How to Prepare Yerba Mate: A Step by Step guide

by | Jul 21, 2023 | Yerba Mate, Yerba Mate Guides

Looking to dive into the world of yerba mate but unsure where to begin? Or perhaps you’ve attempted to prepare it yourself and it didn’t quite hit the mark? Don’t worry, you’re certainly not the only one! Mastering the art of brewing the perfect cup of yerba mate is a journey. First let’s go over what you’ll need to prepare the mate.

Materials Needed:

  1. Yerba Mate tea (loose leaves)
  2. A Mate cup (also called a gourd or “mate”)
  3. A Bombilla (special metal straw with a filter at the end)
  4. Hot water (but not boiling)


  1. Fill the mate cup with yerba mate: Pour the Yerba Mate into the gourd until it’s about half to three-quarters full. This might seem like a lot of tea, but it’s necessary to get the right flavor.

2. Shake the mate: Cover the top of the mate with your hand and shake it gently. This helps to move the finer particles of the Yerba Mate to the top, preventing them from clogging the Bombilla.

3. Tilt and wet the yerba mate: Tilt the gourd until all the Yerba Mate is on one side, creating a slope and leaving a space on one side of the gourd. Pour a little bit of cool water (not hot) into the space to wet the Yerba Mate. The cool water will protect the Yerba Mate from losing essential nutrients by searing from hot water. Let it sit for a few moments to allow the water to be absorbed.

4. Insert the Bombilla: Place your thumb on top of the straw opening to prevent any mate from getting in. Insert the Bombilla into the empty space you created.

5. Add Hot Water: Slowly pour hot (but not boiling) water into the gourd in the space you’ve made. Don’t fill the gourd completely – only pour up to the level of the Yerba Mate to avoid soaking the top leaves and stems, which can make your mate too strong or bitter.

5. Enjoy your Yerba Mate: Now your Yerba Mate is ready to drink. Sip from the Bombilla, and enjoy. Remember, it’s a slow drink, meant to be savored over time. Traditional Yerba Mate is a drink that keeps on giving. Keep a thermos of hot water nearby and when you’ve drunk all of the mate, refill the gourd with water. You can do this several times, or until the flavor starts to run out.

Although this is the most common way to drink yerba mate, there is other ways to drink it! Besides traditional yerba mate with or without stems; there is also many flavored yerba. And apart from the traditional presentation, yerba mate is also available in tea bags to be prepared just like tea. On hot summer days, you can also enjoy a delicious tereré (cold-brewed mate).