bonpland.

The “gauchos” and their love for yerba mate

Along the long process of Argentina’s freedom in the 19th century, the custom of mate gathered momentum in the country’s folklore. The “gauchos” (a sort of Argentinian cowboy) embraced mate as part of their culture, together with horseback riding and wearing leather clothes. They took mate in groups with the different meals of the day, and also before going to bed.

Yerba mate, today

Yerba mate grows in Argentina, Paraguay and the South of Brazil, in which temperature, soil and humidity conditions are fit. Mate is part of the everyday life of an average Argentinian person, just as for the old gauchos. It is drunk at home, in the office, parks, universities, not just because of its benefits, but for the social bonding role it plays.

How to prepare a good mate tea?

How to prepare a good mate tea?

The steps for making mate (“cebar”, in Spanish) entails a number of techniques and tricks to guarantee the best results. Here, Valeria Trapaga (sommelier who specialises in yerba mate) explains everything there is to know about making mate as an expert.

The quality of the Yerba Mate

Firstly, we should use a high-quality yerba for the mate tea, since this will have a great impact on its flavour, texture and aroma. To recognise a good yerba, we need to use our five senses. The yerba should be yellowish green, and there should be a balance among the components: dust, leaves, chips, fiber. When you hold it, the yerba ought to have a dry quality and make a light cracking sound. Its scent should be fresh and a bit roasted; meanwhile, the flavour should have a slightly bitter touch.

An appropriate mate container

When the mate (container) is appropriately cured, it can absorb all the attributes of the yerba and keep its flavours. Therefore, before we begin preparing the drink, it is key to ensure the container we use is apt (it needs to have a narrow base, a wide mouth) and that it has been cured correctly.

How should we cure the container? We first fill it with yerba, then add hot water and let it sit for the night. In the morning, we scrape its surface well to eliminate the woody stems. If needed, repeat the process until it is totally clean. Then, let it dry in the sun.

Steps to prepare the perfect maté

  1. Fill three quarters of the container with yerba.
  2. Put the container top-side down and shake it energetically to make sure all the elements are evenly mixed and distributed.
  3. Gently bring back the mate to its initial position, ensuring that the yerba is leaning at an angle of 45 degrees, making a little hole. Through the hole, pour warm water (a temperature between 70°C and 80°C is advisable) to wet the lower part.
  4. Now place the “bombilla” (straw), pressing it against the inner wall of the container and try not to move it afterwards.
  5. Slowly add the water through the little hole where the straw is.

All set! The outcome will be a foaming, intense drink where the nice flavour of the yerba remains much longer. Now you can delight in the benefits of this natural drink outside Argentina. Click here to find your closest store. If you are in Europe, click here to buy online with home delivery service.

10 excellent health benefits of yerba mate

10 excellent health benefits of yerba mate

Tea and coffee consumers might not be aware that yerba is significantly healthier and more favourable. This is a short summary of all the virtues which turn mate into a “super drink”.

  1. Yerba mate has 90% more antioxidants than green tea. This can be seen in its high amount of polyphenols, which enhance the body’s natural defenses and avoid cell aging.
  2. It makes heart health better by reducing cholesterol levels and even preventing atherosclerosis. It contains a hypotensive and vasodilatory effect too that is really good for people suffering from high blood pressure.
  3. Yerba mate contains a natural energising and refreshing effect. It strengthens concentration due to its proportion of caffeine - called “mateína”, as well. This element also stimulates the nervous system; therefore, drinking mate is great before physical or intellectual activity. Because of this, mate is suggested for sportspeople as an alternative to commercial energy drinks.
  4. A further excellent advantage for sportspeople: the recovery rate after working out increases significantly when drinking yerba mate, so it is also advised as a post-exercise infusion.
  5. Mate does not have fat in it, is low in calories and sodium. It could be easily added to the routine of anybody that is trying to watch their weight or just follow a healthy diet.
  6. The human body requires 13 vitamins, eight of which are in group B. Good news: yerba mate is rich in these elements which are key for men. It also has really important minerals like potassium and magnesium.
  7. This drink has potent bioactive compounds that prevent illnesses. For instance, it lowers glucose and lipids, helping control type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  8. Mate has a diuretic effect as well, since it prevents water retention and enhances kidney function.
  9. It exerts an influence on digestive health as it stimulates the production of bile and gastric acids. The virtues of yerba mate may relieve constipation.
  10. Lastly, drinking yerba mate has a positive effect on emotional health. The energy intake works as a natural antidepressant, and also since this infusion is usually shared with our loved ones, it encourages moments of happiness and well-being.