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.
A few things to bear in mind before beginning:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!