Beginner's Guide to Yerba Mate: Navigating the World of Traditions and Flavors

Beginner's Guide to Yerba Mate: Navigating the World of Traditions and Flavors


Welcome to the vibrant world of yerba mate! Many people turn to Paraguayan Holly as a coffee or tea alternative, seeking not just a stimulating infusion but a myriad of health benefits for their body. If you're new to yerba mate, unsure about accessories, or pondering which variety to start with, this guide is your companion.


  • Bombilla – The Mateist's Essential: The bombilla, a simple straw with a filter, is crucial. It filters the leaves and stem, coming in various materials like stainless steel or natural bamboo/wood. Most popular are straws with spoon-shaped filters, versatile enough to handle any mate type.

  • Mate Cup (Matero) – Vessel for Yerba Mate: A mate cup, or matero, is where the magic happens. Ceramics, calabash, metal, and wood are popular choices. For beginners, a ceramic cup is recommended for its ease of use – just empty and wash. Metal cups also follow the same convenient principle.

bombilla, straw for yerba matecalabash, natural cup for yerba matecerami cup for yerba mate

Choosing Your Yerba Mate:

Expectations Matter: Determine your expectations – seeking stimulation for a vibrant energy boost, or a more moderate effect for a balanced and mellow yerba mate experience? Tailoring your choice to your desired level of stimulation ensures your journey into yerba mate is precisely what you're looking for.

  • Classic Yerba Mate – Despalada: For robust stimulation, opt for classic yerba mate, preferably Despalada (mainly leaves). The power lies in the leaves and, interestingly, the dust. It is said that despaladas should contain at least 90% of leaves

difference in cut between despalada and elaborada yerba mate

  • Moderate Stimulation – Elaborada: If you prefer a moderate effect, go for Elaborada, containing up to 30% Paraguay holly sticks. It strikes a balance between flavor and stimulation.

  • Digestive Support – Silueta, Regulase, Detox: If you aim for digestive and metabolic support, explore mates with names like Silueta, Regulase, or Detox. They blend aromatic herbs like mint, lemon verbena, boldo, and others. Mild in taste, they offer stimulation with an extra twist of zesty aromas and unique tastes.

Understanding Bitterness:

  • Bitterness and Variety: Bitterness can be a challenge for some. If intense, slightly earthy tastes with smoky aromas bother you, avoid Paraguayan varieties. Argentinean mates, with perceptible acidity and moderate bitterness, might be a better fit.

  • Argentinean and Uruguayan Mates: Argentinean mates offer a diverse range of flavors. Uruguayan mates, characterized by freshness and tartness, are produced in Brazil for the Uruguayan market, the world's largest mate importer. The most known brands like Amanda, Rosamonte, Taragui or Canarias  have dedicated fans who cannot imagine a day without their favorite yerba mate

  • Mild Brazilian Varieties: Mild Brazilian mates like Verde Mate and Mate Green offer low intensity, moderate bitterness, and a relatively high stimulating effect.

 yerba mate cup being passed from one hand to another


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