People drink yerba maté for many reasons:
It strengthens the Immune System. Rejuvenates, Breaks Down Fat (Lipolytic), Balances Sleep Patterns, Increases Libido, Helps the Gastrointestinal Tract, Increases Focus, Increases Strength, Energy, and Endurance, Reduces Cholesterol & Contains Antioxidants
It is believed by some….that many years ago, a tribe of Guarani people who had been living in one location found that the soil had been robbed of its ability to support the replanting of the same crop year after year. This change in the land forced the group to move on and search out new land to cultivate.
When it was time for this clan to move, one very old man did not have the strength to go. He told the clan, including his own children, to go on without him. He would stay and live the rest of his days in the abandoned village. His youngest daughter, however, refused to leave him there alone. She chose to stay with her father and care for him. The clan moved and the the two were left behind.
One day, a stranger arrived upon the lonely scene. He asked the young woman what he could give her to make her happy. She would not reply, or ask for anything. The elderly father, seeing his daughter’s loneliness, told the man that what he wanted was strength so that he could take his daughter to rejoin their clan.
The visitor gave the old man a green plant, this plant was Yerba Maté. The old man was instructed on how to plant it, and how to pick the leaves and dry them over a fire. He was shown how to grind the dry leaves and make an infusion in a hollowed out gourd and how to sip it through a straw made from a reed. The visitor said “In this drink, you will find healthy company, even in the sad hours of cruel solitude.” With these words the stranger went on his way.
The old man was obedient and as he drank the green yerba maté tea, he began to quickly recover and gain new strength. After some time he and daughter undertook the journey to rejoin their clan.
Their friends and family welcomed them with great joy, and they all learned the secret of yerba maté. From then on they shared this herb for strength, courage and comfort between friends.
Preparing a yerba maté infusion correctly will add to the overall enjoyment of your mate experience.
Fill cup about 2/3 full of yerba maté.
Put your hand over the cup and invert several times to reduce the “dust” in the mate.
Place your cup on the table. And slowly pour in the prepared hot water. Pour in enough water to cover 1/2 the mate.
Wait a few seconds to allow the yerba maté to absorb the water
To insert the Bombilla (straw). Cover the upper opening with your finger so no air enters into the maté as you insert the straw.
With Bombilla create a small hole in the centre of the mate, pour water into this hole as needed. Pour small amounts of water into center of maté until water is no longer absorbed and it is ready to drink.
Now you can enjoy your mate.
Continue to add hot water several times while drinking your mate. DISFRUTA EL MATE (enjoy your maté)
Yerba maté is traditionally a social drink meant to be shared. At Mahtay we love that mate is such a symbol of community, but if you go solo when you drink it, it is fun to know how it is traditionally shared.
Traditionally, people only share with close friends and family.
This maté sharing ritual begins with the cebador. He or she, prepares the yerba mate and drinks the first cup to ensure that the yerba maté is ready to be enjoyed by all.
If you are sharing here are some important things to consider:
1. Don’t Touch the Bombilla (straw) No. No. Nooo.. Never do that! We’ve seen people do all kinds of crazy things with the bombilla! Don’t stir your drink or pull the bombilla in and out. All this movement disrupts the settled tea and fills your straw with sediment.
2. Never Complain About the Mate
3. As mentioned yerba maté has traditionally been a social drink…your not going to make or keep friends complaining that the drink has not been made to your liking. Sometimes the mate will be too hot, or perhaps it won’t be “just right” to your liking… maybe too bitter (armargo) or too sweet (dulce)… but just relax… take it easy… and try not to complain too much if you can prevent it. You’re better off just saying “Thank you” which, ironically, means that you don’t want anymore mate to drink. Maté isn’t about complaining and hassle… it’s about relaxation, fun, and good times with friends. When you are the server, you can prepare the drink just the way you like it.
4. Don’t Take an Hour to Drink the Maté
5. Be considerate and take a reasonable amount of time. 2 maybe 3 minutes to drink your share. Don’t take a month to drink the maté while you chat about your girlfriend wanting to borrow your new purse…not cool… Just drink up and pass around. Keep the flow going.
6. Don’t Slobber and Don’t Participate if You’re Sick
7. Do us all a favor and don’t slobber on the bombilla… Be cool. If you’re coming down with a cold or just contracted the bird flu, please pass on joining the maté circle. Slurp away!
(It’s totally cool to slurp the maté at the end like you would upon finishing one of our icy fruit smoothies. It’s actually a sign of respect when you let everyone know, especially the server, that you really drank all of that good stuff! Right on, man!! Slurp away!)
8. Say “Gracias” (or Thank You)
9. When you’ve had enough mate to drink, just say “Thanks.” I know…I know…for our North American culture that doesn’t really make sense.. We usually say “No Thanks.” But traditionally, participants of maté circles have said “Gracias” when they no longer want to drink maté. It’s a sign of respect.
10. When you first meet someone you can say “unos mates?” or in English, “want to drink a maté?” This is a sign of great respect. Then you may ask the person “how do you like it — bitter or sweet?” It’s polite to respond “como vos tomás” or “however you take it.”
Much of this info is adapted from great yerba mate sites found on the internet…Leave us a comment about you’re mate experiences!