Yerba mate

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Mate tea
Yerba mate
Bombilla straw

Mate or Yerba mate is a herbal tea which is made from the mate-shrub (yerba mate). It is traditionally cooked in a hollowed-out gourd (Spanish: "calabaza") and drunk through a metal drinking tube called "bombilla". The bombilla has a mesh or small holes which avoid that particles of the herb are sucked in. Mate can be brewed either hot or cold.


The Yerba mate plant is grown and processed in South America, specifically in northern Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Cultivators are known as yerbateros (Spanish) or ervamateiros (Portuguese).

Seeds are harvested from January until April only after they have turned dark purple. After harvest, they are submerged in water in order to clean them and sort out floating, non-viable seeds. New bushes are planted between March and May. For plants established in pots, transplanting takes place April through September. Plants with bare roots are transplanted only during the months of June and July.