How to Prepare Yerba Mate

Yerba mate originates from a species of the holly tree that has been cultivated for centuries in South America. It is praised for having the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the elation of chocolate, all in one cup. This balanced beverage delivers both energy and nutrition. For centuries, it has been treasured for its rejuvenating effects. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of drinking yerba mate and then we will talk about how to prepare yerba mate in many different methods.

Benefits

Have you heard of the health benefits of drinking yerba mate? I’m sure you are aware of how wonderful green tea is for you, but did you know that yerba mate has 90% more antioxidant power than green tea does? Yerba mate contains 24 vitamins and seven essential amino acids. It also has a nice boost of caffeine to get your day rolling in the right direction.

Are you looking to lose weight? Yerba mate can help you with that. It helps reduce your appetite and boosts your metabolism. Its rich concentration of polyphenols lowers your risk of heart disease and gives a boost to your immune system. Now that we know why you should drink it, let’s talk about all the different ways you can brew it.

Preparing Yerba Mate the Traditional Way

Drinking yerba mate the traditional way is both relaxing and meditative. Here is the process of how it is done.

1. Take your gourd, and fill it 2/3 of the way with yerba mate. Cover the gourd with your hand and give it a few good shakes to get the yerba dust to stick to your hand. Now, brush the dust off of your hand.

2. Tilt the gourd so that the yerba is in a half-moon shape inside of the gourd, with the upper half of the gourd containing free space.

3. Pour a small amount of cold water over the leaves to protect the nutrients.

4. Insert the bombilla, laying it flat over the yerba. Pour in the hot water.

5. Drink and enjoy.

Preparing Yerba Mate with Tea Bags

If you are looking for a hassle-free, easy way to enjoy yerba mate, tea bags are the way to go. All you need to do is place your yerba mate tea bag inside of your chosen mug, and then moisten the teabag with a little cool water before filling your mug up with hot water. Let your tea bag steep for 5 minutes, take out the mate tea bag, and enjoy.

Preparing Yerba Mate with a French Press

Using a French Press is a great way to brew more than one cup of yerba mate at a time. To begin, place 2 tablespoons of yerba mate into the filter of your French press. Prepare a kettle of water on the stove, heating it up to where the water is hot but not boiling. Now, slowly pour the hot water over the yerba mate, letting it soak in. Brew the tea for 4-6 minutes, until it reaches the strength you desire. Depress the plunger into the filter pot, and you are ready to go.

Preparing Yerba Mate with a Coffee Machine

Many people enjoy the convenience of brewing yerba mate in their coffee machine. If you decide to go this route, it is highly recommended to select a brand of yerba mate that has a high leaf and low dust content. This is because if there is a lot of dust, the tea dust can make it through the coffee filter and into your cup.

To begin, pour the amount of water in your coffee machine’s reservoir, reflecting how much tea you wish to brew. Next, place a coffee filter inside of the basket of your coffee machine. Add 1 tablespoon of yerba mate inside of the filter for every cup (8 ounces) of yerba mate you will be brewing. If you enjoy a stronger mate, add a little more. If you are a newbie to mate, you may want to add a little bit less.

Next, pour a little bit of cool water directly over the yerba mate leaves until they are wet. Doing so seals in the flavor and nutrients, before they become penetrated by the hot water. Wait for a few minutes, and then turn on the power to your coffee machine and allow it to start brewing. Voila! You have enough yerba mate to drink throughout the morning.

Preparing Iced Yerba Mate

As you may have guessed, there are a few different methods of making iced yerba mate. The first involves simply brewing the leaves in cool water. Start with 8-12 ounces of cool water and 1 tablespoon of loose-leaf yerba mate in a glass. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, strain out the leaves. You may now choose to flavor it with 1 tablespoon of honey or juice if you so desire.

However, if you really want to get the full flavor and nutrients of the mate, brewing it the traditional way is recommended. Iced yerba mate is known as Terere, and is particularly popular in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Here are the steps to make traditional Terere.

1. Fill your gourd up halfway with yerba mate.

2. Tip the gourd so that the mate rests against the side of the cup. Now, place your bombilla against the bottom of the cup so that it is resting within the empty space.

3. Add ice water that is infused with fresh mint and lime.

4. The person preparing the mate always drinks the first cup!

5. Keep adding water to the gourd and allow everyone to have a turn tasting the Terere.

Conclusion

Just like coffee and tea, the flavor profile of yerba mate changes depending on how you brew it. Whether you prefer it traditional and hot, a cold-brewed Terere, made in a French press or simple and conveniently with tea bags, you just can’t go wrong drinking a fresh cup of yerba mate tea.

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