Yerba Mate Taragüi - How to prepare a good mate tea?
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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, stems. 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.

Tomar un mate bien cebado con Yerba Mate Taragui

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.

Cebar y beber yerba mate Taragui

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.

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