Yerba Mate Taragüi - How to choose the perfect mate cup
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How to choose the perfect mate cup

There are many kinds of mates – however, how should you pick the right one for your personal use? Here, some features and advice to help you select yours today.

vaso de vidrio para mate yerba taragui

A few things to bear in mind before beginning:

  • Mates come in varied shapes and colours – there is something for everybody!
  • Some containers, by preventing the yerba from adhering to the walls of the mate, make hygiene easier while better preserving the original flavour of the yerba (such as glass, stainless steel, ceramic, porcelain). You do not need to cure these mates.
  • For more classical drinkers, there are also mate containers like those made of gourd or wood that aim to recover the origin and history of the mateada, apart from bringing a characteristic flavour to mate. Important: it is necessary to cure this type of mate prior to its first use.

Did you know? Wide-mouth mates ensure the mateada yields more, as the yerba mate takes longer to get totally wet.

Let’s go for a mate

Forma del mate redonda de calabaza

The companion: the metal mate

Goes hand in hand with the kettle. Special for a mate afternoon. Some of these mate containers carry the water heat to the touch, while others are made with layered stainless steel. This ensures the mate does not become hot after a few brews and does not make the brewer’s task complicated when holding it in their hands.

The elegant one: the alpaca mate

If you are one of those that like shining from mate to mate, the alpaca / silver ones are ideal. They are made from selected gourds that are later dyed in order for a craftsperson to ultimately perform the metal adornment.

In these cases, the ferrules – girdle of the mate – may be embellished with silver inlays. 

The solid mate pots require a technique which entails designing, drawing, melting and laminating the metal, moulding it for the right shape, and then giving it diverse kinds of finish like chiselling or engraving. These mate pots are finished with a unique polish for total elegance.

The traditional one: the wooden mate

This mate, alongside the gourd one, can be regarded as the most classic one in the market.

What is key here? For the mate container to be made with hard or semi-hard and not very aromatic woods – wooden gourds acquire a mild flavour of the tree itself – as these woods aggressively invade the flavour of the drink.

They are made of turned carob, palo santo, quebracho and oak. They get dyed, carved and embellished in multiple ways.

We recommend curing them before their first use. 

The Criollo one: the gourd mate

This is the most traditional mate pot, chosen by most drinkers. They come in endless shapes (like pear, poro or “cookie”) and sizes, as they originate in a climbing plant, Lagenaria vulgaris.

Just like with wood, it is key to cure it and dry it completely after use – do not worry, here we explain how to do it.

Did you know? Horn or bone mates should sit in soap for a day, prior to curing them with yerba, so as to eliminate greasiness. 

The exotic one: the “asta” or “guampa” mate

It is more common to find these in the country, and are made with bovine horns, making use of everything animals provide.

In the past, the mate made of bovine horns was used by gauchos and muleteers, while today it is broadly used in Paraguay to drink tereré.

To make it, the piece of horn is polished to get a smooth, transparent product like glass. At times, the larger diameter end is closed using a wooden lid, while the narrower end is utilised as a mouth.

The practical one: the glass or ceramic mate

These are special time savers, thanks to their very practical surface for cleaning and the fact that they need no curing. 

They can be lined with leather, and the great part about it is that glass as well as ceramic do not absorb the flavour of the yerba mate.

All the same, it is key to pay attention to sudden changes in temperature to avoid cracks when preparing and cleaning them. When cleaning them, remember not to use water which is too cold or too hot. 

Mujer toma mate de vidrio o ceramica

The modern one: the silicone mate

This is the most modern of all, and it is also easy to clean.

The very best? Silicone mate containers do not bind bacteria or flavours – they keep the heat, do not break, and are super easy to empty. Moreover, they come in a variety of colours and attractive designs. 

But be careful: since they are flexible, it is slightly difficult to home them and, on occasion, they tip over – it is all about getting used to them.

The sustainable one: the grapefruit mate

Were you familiar with this type of mate? As you may imagine, you can use a hollowed grapefruit as a container, which in turn gives the mate a more citric flavour.

This combination makes the most of the antioxidant virtues of yerba mate and the vitamin C found in grapefruit, which is key for strengthening the immune system during the cold months.

The downside? It only lasts one round of brewing.

Extra! Follow our instructions to cure your gourd or wooden container before its first use.

Do you have the perfect bombilla yet? Here we tell you how to pick the ideal one

What comes next?

Once the gourd is well cured and you start using it for your mate, we suggest throwing away the yerba, rinsing, draining and letting the gourd dry facing up (once you have finished drinking).

Be careful: the most common error is to leave the container upside down, which favours the building up of fungi.

There are as many kinds of mates as there are brewers. Which one will you begin with? Share yours on our social media!

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