Brew using boiling water and leave to infuse for 5 to 10 minutes
This is not just a drink - it's an experience. The indigenous peoples of South America once called this herb the "Drink of the Gods". The Europeans called it the "Green God of the Indios". Today, we know it as delicious, wholesome, nutritious Yerba Mate.
This kit includes Yerba Mate, a Gourd (a dried and hollowed fruit used as a cup) and a Bombilla (a metal straw-cum-filter). These exceptional items are what you require to fully embrace the wonderful and centuries-old tradition of drinking Yerba Mate.
When brewed, it offers the combined flavour notes of smoked wood, tobacco and fine Green Tea. Some describe it as slightly astringent. Others note its unique herbaceousness. Regardless, its extraordinary taste lingers on the palate long after you've drained your gourd!
What is Yerba Mate?
Yerba Maté (Ilex Paraguariensis) is a herb native to South America. It is one of only a handful of plants in the world that produces caffeine. This, of course, is in addition to so-called "real" Tea, as well as Coffee. The plant itself belongs to the Holy (Aquifoliaceae) family and can grow to heights of up to 15 metres. It produces small fruit berries and greenish-white flowers. It likewise sprouts evergreen leaves. These leaves are used in the making of Yerba Mate Herbal Tea.
Once harvested and processed, the traditional way of drinking this Tea is with a Gourd and a Bombilla. The Gourd works like any other cup. The Bombilla, meanwhile, functions as both a straw and a filter. While drinking through the Bombilla, it quite literally filters out the Yerba Mate so that the leaves stay in the Gourd and not in your mouth!
History of Yerba Mate
The Guarani and Tupi peoples, located in Northern Argentina and Southern Brazil respectively, first consumed Yerba Mate centuries ago. When the Spanish conquistadors 'discovered' South America in the early 1500s, however, their lives changed forever. The Spaniards, particularly the Jesuits priests of the 'Old World', noted the extraordinary healthiness of the natives. This, indeed, was in part thanks to their consumption of this herb.
Fearing the presence of the devil, the Jesuits banned Yerba Mate among these tribes. However, this did little to deter its consumption in secret. Eventually, the Jesuits, realising the natives' reluctance to give the beverage up, lifted the ban - but at a cost. The Spaniards began to exploit the tribes' passion for Yerba Mate, holding a monopoly over its production and sale. To these European colonists, it became less of a 'Green God' and more of a 'Green Gold'.
King Charles III, the ruler of Spain, eventually expelled the Jesuits from Spain and her colonies. This led to the indigenous peoples of South America returning to a relative state of freedom - at least when it came to drinking Yerba Mate. Tragically, it did little to repair the damages caused by colonisation in South America.
Yerba Mate Today
Despite its turbulent history, Yerba Mate still holds a fond place in the hearts of many South Americans. In Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, this remarkable herb is the National Beverage. In the Uruguayan city of Montevideo, in particular, 75-80% of men and 79-82% of women drink it daily! In fact, such is its popularity that the Uruguayan government has since passed laws deeming it illegal to drink Yerba Mate while driving!
Ultimately, this age-old beverage continues to play a significant role in South American culture. The items found in this Yerba Mate Kit often make appearances at family gatherings and social events. Here, an almost ritualistic occurrence known as "pasando el mate" ("passing the mate hand in hand") takes centre stage. As its name suggests, it involves sharing a gourd of this delectable Herbal Tea with friends, family, acquaintances and sometimes total strangers. It brings about a sense of togetherness, a quality you can now experience with our Yerba Mate Kit today.
Mate Gourd Maintenance
Before using your gourd, it's important to cure it. This will ultimately prevent it from splitting as the Gourd itself can actually add flavour to your Tea. Furthermore, it's perfectly natural to find paper-like debris inside, as well as the odd seed or two. To remove this debris and prevent the Gourd from splitting, please follow these steps:
- Fill your Gourd halfway with pure mate.
- Fill the remaining half with boiling water.
- Allow the mate to soak for 24 hours.
- Pour the brewed mate out.
- Thoroughly scrape the inside of the Gourd walls with a spoon.
- If required, repeat this whole process.
- Rinse your Gourd one last time with hot water.
- Brew up and enjoy.
Type of Tea: Herbal Tea.
Brewing Instructions: Brew using freshly boiled water left to cool to temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees. Infuse for 3 to 6 minutes.
How to Serve: Consider adding sugar. Otherwise, this Tea tastes best as it is.
Tasting Notes: Yerba Mate boasts a strong, earthy aroma. Upon the first sip, expect smoky, wood flavours reminiscent of the Amazonian landscape from which it originates.
Colour in Cup: Golden-green liquor, light in tone.
Health Benefits: The indigenous peoples of South America drank Yerba Mate for improved digestive health. Little has changed today. Furthermore, the xanthines found in it can promote muscle relaxation. And this is but one beneficial constituent. Other vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants in this Tea include:
- Vitamins A, B1 and B2.
- Pantothenic Acid
These combined can combat free radicals in the body. This can ultimately reduce the risks of developing numerous chronic conditions, including type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Indeed, this has the backing of much of modern science.
- TypeHerbal Tea
- Health PointsAnti Oxidants, Diabetes, Digestive
- Caffeine LevelMedium
- OptionsLoose Tea
- Time of DayLunchtime, Afternoon