Yerba mate Terminology

Yerba mate in Gourd

When you’ll start drinking mate and get to know the culture around it, you’ll hear many expressions that will be new to you. Yerba mate has a long interesting history and many different ways of consuming it. It is a South American drink so the terminology is mainly Spanish or Portugese. Drinking Yerba mate will improve your well-being and your Spanish and Portugese vocabulary.



Mate Amargo is mate that has no additives such as lemon, agave, liquid sugar, sugar, etc. It is a straight up mate. That makes it possible for you to enjoy the mate’s sweet and natural bitter flavors.


A common kind of wood, which is also referred to as carob, that is used in Argentina for making reddish-brown mate gourds.



A metal straw that has a filter on the end that is traditionally used for drinking mate from the gourd. They are available in various shapes and sizes – curved, short and long. Bombillas have a filter located on the bottom. This helps prevent yerba from getting in mouth.


Maschine to impart smokey, woodsy flavor from toasted Yerba mate.



Coarsely ground cut of newly dried yerba mate tender stems and leaves that are prepared for aging following the first milling.


The individual who prepares the mate and serves it. Every time someone has finished their mate, within a traditional mate circle, the cebador (server) has the gourd passed back to him directly. Then only he passes on the mate to the next individual.


The sound coming from bombilla when Yerba mate gourd is empty.

Cimarrones (Spanish) / Cimarrao (Portugese)

Also known as mate amargo (bitter), without any sugar. Basic, natural mate. It is the Gaucho way of consuming Yerba mate.


Yerba mate prepared with tea bags.



Refers to mate without stems. Synonym for “despalada” is also “sin palos”.


Dulce in spanish means sweet. Mate Dulce refers to the fact that sugar has been added to the mate by el cebador (server).



A country person, experienced in the traditional cattle ranching work. Gauchos are basically South American cowboys. They are known as brave, noble and generous. Drinking strong Yerba mate is being their daily routine.


Dried and hollowed calabash (part of the squash family) cup for drinking Yerba mate from. The gourd si also known as a guampa or a mate. There are specific names in Brasil: cuia or cabaça.


Yerba mate cup made from hollowed horn and used to drink cold Yerba mate beverage known as terere.



The state of clarity and well-being after consuming Yerba mate.



These are small stems that get added to the mate in order to enhance the flavor. It makes mate smoother and sweeter. More stems added to mate is more likely to prevent bombilla from clogging.


Sin Palos

Mate ‘Sin Palos’ does not contain stems. Without stems Yerba mate is stronger, since most of nutrients and caffeine is in the leaves.



When bombilla is clogged and it is impossible to sip the Yerba from a gourd.


Cold mate beverage usually sipped from Guampa. Terere is a typical method to consume Yerba mate in Paraguay.

Tomando Mate

Spanish expression that means drinking mate.


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