There is a lot of confusion and poor documentation surrounding the proper preparation of Yerba Maté, I would like to share my method here. I'm not saying that my method is the perfect method and all others are wrong. I can only share what I know and use, and that I like it and it works well. I prefer using the traditional method using the Gourd and Bombilla (the Metal Filtered Straw), but there are many, many ways to prepare Maté.
- Boil Water
- Clean out yesterday's gourd. (Sad, but very true step to my method)
- Pour water into thermos, adding cold water to get the desired temp. I usually test this by putting my finger in to get an idea. I've also found out the I like water at about 150° F/65° C by using an Espresso Thermometer
- Put loose Yerba Maté into gourd, my favorite Maté being Cruz de Malta
- Shake Maté so that it creates an opening to the bottom of the gourd, then put the bombilla all the way to the bottom, then "fold" the Maté over the bombilla. This method is better seen than described, so I posted a quick video on YouTube, which can be viewed below.
- Pour cold water into the gourd. Let it soak in. Sip the gourd dry. The cold water prevents the hot water from "shocking" the nutrients from the tea.
- Pour hot water from the thermos into the gourd, making sure to pour the water onto the bombilla, so that it slides down it and into the gourd. This is better than pouring the water directly onto the herb as that will create a micro-splash-crater and disturb the herb. This first sip will be an inconsistent temp as it will still be grabbing some of the cold water. Only the 2nd or maybe the 3rd fill will be a good indicator of the temperature that the rest of the people enjoying the Maté will be experiencing. As the person preparing the Maté session, known as the servador, you are responsible for making sure that everything is of high quality for your guests, and that they will not be burning their tongues.
- Fill the gourd, point the bombilla towards the recipient, let them enjoy the entire gourd, then they hand it back to you, the servador, then you fill it again, handing it to the next person enjoying the session with you.