There is a correct way to make and drink the mate, but it is also key to know how to clean and keep the container.
If you have a pumpkin mate, it is essential to cure it prior to using it. To do so, add yerba with warm water, leaving it until the following day. Afterwards, scrape the surface thoroughly to eliminate the woody stems. This process may be repeated many times to be more effective. When the stems have been totally removed, rinse and let it dry under the sun. Done, ready to use !
After having mate, you ought to toss out the yerba and avoid leaving it there much time. Then, rinse and drain the container and put it face up to dry. A usual mistake is to place it upside down, which favours the emergence of fungi, as stated by expert Karla Johan. Glass or ceramic-made mates are much simpler to maintain for those who do not have much time.
The “bombilla” (straw) is maybe the most sensitive element, as it is shared with other people. It is recommendable to buy a bombilla made of surgical steel and clean it after every use, but one time per month you should clean it deeply: immerse the straw in boiling water for about half an hour, and later scrub it with a brush.
Mate fungi generally appear as a white layer. To eliminate them, you can wash it thoroughly using a brush, washing-up liquid and hot water. Afterwards, dry it properly and fill the walls of the mate with ethyl alcohol, and light them with fire.
The mate ritual consists in sharing the drink with a group of friends or acquaintances. However, this can be risky during winter, when flu and viruses abound. Supposing the container has not been cleaned well, harmful agents like fungi and bacteria are prone to propagate. Also, it is hard to feel the actual flavour of a good mate if the conditions are not proper. Thus, it is advisable to devote some time to curing and washing it at the right time.