Maté or yerba maté is a stimulative drink prepared by steeping crushed leaves from the yerba maté plant (Ilex paraguariensis). Indigenous to South America, it grows to a height of 15 metres. Two types of mate exist – green and red, the latter boasting a milder taste.
The leaves are harvested together with the branches, which are first left to dry and then crushed. Afterwards, the stems are removed before an ageing process is commenced. In total, this takes at least 30 - 45 days, sometimes even a year. During this time the temperature must be maintained at 50-60°C. The result is green maté that is ready to be consumed. An additional roasting process results in red maté with its inherent milder taste.
Maté not only contains caffeine, but also other substances, which together stimulate the organism more than tea or coffee. It positively affects the lipid metabolism and encourages weight control. It invigorates the body and suppresses physical fatigue.
Original South American method
Pour 2-3 teaspoons of maté into a calabash, which is a traditional drinking vessel made from a gourd, and pour lukewarm water over the leaves in order to obtain a firm consistency. After a few minutes, pour over with boiling water and allow to steep for 3 minutes. Carefully place the bombilla (a special type of drinking straw) into the calabash and slowly enjoy the refreshing drink.
Using one teaspoon of per cup, pour over water at a temperature of around 80°C. Leave to infuse for 3-5 minutes and strain. The longer it infuses, the stronger the brew and more amplified the various effects.