Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Yerba Mate available at the Alchemists' Guild

The Yerba Mate Tree

The Yerba-Mate (pronounced ma-tay) Plant (Ilex-Paranguariensis) belongs to the acquifoliaceas family, of the always-green type, i.e. that has perennial leaves.

The tree is similar to the laurel, of a gray whitish trunk, 2 to 6 meters tall and about 30 or 40 centimeters in diameter. Its leaves are alternate, of a narrow basis and dented edge, they can be 8 to 10 centimeters wide. The yerba-mate plant grows in wooded, subtropical and warm regions, in red and high lands, up to 400 meters above sea level.

Among these regions we can name The Chaco (Bolivian, Paraguayan and Argentine), the North East Argentine Republic, Misiones and Corrientes,the whole Paraguay Republic, Brazil and some bordering departments of Uruguay with Brazil.

In these places the roots of the plant develop greatly in depth and volume. This explains its production period, which is near to 150 years.

The Word "Mate"

The word " mate" derives from the Quechuas and ancisouth americanican civilization. Their native language is called quichua and today is still spoken in Paraguay and Northern Argentina.

(Picture: these are Shumpei's mate cups also for sale at the Alchemists' Guld)
The word "mati", means glass or recipient for drinking, but it has been generalized as the common name of the fruit of the gourd plant –Lagenaria vulgaris- especially the varieties used to prepare and serve the infusion of yerba mate ("poro" and "galleta").

So, with the later proliferation of gourds made of the most varied materials, destined to prepare this infusion the word mate began to be used to refer also to any kind of container. Then, the word "mate" began to name the infusion itself..

According to the way this beverage is prepared, it is known as: "Amargo" (bitter), "verde" (green) or "cimarran": it is the mate without sugar.
"Dulce" (Sweet): prepared with sugar.
"Terere": bitter mate brewed with cold water.
"Cocido" (cooked) or "Yerbeao": prepared like tea.

The brewed mate (bitter or sweet) is a daily inseparable companion of the people, official breakfast drink in the Military, Hospitals, Schools and for the large populations of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Peru a basic nutritional tea, substitute of coffee and in some places specially among low income inahabitants from northern Argentina, because of its high nutritional properties, a fundamental food source due its low cost.

The Argentine Mate Language

According to the way or the ingredients used to brew the mate, it is, for the popularcommunicator a comunicator of moods or brewer’s desires towards the one who will drink the mate.

Unsweetened mate: Indifference
Sweet mate: Friendship
Very sweet mate: Talk to my parents
CindifferenceDespise, indiference
Mate with balmcinnamonst
Mate with cinamon: You are in my thoughts
Mate with burnt sugar: I like you
Mate with orange peel: Come for me
Mate with tea: Indifference
Mate with coffee: Forgiven offense
Mate with molasses: I sympathize with your sadness
Mate with milk: Esteem
Very hot mate: I’m so in love with you
Boiling mate: Hate
Tasteless mate: Repulse
Mate with cedran: Agreement
Mate with honey: Marriage
Obstructed mate: Repulse
Foaming mate: True love
Consecutive mates: Ill willstrengthenith Ombao: It is equivalent to streghten the mate
Mate brewed through the bombilla: Dislike

The Yerba Mate Legend

There is an old Guarani Indian legend that relates the origins of the Guarani in the Forests of today Northeast Argentina. According to the legend, the ancestors of the Guarani at one time in the distant past crossed a great and spacious ocean from a far land to settle in the Americas. They found the land both wonderful yet full of dangers; through diligence and effort they subdued the land and inaugurated a new civilization.

The Guarani tribes worked the land and became excellent craftsmen. They looked forward to the coming of a tall, fair-skinned, blue eyed, bearded God (Pa' i Shume) who, according to legend, descended from the skies and expressed his pleasure with the Guarani. He brought religious knowledge and imparted to them certain agricultural practices to be of benefit during times of drought and pestilence as well as on a day-to-day basis.

Significantly, He unlocked the secrets of health and medicine and revealed the healing qualities of native plants. One of the most important of these secrets was how to harvest and prepare the leaves of the Yerba Mate tree. The Mate beverage was meant to ensure health, vitality and longevity.

It was like this: the tribe would clear part of the forest, plant manioc and corn, but after four or five years the soil would be worn out and the tribe had to move on. Tired of such moving, an old Indian refused to go on and preferred to stay where he was. The youngest of his daughters, beautiful Jary, had her heart split: to go on with the tribe's youths, or remain isolated, helping the old man until death would take him to Ivy-Marae's peace. Despite her friends' pleas, she ended up staying with her father.

This love gesture deserved a prize. One day, a unknown shaman arrived at the ranch and asked Jary what she wanted in order to feel happy. The girl did not ask anything. But the old man asked: "I want new forces to go on and take Jary to the tribe that went away". The shaman gave him a very green plant, perfumed with kindness, and told him to plant it, pick the leaves, dry them on fire, grind them, put the pieces in a gourd, add cold or hot water and sip the infusion. "In this new beverage, you will find an healthy company, even in the sad hours of the cruelest solitude." After which he went away. Thus was born and grew the "cai-mini," whence came the cai-y beverage that white people would later adopt under the name of Chimarreo in Brazil and Yerba Mate or Cimarron in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Sipping the green sap, the old man recovered, gained new strengths and was able to resume their long journey toward meeting their kinsmen. They were received with the greatest joy.

And the whole tribe adopted the habit of drinking the green herb, bitter and sweet, that gave strength and courage and would comfort friendships at the sad hours of utmost solitude. Mate became the most common ingredient in household cures of the Guarani, and remains so to this day. In current practice in modern Argentina and Paraguay, Mate tea is made from the leaves steeped in hot water. Actually, a large quantity of ground leaf is first soaked in cold water, then the hot water is added, over and over again, until all the good stuff has been extracted. In between each addition of hot water the tea is ingested through a special wood or metal straw, called a bombilla, that filters out the leafy material. It is also used as a cold beverage.

How to Prepare the mate

1-Make sure that your set of tools for
the mate is complete and perfectly clean and hygienic.

Basic Utensils: Kettle(Pava),Mate and Bombilla,
Sugar Bowl, Spoon.

2-Pour yerba inside the mate until you reach
approximately 3/4 of the mate.

3-Mate could be drunk with or without sugsweetenera,
honey or any other kind of healthy sweetner,
I like it bitter, no sugar, none. Is healthier this way,
but you have to get accustom to it.

4-If you choose to drink it with sugar, add,
one or two teaspoons of sugar.

5-Cover the mouth of the mate with one hand, invert it and shake it for some seconds. The purpose of this procedure is to get the finest particles to remain on the top of the brewing, so that the possibilities for them to pass through the bombilla and block it are dimished.

6-Put the mate again in its original position, taking care of the brewing to remain inclined on
one side.

7-Heat the water (if you want you can add sugar into the kettle). When the water is warm, pour softly a sufficient amount of water into the hollow part of the brewing, so that the total of the yerba gets wet. Let it rest for some seconds

8-Cover the mouth of the bombilla with a napkin and insert the filter end into the hollow part of
the brewing. Uncover only when you have found the definite position of the bombilla. This way you will keep the filter from blocking during this operation.

9-When the water has reached its optimal temperature (before boiling) you can begin to brew, pouring the water softly and adding sugar when you think it necessary (if you have not chosen to sweeten the water.

10-Keep the water at a constant temperature without letting it boil (to use a thermos or our Matermo is highly recommended for this matter). Try not to move the bombilla, but if this were necessary, do it when the mate is empty (without water).


Serving Size 1 Gourd in 500 ml of water

Tamano de Racion 1 mate en 500ml. de agua

Serving per container / Cantidad por envase (500g./ 1lb.) 10 servings.

Amount per serving / Cantidad por racion.

Calories/Calorias = 12.

Calories from Fat / Calorias de Grasa = 0.

% Daily Value / Valor Diario

Total Fat / Grasa Total 0g. 0%
Saturated Fat / Grasa Saturada 0g. 0%
Cholesterol / Colesterol = 0 0%
Sodium / Sodio 0mg 0%
Potassium/Potasio 62mg. 2%
Total Carbohydrate/Carb 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber / Fibra Dietaria 0g 0%
Protein/Proteinas 1g


Percent Daily Values are Based on a 2000 Calories Diet.

This Information has been taken from 1lb. of Organic Yerba Mate Tea La Esquina De Las Flores -TRADITIONAL FLAVOR-

Nutritional information varies between brands. Some mate's have as much as 100% of your daily need for iron in one traditionally prepared cup.


Blogger heylee said...

Tell me where you got this cup? Love it!
email me at

12:26 PM  

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