By far the most common way to drink yerba mate is using a gourd and bombilla. Mate is placed in the gourd which is then filled with water. The tea becomes infused and is drunk using a metal bombilla which acts as a straw and strainer. The gourd can be refilled ten or more times before the yerba mate loses its flavor and potency (it is said to be “lavado”). Warm water is usually poured from any kind of thermos which keeps the water at an optimal temperature. If you want to drink mate this way, you really only need a bombilla, as a gourd can be improvised and water can be poured from a kettle, pot or dispenser.
In our opinion, the gourd and bombilla method yields the best tasting yerba mate. In South America, yerba mate in a gourd is often shared and is consumed in social settings. However, if you are in North America sometimes this is not the most convenient way of consuming yerba mate. Carrying a gourd and bombilla can prompt the occasional curious glance in North America, and it’s not too easy to use this method if you’re on the go.
For these reasons, in upcoming posts, we’ll share with you some other great ways you can enjoy yerba mate. Stay tuned!