This method is very simple and is the most popular way to make mate. It is a daily social habit in South America, especially in Argentina where it is consumed from three to five times per day. Mate gourd and bombilla straw are essential for traditional yerba mate preparation. Bombilla is a straw with a hollow, filtered bottom. It filters liquid from yerba mate. This allows the drinker to extract all the nutrients possible. Mate gourd is a cup that can be made from hollow calabash, metal, wood, ceramic or horn. Organically grown yerba mate is one of better options on market to prepare proper mate.

How to prepare Yerba mate Traditionally - Organic Mate Infographic

Share this Image On Your Site


Not only in South America, but also in Syria and Lebanon, Yerba mate is very popular. Syria was ranked as the number one importer of mate. Arabic immigrants that have returned home from South America in the beginning of the twentieth century adopted and kept the habit.


In order to brew yerba mate in the traditional method, you will need:
  • La yerba mate
  • Bombilla straw
  • Mate gourd
  • Hot water (140 – 160 degrees Fahrenheit / 60 – 70 degrees Celsius)
  1. Take the gourd and fill it up to about one-half to two-thirds with a loose Yerba mate.
  2. Place your hand on top of the gourd and shake it. This helps to redistribute powdered herb to the top in order to prevent clogging of bombilla straw. Shake the gourd to get the herb leaning against one side of the gourd to create a pit.
  3. Turn the gourd on its side and fill the vacant space with cool water. Wait until the herb becomes moist and insert bombilla at an angle into the deepest part of the gourd. With pouring of a small amount of cold water we achieve integrity of the mate and we awake the herb. Extracting more nutrients will lead us to get the best out of the many benefits of Yerba mate.
  4. Next, pour not boiling hot water into mate gourd. Boiling water makes mate taste bitterer than it should be. Leave it steep for a few minutes

VIOLA! Sip mate beverage from the bombilla straw and try not to stir the herb. Jiggling of the straw will allow to clog bombilla and will let herb into it. Drink mate until bombilla gurgles and optionally refill the gourd with hot water. Keep refilling until bubbles no longer form on top of the beverage. This is an indicator that the tea ran out of many nutrients.


There is one other factor that is very important while drinking mate in the traditional way. To make it even more enjoyable, it is best to share it with family or a group of friends. Encourage yourself to take on the role of El Cebador and be the one in your group of friends to pour the water and pass the brew around. It is very important to pass the gourd with the same bombilla straw to one person at a time and allow them to empty the cup. It can be refilled up to 10 times.

A good Cebador has to maintain the freshness of the brew by adding more yerba mate when needed. Before becoming a real El Cebador, it is highly recommended to become familiar with “yerba mate vocabulary.” If you are not in the role of the Cebador, you should indicate that you have had enough of the infused drink by giving thanks to the server, but only after your last sip.

Do not forget to clean the gourd after you are done. Leave it to dry out properly. Since mate cups are made from organic materials, they may rot and affect the taste.

How to make yerba mate

Freshly brewed yerba mate.



If you dislike the taste of traditionally brewed mate, you can always add some lemon, lime and pineapple juice, or warm milk or coconut milk. Add a bit of honey or sugar to make it sweeter. You can also try adding larger additives, like mint leaves, chamomile, cinnamon sticks, diced fresh ginger roots, tulsi, Roooibos, stevia leaf or licorice root. By experimenting, you’ll definitely find a flavor that will suit you. There are many other ways to make Yerba mate beverage suitable to you.


Mate gourds made out of calabash or wood should be cured before being used for the first time. Curing is not necessary, although it is highly recommended. Fill a new cup with yerba mate up to the middle and then pour the hot water. Leave the mate cup standing for at least 24 hours. Curing removes the soft interior skin and “essences” the inside of the mate gourd.

Share this article on Social Media