Yerba Mate? Patagonia's Version Of Coffee


Yerba Mate Tea

The Yerba Mate Tea is one of the most interesting and well known tea drinks that you will taste while on your trip to Patagonia.  This tradition of drinking tea is well rooted in the Patagonian traditions and screams authentic culture and is a must try for our guest at PTA.  The basic recipe for an authentic Yerba Mate is simple.  Loose Leaf Yerba Mate, Bombilla (Metal Straw), small mate cup, and hot water.  Get a group of friends together and enjoy the healing powers of Yerba Mate.

What is Yerba Mate?

Wikipedia:  Yerba mate, Ilex paraguariensis, begins as a shrub and then matures to a tree and can grow up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall. The leaves are evergreen, 7–110 millimetres (0.3–4.3 in) long and 30–55 millimetres (1.2–2.2 in) wide, with a serrated margin. The leaves are often called yerba (Spanish) or erva (Portuguese), both of which mean "herb". They contain caffeine (known in some parts of the world as mateine) and also contains related xanthinealkaloids and are harvested commercially.  


The Bombilla (Metal Straw)

What is a bombilla?  (Metal Straw)

The bombilla is a critical part of the mate process and is used as the straw to drink the infused water from the loose leaf mate inside of your mate cup.  It is a very well thought out design and pays tribute to the craftsmanship of the locals.  Simply a metal straw with a small metal filter at the end.  Brilliant!

A bombilla (Spanish), bomba (Portuguese) or masassa (Arabic) is type of drinking straw, used to drink mate.[1] Bombillas contain a filter in the lower end to separate the mate infusion from leaves and stems. Traditional bombillas are made of alpacca silver, a metal alloy of copper and nickel, while other common materials are stainless steel and hollow-stemmed cane


The Gourd (Small Cup)

What is a mate gourd? (Small Cup)

The mate gourd is nothing new to the world and gourds have been used since before 13,000 B.C.  The mate gourd simply provides a cup for which to put your loose leaf yerba mate and hot water in and enjoy the contents.  Simple.

 A gourd is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae, particularly Cucurbita and Lagenaria or the fruit of the two genera of Bignoniaceae "calabash tree", Crescentia and Amphitecna.

The term refers to a number of species and subspecies, many with hard shells, and some without. Likely one of the earliest domesticated types of plants, subspecies of the bottle gourdLagenaria siceraria, have been discovered in archaeological sites dating from as early as 13,000 BC. Gourds have had numerous uses throughout history, including as tools, musical instruments, objects of art, film, and food.


Putting it all together

How to put it all together

The preparation of a mate is not hard and anyone can do it.  The only things that are the variables are how much yerba mate (caffeine) do you want to consume and if you want to drink the mate (amargo) which means bitter in Spanish or (dulce) which means with a teaspoon of sugar.  Either way you can not go wrong and you will develop your own personal taste for preparing a mate.  Happy drinking.

It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis, known in Portuguese as erva-mate) in hot water and is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called abombilla in Spanish, a bomba in Portuguese, and a bombija or, more generally, a masassa (type of straw) in Arabic. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern, commercially available straws are typically made ofnickel silver, called alpacastainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa; while in Brazil, it has the specific name of cuia, or also cabaça (the name for Indigenous-influenced calabash gourds in other regions of Brazil, still used for general food and drink in remote regions). Even if the water is supplied from a modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias

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