Yerba tea is made from twigs and leaves of Ilex paraguariensis plants. These leaves are usually dried over-fired and steeped in a cup or pot of hot water. Traditionally, yerba tea is drunk from a gourd container and sipped through a metal type of straw with a filter on its end to separate the fragments of leaves. People believe that sharing this drink from the gourd signifies bonding and sharing. There are traditional ways on how to make yerba mate and this tea just like the commercially produced ones have rich health benefits. It contains some compounds that have a rich amount of nutrients and antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative damage and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Yerba tea has a lesser amount of caffeine compared to coffee but still more than you will get from your cup of tea. What this implies is that taking this tea increases the level of your energy and reduces the feeling of tiredness. Caffeine may also affect some of your brain’s signaling molecules that will ultimately benefit your mental health and focus. Another benefit that comes from the caffeine content yerba mate is improved contractions of muscle which enhances sport performance and decreases fatigue. Drinking yerba tea could help in preventing infections caused by fungi, parasites, and bacteria.
How to Make Yerba Mate Traditionally
There are different ways of preparing yerba mate. Traditionally, you can do it with tea bags, a french press, a coffee machine, and a strainer. It will not be surprising if other nationalities have devised new ways to prepare this tea. In fact, some replace gourds with regular cups or oranges, while some others mix the herbs with several other herbs.
Here are the three most practical traditional ways to make yerba mate tea;
1. Use a bombilla and gourd
While today a lot of people drink their yerba mate from glass cups, aluminum cans, and regular bottles, the traditional gourd yerba mate sucking method is still the best. It is a meditative and relaxing way that gives you a sense of tradition and sweetness. Imagine bonding with friends over a large gourd of yerba mate.
To make this you have to follow these steps;
- Get a gourd and add yerba mate loose leaf to fill two-thirds of the bottle. You can purchase your gourd from online stores or check the local market around you.
- Cover the gourd top and shake it well to get out the dust or powder. If you don’t do this well the bombilla will be clogged up.
- Pour cold water on the leaves, a small amount. This will help in protecting the nutrients as hot water drains the nutrients.
- Insert your bombilla flat over your leaves. While some people will rather do this as the last step, we think it’s better that you do It now to reduce the chances of the yerba falling into the entire gourd.
- Pour hot water on top and avoid getting your side dry leaves wet so it can still be used to make your mate stronger later. The water should be between eighty to a hundred degrees Fahrenheit or twenty-seven to thirty-eight degrees Celsius.
- Your tea is ready
2. Use a french press
If you want to do this and get over it quickly then maybe this is the method for you. It is super quick and simple.
- First, you have to fill up your press with yerba mate, three spoonfuls of it. It is okay to add more of it if you want it to be stronger.
- Add some cold water to cover the entire leaves. Avoid using hot water as this will drain away from the nutrients and may even burn the leaves.
- You can now add some hot water between eighty to hundred degrees Fahrenheit or twenty-seven to thirty-eight degrees from Celsius
- Allow it to stay still for about two minutes
- Use a plunger to push this down and pour it into any drinking apparatus you want
- Enjoy and don’t forget to share with some of your friends
3. Use a tea ball, strainer, or tea bags
You can prepare yerba mate using a strainer, tea ball, or tea bags in the same easy way as you use the french press. Although it is a little slower but still as simple. This method is more efficient than others because it can be made more promptly. You just have to carry your tea bags around and get ready to drop them into your cup when you want to.
Here is what you have to do;
- Buy your own tea bag, hundred bags are sold for about $6.
- Add your favorite yerba mate loose leaf in the bags
- Close it appropriately
- Use your tea bag in any favorite mug. Note that teabag yerba mate flavors may be a little different.
- Add some cold water first then add hot water in the amount you desire
- Steep it
- Sip it
- Enjoy it
If you are going to use a strainer then place about two to three teaspoons on the yerba leaves in the cup and add your cold water. After which you pour in your hot water over the leaves in a strainer to settle in your mug directly.
Some people prefer using coffee makers but they typically leave behind a faint taste of coffee flavor even if you make use of new filters.
If you are new to yerba mate, the strong herbal taste may not intrigue you and you might want to diffuse it with orange or lemon peels, sugar, herbs, or some things to make it taste better. Feel free to try out innovative ways yourself. As long as you are not chewing the leaves then you are generally safe.
Traditionalists may insist that there is only one method on how to make yerba mate, but don’t listen to them on it. It is the twenty-first century and things are getting more interesting.