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I've seen different videos on how to make a perfect cup of mate. After putting loose tea in the gourd, some people cover the gourd and shake it upside down, some people shake it on its side, some people don't shake it at all. This is all in an effort to move the smaller bits (after you've right the gourd back up) to the top, so that when you insert the bombilla (metal straw with tiny holes at the bottom), the smaller bits won't be sucked up.

What is the proper way?

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The proper way:

1) Put the bombilla into the gourd.

2) Put the mate in the gourd.

3) Invert, shake vigorously, revert. If possibe, make a small "mountain top" on the oposite side where the bombilla enters the mate tea.

4) Add a small amount of cold water (this isn't necessary--as I understand, this step helps to keep from burning the mate, which can also be accomplished by using water under 180℉~82℃), wait for a few minutes, until the mate absorbs the water.

5) Add hot water, drink.

6) Repeat step 5.

Don't move the bombilla while drinking, as this will cause you to stir up little bits. Inverting and shaking isn't necessary if the mate is of high quality (low dust). You can make mate to low dust by putting it in a metal sieve and shaking. Save the dust and small leaves that fall out--they can be used to brew mate in a coffee pot.

It is also worth noting that you can brew mate in a coffee pot or a french press and achieve similar results, although the resulting beverage isn't quite the same as drinking from the bombilla.

Also, the second most common way to prepare it is like plain tea: put some mate tea in a paper bag and steep with hot water for several minutes. This is called mate cocido (cooked mate) and is not uncommon to offer it to children.

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My brother has mixed Mate and Coffee in a french press, I don't quite remember if he wanted to do it again. –  Tim Lytle Sep 8 '10 at 15:29
    
It's bombilla, double l. :-) –  CesarGon Jan 2 '12 at 16:05
    
@CesarGon Fixed! –  J.A.I.L. Jun 19 '13 at 13:07
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I dont know how you are choosing to define the "proper way" but here is my answer

My understanding is that there are two things you are avoiding when making the matte the first is is the bomba getting gunked up with the herb and the second is excessive bitterness

You avoid the first by making sure that the mate is correctly packed into the gourd. There are many ways to do this and I beleive this is where all the shaking techniques you mentioned come from. I do this by first adding a little cold water to the herb (enough to just get it wet) and pressing it into one side of the gourd with a spoon. If this is done right the herb will stay put when you pour in hot water and all you have to do is make sure the bomba sits on the empty side. This should be enough to ensure that it doesnt get stuck although it is important not undo the packing by mistake.

The second is avoided by basically not drinking the matte untill it has had a bit of its flavour washed out. I generally do this by making the first cup or two and spitting it out. I do this by preparing the matte normally but some members of my family tell me that this can be done with cold water too (Probably much easier).

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Mate = the ritual

Mate = also means the gourd or wooden cup you use

Yerba = the ground up tea

bombilla = metal straw

termo = thermos with hot water, not boiled

  1. Fill the mate with yerba about 3/4 of the way
  2. Place hand over the mate and shake anyway you would like. The goal is to remove the dust because the straw will not be able to filter this out.
  3. Fill the mate with a small amount of water on one side and pack the yerba into one side creating a 1/4 empty space
  4. Pour water into the empty 1/4 and insert bombilla covering the top to prevent tea or water from entering (just like cover a regular straw and inserting into a cup to prevent liquid from entering)
  5. The "servidor" is the person in charge of serving the mate. This person takes the first cup and tests the water temp, rids the cup and bombilla of any dust or bits of yerba that go through the bombilla the first sips. *Note- it is an insult if you are to pass the first testing round to a guest.
  6. Each mate full of water is per person. A good servidor will pour water over only part of the dry section of tea in order to allow each person a tasty mate.
  7. Continue serving, wetting more and more of the dry tea section each serving until all is wet and the taste begins to wither.

Video Reference: How to prepare and serve mate correctly

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