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Mate: How to prepare and prime. Bitter and sweet Mate

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Mate: How to prepare and prime. Bitter and sweet Mate

It must be made clear that the word "mate" is called the drink itself and the container that is prepared, with "Yerba Mate" or "Yerba" is appointed to the ground plant used for the infusion.

There is no schedule or time of day when you cannot take a mate, for breakfast, eating something, alone, watching television, reading a book before, during and after surf, afternoon, evening, with friends. But it is not a drink and nothing more, the mate is passion, it's art, friendship... The most common way is by taking a round of friends, where everyone takes turns, and whose order of their location on this wheel or the order of arrival should be respected as an acquired right.

Terminology used about mate

  • Yerba Mate: The name of the herb used to make mate. Its scientific name is Ilex paraguariensis.
  • Mate: The name of the container used to serve / priming infusion. It also is the name given to the infusion ready.
  • Prime: is the action of the preparation and service mate.
  • Primer: person who prepares and serves mate.

Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) 

When the Spaniards came to America they found many new things such as potato, maize, tomato, cassava and the "yerba". They learned from the native inhabitants of America (the Spaniards called them Indians) to drink this infusion and caused them a surprise how many times they used per day. In the beginning it was prohibited, punishable with "excommunication" by the Jesuit priests. It is claimed that this drink made from "herbal"  roots was the ruin of this land, because weak, lazy, without honor ....people took it, referring to it as a service.

The first reference to the use of YERBA - MATE on these lands comes from Hernando Arias de Saavedra (Hernandarias) in 1592. As observed by and reported by Ruiz Diaz de Guzman in the book "A Brief History of Conquer stages" (1612), the Indians, in addition to weapons, had small leather bags (Guayacán) in which leaves were crushed and roasted to make mate stands that chewed or placed in a gourd with water and drank either using their teeth as a filter or through a tube of cane.

All this happened in the territories now covered by part of Paraguay and the Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones. This was the area par excellence of Yerba Mate. The Spaniards began to drink the beverage in a container of thick lips called "Bernegal" which drank in paragraph form using a spoon with holes, through which separated water from the leaves.

It was accepted as a stimulant beverage, like tea, where the most important city of Asunción added to the diet. As the grass had to be harvested in the Province of Misiones and the interior of Paraguay, in the "Green Hell", the Jesuits decided to put plantings in more accessible places.

In present, mate is consumed in much in South America: Southwestern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and parts of Bolivia. As the largest producer and consumer worldwide we have Argentina. Although per capita consumption in Uruguay is more than Argentina.

Priming mate

Anyone can help or have a mate but it is not so easy to find good primers of mate. Mate is considered good when the person who "makes or serves" manage to stay in good shape for a time, i.e., a good primer.

Unlike tea, prime mate is not just pouring hot water to mate, but keeping it nice to be taken. This work, in colonial times, was reserved for servants specialized in primers for the mate. Even today, among the gauchos and muleteers or among a group of friends, in a machine shop, office or a bank, there is always someone who specializes in doing so.

For those usual users, a badly primed mate is almost an insult. It is not uncommon to hear words, while the mate returned, "No, this mate is for Americans" as attributing that nationality has to do with it.

Ways of taking a mate can be without sugar, which is called "bitter" or green. "Sweet Mate" is one that has sugar. The “terere" is primed with cold water.

Preparing mate

Bitter Mate:

  1. Fill mate with yerba (mate container used for bait) to 2 / 3 of capacity. Overturn the mate on the palm of your hand and shake it gently. This operation is for the grass get finer (powder) remaining in the area.
  2. Put mate again to its normal position very slowly, taking care that the yerba has been to one side of the mate.
  3. Pour warm water on the empty part of the mate. Allow absorbing (2 minutes). Repeat the operation with the water a little hotter, let the leaves absorb again.
  4. This is when you enter the bulb to the bottom side in the nearly empty. From this

moment the mate is being done without boiling water.

As sticks begin to appear floating (matte wash) good primer replaces part of the herb.

Sweet Mate:

It proceeds in the same way as the bitter but adding a teaspoon of sugar for each mate.

Nutritional properties of yerba mate 

The beneficial and therapeutic effects of yerba mate, verified after centuries of observation and use, were confirmed today by numerous scientific studies.

In terms of its chemical properties, yerba mate is similar to green tea, though much more nutritious. Significant amounts of potassium, sodium, magnesium and manganese are present in the leaves and the infusion (Tenorio Sanz & Torija Isasa 1991). Also present are vitamins B-1, B-2, C, A, riboflavin, carotene, choline, pantothenic acid, inositol and 15 types of amino acids (F. Alikaridis 1987).

The existence of eleven polyphenols (Kawakami & ; A. Kabayashi 1991) is one component that makes the yerba mate being very healthy. Recent study in the U.S. indicate that polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that improve the body's natural defenses and protect against cell destruction that causes the body to deteriorate and develop symptoms of disease (Jean Carper 1988).

The matein, the chemical family of xanteines, is also typical of the yerba mate. Its chemical structure is similar to that of caffeine, but with different effects on the body. While matein as caffeine is a stimulant of the nervous system and a promoter of mental activity is different in the latter that does not to interfere with sleep patterns. And unlike other xanteines, the matein is also a mild diuretic.

Regarding the effects of yerba mate, there are also behavioral changes such as increased energy and vitality, increased ability to concentrate, decreased anxiety and increased resistance to physical and mental fatigue. An improvement in mood, especially in cases of depression, often result from the consumption of this product. (D. Mowrey 1991). Apart from providing essential minerals to the body such as potassium, sodium and magnesium, yerba mate retards the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles. This makes it an excellent natural energizer for people that practice sports or other physical activities (D. Mowrey 1991).


Although hard to believe, mate may vary depending on taste and the way of priming, therefore will be different if we change from a primer.

First we must put yerba, we have a mate classic like "pore" (see types of mate) and fill up half of yerba, a little inclined, and on the side of the yerba that became deeper, moistened with hot water until it swells a little below the yerba, taking care not to wet the yerba surface of the bulb and nailed to the bottom, an act called "saddle" must take into account to achieve all the procedure.

If we straighten out the mate we see the yerba is still dry on top, then we can start right wetting well the bulb, trying to wet the yerba from the bottom up... and ready! Now we meditate what we do: taking the first mate or giving as an act of gratitude to a comrade, we must bear in mind that it may be very hot and as it is the first, the yerba is strong, bitter and may have some soil that the second mate won’t have, this depends on who we have next to feel the affection.

Another tip that can be useful before wetting grass for the first time, we cover the mate, turn and shake a little, this way we get only the yerba sieving and finer remaining in the surface soil of the grass is our best and sticks with the rest of the grass to fit to the bottom of the mate, getting the maximum flavor and reduces the probability that the bulb is clogged.

The mate 

The mate is the container where you put all the ingredients and the bulb to enjoy a delicious infusion of yerba, it is worth the redundancy.

There are several types of mate, which is made from a gourd that is called mate and then the drink takes its name, is the most distinctive, with that peculiar form.
It also available wood, porcelain, metal, inlaid with silver and some may come wrapped in leather, with coarse stitching.

The most important thing to remember is the curing mate, there are many ways to do this but all are similar and overlap at certain points and goals. The main thing is to be done to get any flavor that may bring mate, we will also prepare curing the inside wall of the mate for their future use and prevent the formation of odors.

First wash it again and again using only hot water, without adding anything more, until there is no other substance, dirt, smell, taste or color in the wastewater. Then fill with yerba mate and use and then repeat the process again by removing the yerba, but without rinsing, replace grass and use to make a day, thereby curing the material.

Since we are talking about sweet and bitter mate, we commented that although the traditional mate is bitter, you can add sugar, to sweeten a little, every two or three primes before putting water and the teaspoon should always fall on the edge of the trench in the bulb in the pot. They say that there is bound to mate sweet love and affection that the primer is who will take it, whereas if it is meant to be washed and is long contempt is not to say that never ends and has little yerba, we are showing a complete disregard for the individual.

In popular folklore, you may add other things to vary the taste of bitter mate, as orange, coffee, cinnamon and any herb flavor and a "strange side effects". In some cases it may even make to fall in love to the drinker's primer almost instantly.

The yerba

The yerba mate is the result of a rigorous development process that takes raw materials such as leaves of a tree, similar to the laurel, with its trunk gray, up to 50 cm. diameter and an average of 5 to 6 m. high, which leaves barely 10 cm. long and have serrated edge. It also features a bunch of long balls dark purple or violet, which are very small, no more and no less than the fruit of the tree, which carries within it seeds of a quatrain, where only one can get to germinate, slow process, reaching perhaps years, before they germinate.

The plant grows in woodlands and temperate forests and subtropical Misiones province, there is also the risk of rain, evenly throughout the year.

The Yerba Mate is a plant rich in vitamins, also stimulates muscle activity and lung and is able to intervene in regulating the heartbeat, increasing and decreasing blood pressure. Produces a feeling of well-being, intellectual lucidity and force, based on the presence of the alkaloids. It is diuretic, digestive and nutrient absorption improves the regulatory body in general all functions of assimilation. Alone can satisfy the minimum amounts needed by the body of vitamin C as can be seen below in its composition. Contrary to what many people say, the yerba does not produce acid.

Growing and manufacture 

It was the Jesuits who first cultivated yerba mate, back in the seventeenth century.

Harvesting is done after the plant reaches about 2 to 3 m. height, which is given to approximately 4 years old. It can be done either manually or mechanically, is to cut the branches with scissors, made between May and October. We must take care not to strip the tree of all its branches. Then comes the break, with the aim of transporting them to the place of development, discarding the thicker branches and separating the leaves that are damaged or uprooted. One plant can achieve in 20 to 30 kg. of leaves.

Without wasting time and not leaving to spend more than 24 hours beginning with the development, which consists in subjecting the steam and heat from the fire for a few seconds, finishing well with the unwanted substances and allowing for retains the characteristic green.

Later we dry for the following 24 hours and the yerba is exposed to heat to remove moisture to less than 10% this is where it loses a large amount of weight, being about one fifth of the total leaves collected.

After being dried in order to facilitate their transport and bagging end. When this is finished grinding, it is the raw material from pockets. We now turn to park, where we will stop bagging stand between nine months and one year at least for a proper use.

To go now finalizing the design, it arrives at the mill, which consists of crushing and shaking of the entire product for the purpose of sorting, cleaning and separating different types of yerba, according to its quality, origin and varying contents of sticks or thick leaves. In conclusion we can only packaging, which takes place on the packaging that we already know, classic 1 / 2 kg. and 1 pound, made by any modern mechanical packaging and fast like the whole mate industry reviewed here, enjoying a convenient and effective modernization.


Water must be hot, so it takes the kettle, metal container with a handle over the hole filling water and a pouring spout, prepared specially to be leaning over the bait and being able to prepare mate successfully.

By heating the water, you must be careful not to let it boil, it is advisable to remove it before that happens.

It is also possible that after we heat the water, and in order to last longer the heat, we transfer to a container, which makes sure that the temperature of our mate will be at their fair from start to finish, you must take into account the thermal peak, as some may come with a nozzle that not very comfortable at the time of priming.


Nozzles vary by more than their style, aesthetics and design as play a vital role, taking the mate infusion from the mouth. It's always a metal tube (though made of cane as well) about 15 to 20 cm. long, with a nozzle on the end that pose the mouth, and a cap at the other end with many very small holes, smaller than the size of the milling of the yerba mate, where the water enters. This ultimately goes into the pot at the bottom of the mate.

The nozzle takes different forms, in some cases try to encourage the saddle and the position of mate. The mouthpiece comes with a slight piece to enhance suction.

An advice, every time you can clean the nozzle (those that allow it) unscrewing the cap, and cleaning well, because in the narrow stretch often stacked residual yerba stays, On the other hand can cover the small entry holes and clog up the nozzle completely.

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2 Reviews about Mate: How to prepare and prime. Bitter and sweet Mate
on 18/06/2014
I am from Argentina and everybody drinks mate here except from me. I don't hate it but I prefer tea or coffee. Great drink among friends meetings.
on 10/03/2014
Let me tell you that the mate is one of my favorite drinks but if you repeat and repeat the same over and over it bothers me a lot, this article is very long and if you notice the explanation on how making mate is the same, you can summarize that, note that nobody maintain the attention so long

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