How to Brew Yerba Mate

There’s a rich, earthy charm to yerba mate. This traditional South American drink offers an invigorating boost akin to coffee but without the jitters. Let’s journey together through this guide on how to brew yerba mate in several ways – from using tea bags to the traditional method of using a gourd and bombilla.

Yerba mate

How to Make Yerba Mate Using Tea Bags

Brewing yerba mate using tea bags is a convenient, quick, and straightforward method that allows you to enjoy this traditional South American beverage anytime, anywhere.

  1. Fill a kettle with water and bring it to a near boil, ideally around 185°F (85°C). Too hot, and it can make the tea taste bitter.
  2. Place your yerba mate tea bag in a cup or mug.
  3. Pour the hot water into the cup, ensuring the tea bag is fully submerged.
  4. Let it steep for about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
  5. Remove the tea bag and enjoy your yerba mate as it is, or add honey, sugar, or a splash of lemon if you prefer.

How to Make Loose-Leaf Yerba Mate

Preparing loose-leaf yerba mate allows you to control the intensity of your brew, offering a richly flavored cup full of earthy goodness.

  1. Boil your water to roughly 185°F (85°C). Remember, the water should not be too hot.
  2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf yerba mate into a tea infuser or tea ball.
  3. Place the infuser into your cup or mug.
  4. Pour your hot water over the infuser, allowing it to steep for about 5 minutes.
  5. After steeping, remove the infuser and enjoy your drink. Feel free to add sweeteners or citrus as you wish.

How to Prepare Yerba Mate With a Gourd and Bombilla (Traditional Method)

The traditional method of preparing yerba mate with a gourd and bombilla offers a unique cultural experience that infuses every sip with centuries-old South American tradition.

  1. Fill your gourd about two-thirds full with yerba mate.
  2. Tilt your gourd slightly so the yerba mate shifts to one side, creating a slope.
  3. Pour a little cold water into the space on the lower side to moisten the leaves. This step will protect the mate leaves from losing vital nutrients and flavor when hot water is added.
  4. Insert the bombilla (metal straw) into the lower part of the gourd.
  5. Gently pour in the hot water (185°F / 85°C), not exceeding the top level of the mate.
  6. Allow it to steep briefly, and then enjoy your traditional brew.

How to Brew Yerba Mate in a French Press

If you’re a fan of French Press coffee, you’ll be pleased to know that you can use the same tool to brew a perfectly steeped cup of yerba mate.

  1. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf yerba mate into the French press.
  2. Pour your near-boiling water into the French press to cover the yerba mate.
  3. Give it a gentle stir, then let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. Slowly press down the plunger, ensuring not to rush the process.
  5. Pour your brewed yerba mate into a cup and enjoy!

How to Make Iced Yerba Mate

An iced yerba mate is a fantastic and easy-to-make option for those hot summer days or when you’re just in the mood for a refreshing twist on your beverage.

  1. Follow the steps for brewing loose-leaf yerba mate or using tea bags, but double the amount of yerba mate for a more potent brew.
  2. After brewing, let the tea cool to room temperature.
  3. Once cooled, pour the yerba mate over a glass full of ice.
  4. You can add sweeteners, lemon slices, or even a touch of mint to add a refreshing twist to your iced yerba mate.

Best Yerba Mate to Try

We’ve sampled many yerba mate teas, ranging from robust to mild, suitable for beginners. These include both smoked and unsmoked variants, each hailing from different countries of origin, like Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. If you’re seeking some excellent options, these are the best yerba mate teas available on the market.

Final Thoughts

Yerba mate is not just a beverage but a testament to an enduring cultural tradition. Its flexibility in brewing methods makes it a fascinating drink to experiment with and enjoy.


Is It Ok to Drink Yerba Mate Every Day?

Yes, drinking yerba mate every day is generally considered safe. However, just like other caffeinated drinks, moderation is key. As a rule of thumb, consuming up to 3 cups of yerba mate per day is typically deemed safe for most individuals.

Is Yerba Mate Healthier Than Coffee?

Yerba mate and coffee both have their health benefits. Yerba mate is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, can boost energy, and improve mental focus. Unlike coffee, yerba mate provides a balanced energy boost without the common “jitters” or sleep disturbances associated with coffee. However, individual responses can vary. Here’s a detailed comparison of yerba mate and coffee.

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