Yerba mate is a traditional South American herbal tea, famous for its health benefits. It gives energy, can suppress the appetite, and is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Traditionally it is drunk from a hollowed gourd and sipped using a bombilla to filter out the tea leaves.
It is recommendable to cure your gourd before use to prevent splitting and improve flavour:
How do I cure my gourd? We recommend the following procedure to cure a mate: 1. Remove any debris With a natural gourd it is perfectly normal for there to be 'paper' like debris inside, and possibly some seeds (imagine that when growing, the gourd is like a pumpkin or butternut squash). The inside maybe slightly black. Wash out the gourd with warm water - no soap - and scrape the debris out with a spoon. If the gourd is a pear shaped one, DO NOT REMOVE THE 'BUD' - this will cause leakage. 2. Disinfect - optional Pass salt around the inside. The salt acts as a disinfectant. This step is also helpful for later on - if your gourd develops a mould you can remove and disinfect for peace of mind. 3. Cure Fill the gourd with old, used yerba tea leaves and leave for a few hours. If you don't have any used yerba, you can use split teabags, or soak some fresh yerba in water and use that. It is important that the yerba/tea is just wet, DON'T FILL THEG OURD AND LEAVE SOAKING IN WATER, this will often lead to the gourd splitting. Some people add alcohol to the wet yerba (any alcohol will do) - this is optional. 4. Ready for use! You can now prepare a normal mate. Over time the gourd will absorb more and more flavour of your yerba. Ongoing care of your gourd It is important that after use you remove used yerba and keep your gourd dry, otherwise mould is likely to form.