Yerba Mate, a caffeinated South American plant, was first discovered by European explorers in 1592. Drinking Yerba Mate is believed to support long life and vitality and has become, in its native South America, a cultural tradition. The traditional Yerba Mate experience includes sitting around a circle, passing a cuia, or gourd, filled with Yerba Mate that each person sips from and then passes to the next person. While the tradition has ancient origins, the act of passing the gourd around a circle of friends is still practiced today by the people who currently inhabit the Guarani region. We believe you too can experience this rich cultural experience by utilizing our Yerba Mate cuia and bombilla. In doing so, you will become a true matero, or someone who enjoys drinking yerba mate, a true yerba mate connoisseur.
Traditional squash calabash gourds are mainly produced in Argentina. They have the unique ability to preserve the pleasantly intense flavor of mate tea, which makes them ideal for a traditional tea-drinking experience. Their efficacy is enhanced by their distinct shapes and sizes. A mate gourd, which can also be called a porongo or calabaza, comes from the Legendaria Vulgaris plant. These traditional mate gourds can be covered in either ceramic or leather and are often decoratively engraved to add meaning and importance.
Tips For Using a Gourd For Your Tea
It’s important to cure your gourd before you use it for the first time. Once you do this, you are ready to enjoy your tea using this ceremonial method designed to heighten your experience and promote the flavors within the tea. To cure a gourd, fill it halfway up with Yerba Mate leaves. Then, pour hot, but not boiling, water into the gourd until it is full. Let the gourd sit out for 24 hours. Check on your gourd occasionally and top it off with water as needed. After 24 hours, pour the contents out and rinse thoroughly. Important Note: Never pour boiling water into your gourd as it will cause it to crack and break and never use soap to clean it.
Another part of experiencing the history of drinking yerba mate from gourd includes the modern addition of a bombilla. This is a straw that you use to drink your mate. Its unique design prevents you from accidentally drinking in the stems and leaves of the plant. It also allows the hot water to cool and prevents you from getting a burn on either your throat or your mouth.
Helpful Note: There is a bit of a trick to the process of drinking yerba mate through a bombilla. Keep the straw as still as possible when drinking to prevent the filter from becoming clogged.
Hopefully, you will want to enjoy yerba mate as it was traditionally consumed by using both a gourd and a bombilla. This is our recommendation to experience the yerba mate flavors in their entirety. To use your yerba mate accessories, following the steps listed below:
- Place the bombilla into the empty gourd. Let the straw rest at an angle against the top of the gourd.
- Fill the gourd around ⅔ full of Yerba Mate leaves.
- Pour hot, but not boiling, water on top of the leaves and sip the tea through the bombilla.
- Refill and drink until the mate is not strong enough any longer. Be aware that your first few sips might allow a few leaves to come through, that’s okay. Once it seals as the mate expands around the bombilla, it will work perfectly.
Important Reminder: Although it has already been mentioned, it’s worth noting once more that it is imperative you do not use boiling water in your gourd as this can crack the gourd.
Enjoy a true South American cultural experience by using our Yerba Mate accessories.