In recent years, the popularity of Yerba Mate has finally begun to take hold around the world as an alternative to tea and coffee. This roasted Yerba Mate has a pleasingly light astringent, smooth, roasty character that comes from the roasting process the leaves undergo after plucking. It makes a perfect pick me up in the morning since it contains more caffeine than coffee or tea and is also rich in Vitamin C and other naturally occurring nutrients and antioxidants. It is said in parts of South America "when one offers Mate, he offers friendship.
Mate is traditionally prepared in a hollowed calabash gourd known as a mate or a guampa (a cup made from a bull's horn.). The gourd is packed anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 full of leaf and then filled with hot, but not boiled water (160-180 degrees.) Next, a stylized straw tipped with a built-in strainer, the bombilla, is inserted into the gourd. The brewed mate is sipped through the bombilla. Once finished, the mate may re-brewed upwards of 10 times.