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Yerba mate bombilla is a special filtering straw, a tube ending with a strainer, which separates the grounds of the yerba mate from the brew. It is placed in the vessel filled with yerba mate – best done before adding the water. This will avoid clogging of the strainer. Although some people refer to bombilla as a “yerba mate spoon”, we recommend that you do not move it like a spoon in a cup of tea. Bombilla is not for stirring the brew, but for drinking mate through it. The most popular models of bombillas are made of stainless steel or alpaca, a high-quality metal alloy called also “nickel silver” or “new silver”. Most of them are equipped with a “teaspoon” filter for comfortable drinking of most types of dried mate. However, if you prefer yerba mate with a very fine texture, a special, accurately filtering yerba mate straw, such as the "Bomba" model, will come in handy. Whichever bombilla you choose, if you look after it properly, it will certainly last for many years.

Yerba mate bombilla in the past. How did the Guarani Indians drink yerba mate?

The properties of Ilex paraguariensis, the plant from which yerba mate is made, were discovered by the Guarani Indians, who inhabited areas of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina in South America. Initially, they chewed the raw leaves of the plant, which increased their ability to concentrate before hunting. Sometimes they also poured water over the crushed leaves of the plant and filtered the brew thus made through their teeth. Later, they began to use bamboo or cane yerba mate straws, pierced at one end. The predecessor of the bombilla we know today was called “takuapý” in the Guarani language. After the colonisation of Latin America, the bamboo yerba mate straw was replaced by a metal one, made of brass or alpaca. It was more durable and practical to use. It filtered better, did not rot as quickly as a natural cane or bamboo bombilla, and did not transfer the taste and smell of the brew.

Bombilla – yerba mate straw

The word “bombilla” comes from the Spanish language, which is used on a daily basis by people in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is a diminutive of the word “bomba”, which means pump. In Spanish, the word “bombilla” also has a second meaning – a bulb. Bombilla has three parts:

  • a flattened mouthpiece through which the yerba mate enters the mouth,
  • a narrow tube – usually straight or slightly curved. Sometimes beautiful, richly decorated; fancifully twisted bombillas can also be found. The filtered brew flows through the tube and into the mouth,
  • a filter with holes, which, when inserted into the vessel, separates the grounds from the drink, preventing the small parts of the leaves and twigs from getting into the brew we consume. Depending on the type of bombilla, filters can come in different shapes. Flat filters, shaped like a small spoon, are the most common. Slightly larger, flat and round filters are found in Brazilian “bomba”, which aim to better filter the very dusty chimarrão. Spring-loaded bombillas are also common, ending in a spring-shaped filter. It is less accurate than the “teaspoon” filter, so it is suitable for coarse-cut dried chimarrão, with little dust. A less well-known type of filter is that used in cylinder bombillas. They resemble spring bombillas in appearance, but instead of a spring-like filter, they have a fine, perpendicular cut at one end.

Some bombillas can be unscrewed, separating each part. This makes them much easier to wash. Bombillas fitted with one or more cooling rings, placed on the yerba mate tube, are also popular. Their function is to cool slightly the liquid that goes from the vessel, through the tube and mouthpiece into the mouth of the mate drinker. The yerba mate bombilla is usually about 15-20cm long. You can also find slightly shorter ones – for smaller calabashes – as well as longer ones. In fact, the length of the bombilla does not matter. It is just important that it is not too short for your mate gourd.

What is the bombilla made of?

Bombillas, or "yerba mate straws", can be made from many different materials, on which their appearance, durability, convenience of use and, above all, price depend. The materials most commonly used to make bombillas are:

  • bamboo – this is a plant with woody stems that, like reeds or straw, resemble tubes. Simply drill tiny holes in them, creating a natural filter. The bamboo yerba mate straw has its advantages and disadvantages. It is cheap and you can actually make one yourself. On the other hand, however, it is quite perishable and wears out quickly. Bamboo is an organic material that easily takes on flavours and aromas from infusions and the additives they contain. If left in a leftover brew, it can rot when exposed to moisture, and cracks can appear on it when exposed to hot temperatures;
  • stainless steel – bombillas made from this material often have the term "inox" in their name, from the French word "inoxydable", which means "non-oxidising". It is a metal alloy of iron, carbon, chromium and nickel. It was patented in 1912 and was initially only used for cutlery. Stainless steel does not rust – it is resistant to corrosion, as well as to high temperatures, so you can use items made from it in hot brews without fear. It is durable – cutlery made from it can last for many years. The advantage of bombillas made of stainless steel is also their aesthetic, shiny appearance and price – they are relatively inexpensive;
  • nickel-plated steel – nickel plating involves coating steel products with a layer of nickel. It is an inexpensive and impressive way to protect a steel object from corrosion and give an aesthetic appearance. Such bombillas are very common and cheap, but are not as durable as those made of stainless steel or silver. The nickel layer wears off over time. In addition, some people are allergic to nickel;
  • alpaca – is also called “new silver” or “German silver”. It resembles silver, but is actually an alloy of the metals: copper, nickel and zinc. Because of alpaca's resemblance to precious metal, a bombilla made from it looks much better than one made from stainless steel. It is also durable and resistant to corrosion. However, the disadvantage of such bombillas is their rather high price;
  • silver – bombillas made of silver are beautiful and elegant, but also very expensive and exclusive. They are often beautifully decorated. Silver has been used for jewellery, cutlery and crockery since ancient times. It has antibacterial properties, as Hippocrates already wrote about. The Phoenicians in turn stored water, wine and vinegar in vessels made of silver. During World War I, silver compounds were used to prevent infections, and today silver is used to coat surgical instruments.

Bombilla for yerba mate – is it essential for drinking?

Many of you are wondering how to start your yerba mate adventure. No wonder. The naturally energising brew is an increasingly popular alternative to coffee. What does it take to drink yerba mate? With such a wide selection of the best yerba mate and accessories in front of them, beginners can get a little lost. In fact, it's really easy! You don't need expert knowledge of the subject to enjoy energising infusions made of Ilex paraguariensis. Is the bombilla an essential accessory for yerba mate? It is certainly the most essential. It separates the brew from the grounds, allowing you to drink yerba mate comfortably. Alternatively, you can replace the bombilla with a French press brewer. However, we recommend this solution only in emergency situations. Then, we miss the pleasure of preparing mate tea according to the traditional ritual. In a wooden or ceramic calabash and through the bombilla placed inside, yerba mate infusion tastes definitely the best!

Bombilla for yerba mate – which one to choose?

Yerba mate is an important part of our lives, so we are delighted to unveil to you the richness of the world of Latin drinks. What to choose? Which bombilla will be the best for beginners and which one for advanced users? You will find the answers to these questions on the website of our yerba mate shop. In the trend towards a healthy lifestyle and organic diet, yerba mate is triumphing. People with mate gourds and bombillas in hands are increasingly spotted in public spaces. Our online yerba mate shop knows well how to satisfy the needs of infusion lovers. We offer the highest quality yerba mate straight from renowned South American producers. You will also find the necessary accessories here. We have everything that even the most particular yerba mate lover could want!

Where to buy bombillas for yerba mate? Types and price

The yerba mate shop boasts a wide selection of bombillas. Beginners will certainly appreciate the wooden and stainless steel, spoon and spring type bombillas. They are characterised by high quality workmanship and low price. Among the high-end products, alpaca bombillas are worthy of interest. Alpaca is a high-grade stainless metal alloy with high resistance to oxidation. The shop is a guarantee of favourable prices, professional service and excellent quality of the products on sale. Our bombillas guarantee comfortable sipping of the brew regardless of the circumstances. Not sure what to choose? Do you want to know which bombilla is the best for beginners? Are you interested in several products and wondering which decision to make? No worries. When in doubt, the customer service department of our online yerba mate shop is at your service! Customer satisfaction is our mission. We will make every effort to make your transaction a pure pleasure. Have a fruitful shopping experience at!