The “bombilla”, straw, is key to enjoying a great mate tea. The metal piece, shaped as a thin tube, lets us drink the yerba mate beverage and is therefore an essential part in the ritual of mate.
This unique drinking straw, made solely for having mate, fits in the gourd perfectly and filters the leaves and sticks with every sip, letting the liquid flow 15-20 cm till it gets to the lips. The bombilla is made of several parts:
A good quality bombilla may last several decades and witness many great moments. The most key factors to take into account when choosing a bomilla are:
Material: alpaca, silver and stainless steel provide the greatest quality plus durability, due to the high amount of pureness and a lack of porosity. These bombillas do not modify the flavour of yerba mate.
Filter: The most applauded ones are the “almond” filters – they adapt to the shape of the guard – and the spring ones – which let the water flow smoothly.
Top: Bombillas which have a wide, flat hole let the liquid flow with more ease and more naturally.
A crucial piece of advice, which is key to taking advantage of the whole benefits of a good bombilla: when the tube is placed in the yerba, it must rest there, not be moved again. This way, the yerba remains at the bottom, letting the water be filtered flawlessly.
A clean bombilla can last a great amount of time. Apart from cleaning it after every use, you should wash the bombilla thoroughly one time a month by immersing it in boiling water for half an hour – you may also add sodium bicarbonate. After that, clean the inner part with a thin brush to eliminate any remains of yerba mate.