The Yerba Mate tea comes from the holly breed that produces small berries which in turn grows into greenish white florets. Discovered by the locales of the forests of Tupi(southern brazil) as well as Paraguay (the Guarani) this herb was previously known “from the gods” and used mostly for physical endurance, medicinal aid. A staple food for the farmers, nomads as well as for the regular workers, the yerba mate was a gift given to the latter to help them sustain a healthy life, increase strength as well as aid the sick. Spiritually yerba mate herb was used for worshipping as well as for other tribal functions.
Sipped during the long harvesting days, these yerba mate tea was also consumed during periods of drought . Also known as the “cowboy coffee”, the yerba mate can be sipped in the morning and night around in the campfire. Grown especially in the rainforest shades away from direct sunlight. these shades allow the leaves to reserve more nutrients and flavors than those plants that are kept in sunlight. The Yerba mate tea leaves takes longer time to grow, so they are plucked every two years. The leaves and stems after they get handpicked, they are dried at controlled temperatures. When roasted over the wood fire, they may be broken to create the final herb for drinking. Some yerba mate is even stored in wood upto one year for better taste. Cultivated shrubs on the other hand, gets plucked at the end of the winter season, because they grow faster due to careful snipping, sunlight and water regulation.
Processing of Yerba Mate tea:
- Yerba mate is normally prepared in the most traditional way be it in a gourd(mate). Gourds are originally small cups or bowls made from metals, woods and ceramic.
- The yerba(herb) is kept in the gourd and shakened. After that it is crushed. Cold water is then poured into the gourd little by little so that the water absorbs slowly into the herbs thereby preparing them for infusion.
- Hot water (or sometimes cold, but never boiling) is then poured over the herbs to fill the gourd. The herbs soaks into the water to produce the tea.
- The saturated yerba mate herbs are not strained out from the water. Instead, the drink is quaffed through “Bombilla”,(a metal straw made from silver, copper with tiny holes at the bottom. The Bombilla acts both as the straw as well as the sieve, so the liquid can be gulped while the herb pieces remain in the gourd.
There is a special mate ceremony held when the “cebador”, or mate preparer, prepares the mate, drinks it to make sure if the mate tastes smooth, prepares another mate in the same gourd to pass from guest to guest. Each guest quaffs down the mate and returns it to the cebador to prepare another cup for the next guest in the circle. This is a tradition is thereby followed to keep the bonds of friendship intact.
- Lowers Blood Sugar
- Rich in antioxidants
- Improves focus
- Restores energy
- Promotes healthy functioning of heart
- Loses weight
- Ensures physical stamina