Ingredients: Green mate, from organic cultivation
Country of Origin: Brazil.
Antioxidant Level: Very High.
Caffeine Content: Medium.
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, GMO Free, No artificial colours or flavours.
Prep: 70-80°C - some tea per gourd - 3 mins or longer, but not too long. Brew repeatedly.
Description: Yerba Mate (pronounced mah-teh) is incredibly popular all over South America where you will see people walking around with Gourds full of leaves, silver straw poking out and a thermos of hot water for topping up. It is an inherently social drink. Designed to be passed around a group and shared with fine conversation and friendship. The idea is that you fill the gourd with leaves (and toppings like mint, lemon, smoke or honey) just once in the morning and keep sipping the tea all day. Giving you a trickle of caffeine rich hydration throughout the day.
If you are non native to South America and have not been brought up with this delicacy then it can take a bit of getting used to. It is a decidedly savoury brew and the first fill of the gourd is a little bitter. You can use a little honey to counteract this. It then softens out into a grassy slightly smokey flavour with just a hint of tobacco. Most similar to Chinese green teas like gunpowder and chun mee.
It's actually a type of holly bush and not technically a tea but has similar benefits and is a good source of antioxidants, micronutrients and caffeine. In 1964, the Pasteur Institute (a private French non-profit foundation) reported that yerba mate contains practically all the vitamins necessary to sustain life. There are very few plants in our world that come close to this plant in terms of nutritional value. For this reason, and the belief that it suppresses appetite it is often used as a fasting aid.
How to brew:
Ideally you need a bombilla and a gourd. You can make do with a mug for trying out purposes but you will need the bombilla for sure
Half fill your gourd with mate leaves
Place your hand firmly over the top and turn upside down and shake loose powder to the top where it won't block the bombilla.
Gently lean the gourd to one side so that the mate is all in one half of the gourd.
Add hot but not boiling water to the leaves and wait a moment for absorption.
Add your bomilla to the gourd and and extra toppings like honey, lemon or mint
Gently so as not to disturb the mate add the hot water ( 70-80 degrees C is perfect)
Sip away, add more water and toppings as needed.
Alternatively, you can use the loose leaf tea equipment you already have and add 1tsp per cup. Use 75 degree C water and brew for about 3 min. Add honey, mint, lemon of a touch of lapsang for added flavour.
Enjoy with friends, or perfect on your desk to sip all day.