The “bombilla” or straw is essential to enjoy a good mate tea. This metallic piece, in the form of a thin tube, allows us to drink the yerba mate infusion and is thus a key element in the ritual of mate tea.
1.Knowing the bombilla
This special drinking straw, which exists exclusively for the purpose of drinking mate, fits the shape of the gourd and filters the leaves and sticks in each sip, allowing the liquid to flow 15-20 cm until it reaches the lips. The bombilla consists of several parts:
- The top or “pico”: the part that has contact with the lips, at an angle
- The neck: tube carrying the liquid, it comes in different shapes.
- The filter: it is located at the bottom and prevents the mate leaves from passing through.
2. Finding the perfect bombilla
A good, high-quality bombilla can last many decades and accompany many good moments. The most important factors to consider when choosing a bombilla are:
Material: Alpaca, silver and stainless steel offer the best quality and durability thanks to their high degree of purity and the absence of porosity. These bombillas do not alter the taste of yerba mate.
Filter: The most recommended ones are the “almond” filters (which adapt to the shape of the gourd) and the spring filters (which allow the water to flow very smoothly).
Top: Bombillas with a wide and flattened hole allow the liquid to flow more smoothly and naturally.
3. Using the bombilla
An important advice, that is determining to take advantage of all the benefits of a good bombilla: once the tube is inserted into the yerba, it should rest there and not be moved again: that way the yerba settles at the bottom and the water is filtered perfectly.
4. Maintenance of the bombilla
A clean bombilla can last a long time. In addition to being cleaned after each use, the bombilla should be washed thoroughly once a month by being immersed in boiling water for 30 minutes (you can also add sodium bicarbonate). Then, clean the interior with a thin brush to remove any remains of yerba mate.