Yerba Mate is one of the most popular types of tea because of its many unique aspects surrounding it. Not only is it a great beverage to quench thirst, but it has also been used in ceremonies for many years.
It’s main ceremonial purpose is to help people bond with each other: the Yerba Mate drinking ritual, known as Tomando Mate, represents hospitality and welcoming and originated in South America. Today, people all over the world drink this tea for everything from its health benefits to its gentle jolt of energy.
Yerba Mate: The Drinking Ceremony
In the traditional ceremonies, yerba mate is prepared in a small gourd which is passed around a group of people who will drink the tea through a filtered metal straw, known as a Bombilla. Lots of yerba mate is put into the gourd followed by the hot water. Then, it’s first sampled by the person hosting the group.
Each guests will drink the entire gourd of tea and fill it with hot water again so they can pass it counter-clockwise. Because there’s plenty of yerba mate in the gourd, it won’t result in a very large beverage.
Yerba Mate: The Drinking Rituals
Traditionally, you pass the gourd to the next person with the straw facing towards them. The person receiving the gourd is expected to not touch the Bombilla at all because they may shake up the yerba mate tea leaves and cause chunks to get into the straw.
It’s customary for the person drinking the tea not to say thank you until after they completely finish the beverage; not when they receive the gourd. Also, if the person drinking the tea wants to more, they should not say thank you until they’ve had enough — saying “thank you” basically announces that you’re finished.
Yerba Mate: Preparing for the Ceremony
If you want to enjoy this tea drinking tradition, you need only the Bombilla and the gourd to get started. The gourd is usually a small, circular shaped drinking vessel with a moderate sized hole at the top of it — typically, they’re made out of metal or wood, but ceramic gourds can be used too.
Yerba Mate: Health Benefits
Yerba mate is a great source of various vitamins and minerals and it also contains other healthful ingredients like antioxidants and amino acids. If you’re drinking it for the first time, you might find that it has a bitter taste to it. No problem! Just add a little bit of sugar or honey or a sweetener of your choice. (By the way, it’s not impolite to ask for some sugar to go with your tea during the ceremony.)
It also offers an uplifting feeling that elevates your energy levels. It’s also common for drinkers to combine their ritual with chocolates because chocolates may potentially release endorphins in the brain, causing them to feel even happier and less stressed.
Put everything together and you’ll have a unique recipe for some excellent conversations with friends — which is why the South Americans created the yerba mate ceremony in the first place!
For a traditional feel to your very own ritual, we recommend our certified organic Yerba Mate tea hand-picked from the Brazilian rainforest. And for a lovely and modern twist on this iconic tea, try our certified organic Citron Mate for a crisp, woodsy infusion of lemongrass, orange peels, and lemon myrtle — enjoy it hot or iced (or with plenty of friends).