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One of my favorite teas of all time and also one of the best yerba mates you can find. No stems! Just a pure clean taste. Another great thing about this and all yerba mate is that you do not need hot water to make it (see recipe below).
I think many people who dislike mate because of the smoky or bitter flavor should give a no-stem variety a shot. And if you did not grow up drinking yerba mate from a gourd, you may not want to invest in one if you are trying at home. The gourd adds to the smoky flavor 10-fold. Unless you like smoky, then go to town.
Here’s my recipe for cold-steeped mate:
1. Toss the bombilla straw in a ceramic cup.
2. Fill cup 1/4 – 1/3 of the way with yerba mate.
3. Add filtered water to fill the cup 3/4 of the way full.
4. Wait a moment for the tea to settle. When you add the water, bubbles will become trapped at the bottom of the cup. As they release, they will bring a chunk of the tea up with them. This can cause spillage if you fill your cup up too much.
5. Add more water if you desire to fill the cup up all the way.
6. Steep for 20-60 minutes at room temperature – OR – Steep overnight in your fridge.
7. Repeat for up to 4 times per tea serving. (Typically the 2nd steep is the best. Sometimes I throw the tea out after the 3rd steep, whatever your preference.)
Also, for larger batches (or if you don’t want to use the bombilla), a french press will be your best friend. Same rules basically apply for cold steeps (room temperature steeps), but hot steeps work just as well.
I worked with some Argentinians who introduced me to mate. I’d only ever tried it in the mixed versions they have in the US (teavana often has it included in their samplers, like white tea + mate, so grossssss) and have always had a strong aversion to it. Turns out when made on its own, its delicious! I bought a mini starter set with this tea (actually the version with stems) and a mini gourd and bombilla, and love it! I have never had straight mate in bag form or made like a normal tea, so I have no option for those options. For the traditional packed gourd/bombilla style of drinking mate, I’ve only so far made it straight, but will be trying it with honey in the near future. I’m still learning about mate so I’m going to give it a rating with room for improvement, but so far so good!