Enjoy this Traditional Yerba Mate Recipe

Try this traditional yerba mate recipe when you're ready for something a little different for teatime. Made and served in a mate cup (a "gourd") with a mate straw (a "bombilla"), this yerba mate recipe will not only delight the senses, but you'll enjoy the many wellness benefits this nourishing herbal tea has to offer, too. 

Making herbal teas is such a simple, enjoyable, comforting task... and with such deliciously good-for-you results. As with other herbal teas, yerba mate can be made with loose tea or a teabag, served hot or iced, enjoyed in a latte, relished as is or enhanced with favorite extras (like sweetener, milk, herbs, or citrus) - how you enjoy this incredibly versatile tea is completely up to you. 

Yerba Mate Recipe | The Tea Talk

For another way to enjoy the wellness benefits of mate and for a new tea-drinking experience, why not make yerba mate with a mate gourd and mate straw? Follow this yerba mate recipe for a more traditional mate-drinking experience.

Yerba Mate Recipe

If you'd like to make and enjoy your yerba mate in a more traditional style, treat yourself to a gourd and a bombilla. A gourd is simply a small cup used for making and serving mate, and a bombilla is a drinking straw, usually made from metal (such as stainless steel or silver), with a filtered end to prevent mate leaves from coming up the straw. 

You'll need...

  • A gourd and bombilla
  • A generous amount of good-quality, loose-leaf yerba mate tea (enough to fill the gourd about halfway)
  • Fresh, delicious water - some cool or lukewarm, and a larger amount brought just to the boil (enough to refill the gourd a few times, if you'd like)
  • Optional delicious additions to taste, such as sweetener, citrus, cinnamon, chocolate, milk, or mint
  • Also optional is a thermos to keep hot water nearby to top up the gourd, as needed

To make the mate...

  1. Fill the gourd generously one-half full with loose dried yerba mate leaves. 
  2. If the mate leaves seem fairly fine, shake or invert the gourd (with your hand over the gourd opening) a few times to redistribute the mate and bring the finer leaves to the top (this will help prevent the bombilla from clogging later on). 
  3. Tilt the gourd a bit to position the leaves over to one side, and pour some fresh cool or lukewarm water into the empty space, almost to the top of the loose mate. Wait for a minute or two, to allow the water to be completely absorbed by the leaves. (This helps to preserve the mate's flavor and nutrients.)
  4. Insert the bombilla (filter end first) into the empty space, so it touches the bottom of the gourd. 
  5. Then, fill the space with hot (not boiling) water (160 - 180F / 71 - 82C is best), again almost to the top of the pile of mate leaves.
  6. Sip the mate through the bombilla, and enjoy! Keep the bombilla in place as you sip (rather than using it to stir the mate), to ensure none of the yerba mate finds its way into the straw. 
Yerba Mate Recipe | The Tea Talk

Victoria Zak, in her wonderful book, "20,000 Secrets of Tea," suggests spicing mate in the traditional manner by sauteing brown sugar with lemon juice until brown, and then adding to the hot yerba mate tea. Yum! 

You can top up the gourd with additional hot water (and your extras, too) a few times, as you'd like, until the mate loses its flavor. If you'd rather not keep re-boiling the water, simply store it in a thermos to keep it at just the right temperature for the mate. And, to glean every bit of flavor from the mate, you can use the bombilla to push the leaves to the other side of the gourd before you refill with hot water. 

Why try a traditional yerba mate recipe?

Making yerba mate with a gourd and bombilla may be a new experience for you. And, even though you may prefer a more familiar way of making this tea - say, with a kettle, tea infuser, and your favorite tea mug - why not consider giving the traditional mate method a try?

Not only will making yerba mate in a gourd give you a more authentic mate experience, but another very good reason to choose the traditional method of making yerba mate is that you can benefit even more from mate's healthful properties. 

For additional flavor and wellness benefits, add some herbs - like mint or rosemary - to the yerba mate in the gourd before water is added. 

Research suggests that making mate in the traditional manner - which uses very little water in proportion to mate leaves - is the most effective way to benefit from yerba mate's beneficial components, such as its potent antioxidants and many minerals and vitamins. 

And, wouldn't mate gourds and bombillas make a fun and lovely addition to your teaware collection?

If you're ready to try making your own mate, why not give this traditional recipe a try? Yes, tea is wonderful no matter how you make it, but tea's taste is only part of the experience... Using a gourd and bombilla is a special, fun, and satisfying way to enjoy this incredibly beneficial, flavorful herbal tea.  

Curing Your Gourd

If you've just purchased a traditional mate gourd, consider curing your gourd before using it. Learn more here about curing a gourd. 

Keep browsing through our Yerba Mate Recipe pages... you'll find a recipe for Iced Yerba Mate and tips for making a Yerba Mate Latte, too.

> > > Traditional Yerba Mate Recipe


Andersen T, Fogh J. Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):243-250. 

Arbiser JL, Li XC, Hossain CF, et al. Naturally occurring proteasome inhibitors from mate tea (Ilex paraguayensis) serve as models for topical proteasome inhibitors. J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Aug;125(2):207-212.

Bastos DHM, Oliveira DM, Matsumoto RLT, Carvalho P, Ribero ML. Yerba maté: Pharmacological Properties, Research and Biotechnology. Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Science and Biotechnology. 2007;1(1):37-46. 

Bixby M, Spieler L, Menini T, Gugliucci A. Ilex paraguariensis extracts are potent inhibitors of nitrosative stress: a comparative study with green tea and wines using a protein nitration model and mammalian cell cytotoxicity. Life Sci. 2005 Jun 3;77(3):345-58. Epub 2005 Feb 9.

Conforti AS, Gallo ME, Saravi FD. Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) consumption is associated with higher bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Bone. 2012 Jan;50(1):9-13.  

Gonzalez de Mejia E, Song YS, Ramirez-Mares MV, et al. Effect of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) tea on topoisomerase inhibition and oral carcinoma cell proliferation. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 23;53(6):1966-1973. 

Harrold JA, Hughes GM, O’Shiel K, et al. Acute effects of a herb extract formulation and inulin fibre on appetite, energy intake and food choice. Appetite. 2013 Mar;62:84-90.  

Heck CI, De Mejia EG. Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications, and Technological Considerations. Journal of Food Science. 2007 Nov/Dec;72(9):R138-R151. 

Klein, GA et al. Mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) improves glycemic and lipid profiles of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes individuals: A pilot study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Oct; 30(5):320-32.  

Loria D, Barrios E, Zanetti R. Cancer and yerba mate consumption: a review of possible associations. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2009 Jun;25(6):530-9.

Miranda DD, Arcari DP, Pedrazzoli J, Jr., et al. Protective effects of mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) on H2O2-induced DNA damage and DNA repair in mice. Mutagenesis. 2008 Jul;23(4):261-265. 

Puangpraphant S, Berhow MA, Vermillion K, et al. Dicaffeoylquinic acids in Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) inhibit NF-kappaB nucleus translocation in macrophages and induce apoptosis by activating caspases-8 and -3 in human colon cancer cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Oct;55(10):1509-1522. 

Santos I, Matijasevich A, Valle N. Maté Drinking during Pregnancy and Risk of Preterm and Small for Gestational Age Birth. J. Nutr. 2005 May 1; 135(5):1120-1123. 

Yerba mate. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerba_mate.

Zak V. 20,000 Secrets of Tea. New York, NY: Dell Publishing, 1999. 

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