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Alternative ways of brewing yerba mate

Alternative ways of brewing yerba mate

Wondering how to brew yerba mate without having a mate gourd or bombilla? Imagine going on holidays and forgetting to bring the necessary accessories with you. What to do? Don't worry! We have some ways to help you brew yerba mate in an alternative way!


  1. Brewing and drinking yerba mate - alternatives
  2. A cup or a glass for yerba mate. How can you brew yerba mate in a regular mug?
  3. How do you drink yerba mate traditionally?
  4. Drink yerba mate the way you like it!

Brewing and drinking yerba mate - alternatives

Traditionally, yerba mate is drunk in a special vessel. The most popular ones are those made of wood, ceramic or calabash fruit. However, this doesn't mean that if you don't have a special gourd, you have to deny yourself drinking yerba mate! There are plenty of alternative ways to brew yerba mate without mate gourd and bombilla. You can use a regular cup, a glass, a French press or a teapot.

French press for yerba mate

The French press is a very good idea for brewing yerba mate if you don't have the right equipment to do so. With this device, you can successfully pour in much more of the dried product than with a tea infuser. Ideally, you should pour in about 1/4 of the capacity of the vessel (assuming it is about 1L). This is the ideal portion for those starting their yerba mate adventure. The disadvantage of this method is that mate tea that is poured in this way stays in the French press for a long time (until the next refill of the cup). This makes it more bitter and much stronger. This method and the capacity of the press is ideal for two people. You will brew two portions of yerba, which will be poured almost immediately into the mugs. If you want to brew mate just for yourself, it is better to use a smaller French press. This avoids long brewing time.

Brewing yerba mate in french press

Yerba mate in a teapot

The concept of the teapot is very similar to the working of the French press. You pour in the appropriate amount of dried product and pour in water at a temperature of around 75 °C. You need to wait a while for yerba mate to infuse and then pour it into the mugs. The best way to do this is to use a strainer, which will allow you to filter the used mate leaves. Remember not to leave the dried product in the teapot for too long! Yerba mate brews all the time regardless of the temperature of the water, and thus becomes stronger.

Yerba mate in teabags

Mate in sachets is the simplest solution. You don't need a strainer or a French press - just a cup. Some say that mate in teabags is not real mate. It is much weaker than classic, loose leaf mate tea and much more delicate. Brewing this type of yerba mate has many advantages. It all depends on your expectations and needs.

Brewing yerba mate in teapot

A cup or a glass for yerba mate. How can you brew yerba mate in a regular mug?

You are just starting out on your yerba mate adventure. You've bought your first packet of mate, but you haven't yet had time to stock up on the special equipment. So you are wondering whether it is possible to prepare and drink yerba in an ordinary cup? Is it the right thing to do? Yerba mate is not prepared in the same way as tea, which you simply pour into a cup and pour water over it. The fine, dried leaves will stick to your teeth and irritate your throat. How do you brew yerba mate in a mug without choking on the tiny leaves and twigs of Ilex paraguariensis? It's simple! There are several ways to do it. Read the rest of the article!

How to infuse mate tea in a regular mug?

First way. You can use any ceramic mug or glass for drinking yerba mate and a tea infuser with fine meshes, through which the smallest parts of the dry Ilex paraguariensis leaves, sticks and dust will not pass. You can place the dried product in a safety pin-type tea infuser, in a large strainer-type infuser (such as this one) or in a convenient tea infuser with a chain (such as this one). Each of these tea infusers are large enough to accommodate the appropriate amount of dry ingredients. Place the dried yerba in a mug or a glass. Pour in water at a temperature of approximately 75 °C. It is a good idea to cover yerba mate for a few minutes. Do not put too much of the dried mate inside, as it will swell when the water is poured. This can cause the infuser to open up. To avoid brewing dust that you don't want in your drink, you can sieve the dried mate through a strainer before. How long should you brew yerba mate in a cup or glass? This all depends on how strong mate tea you want to drink. The longer the dried Ilex paraguariensis is steeped, the more intense the infusion will taste and the more stimulating it will be.

Second way. If you have already bought a bombilla, you can drink yerba mate in a regular cup just as you would do it with a special mate gourd. It doesn't really matter which vessel you use. How can you brew yerba mate in a mug in this way? Put a small amount of mate tea in the bottom of the mug (it's up to you how much you put in, but we recommend around 15g to start with - the more you put in, the stronger the mate will be), cover the mug with your palm, turn it upside down and shake it gently. This way, the dust and small parts of leaves and twigs will not clog the bombilla when you drink the infusion. Carefully tilt the mug back to its original position, and place it at a 45-degree angle so that the dried product “sits” on one side of the mug wall. Pour some cooled water into the mug, at a temperature of no more than 80 °C, aiming for the spot where the dried mate exposes the bottom of the mug. The most important rule is not to pour boiling water over the yerba mate - this can "scald" the dry Ilex paraguariensis leaves making the infusion bitter and very unpalatable. It's okay if you don't have a thermometer - just wait about 4-10 minutes after boiling the water until it has cooled down. The exact time depends on the material of the pot you are boiling the water in. If you don't want to wait, you can also mix boiling water with cool water, at room temperature. After pouring mate tea for the first time, wait until the dried leaves have absorbed the water and then top up with water to the full. Plug the opening of the bombilla with your thumb and place it in the cup. This way you will avoid clogging it. Do not stir the bombilla in the cup! Wait a few minutes (about 5-10 minutes) and you are done. You can pour yerba mate several times until it loses its flavour and strength.

Brewing yerba mate in a mug

How do you drink yerba mate traditionally?

Although it is possible to drink yerba mate in a regular mug, and it doesn't really matter what kind of vessel you use, we strongly recommend preparing it in a special "mug" for drinking mate tea, called mate gourd. It’s a rounded vessel whose characteristic shape allows the infusion to remain hot for longer. The word “mate” comes from the language of the Ketchua Indians. In their language, “mati” means a drinking vessel. Traditional mate gourds are made from wood - the most popular being palo santo or algarrobo. Another type of gourds are calabashes - made from the dried and hollowed fruit of the calabash. In Paraguay, mate gourd called guampa is used to drink tereré (a cold version of yerba mate) - an oblong vessel that is usually made from bovine horn. The most popular for their accessibility and ease of use are the gourds made of ceramic - they do not require any special preparation before the first use, they can be easily washed, they will not rot if you leave wet dried product in them and they are relatively cheap. In our shop you will find different types of yerba mate gourds.

Drink yerba mate the way you like it!

Remember that you can drink yerba mate any way you want. There is no one correct way to do it or any hard-and-fast rules you have to follow. Drinking yerba mate in a regular mug will not change its taste or properties, nor will it be less convenient, and you will not be committing any crime by doing so. Most of us have our own history of brewing our first yerba mate. Some have it yet to come. Sometimes the conditions can be quite challenging, so we hope we have helped you a little. Or do you have other ideas for alternative mate brewing? Share it with us!

Source of information: Yerba mate.


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