The first time I had this tea, I made the mistake of putting the leaves in a cup loosely and drinking with a bombilla. This got bitter rather quickly and it was not a good experience. THIS time, I steeped for long enough for me to return to my desk and look up how long I am supposed to steep yerba mate (approximately 3 minutes)… It was fantastic. No bitterness, just the plain earthy taste. I try not to sweeten tea if I can help it but use honey when I do. I find that this tea reminds me somewhat of plain green teas and even a bit of genmaicha (just a plain, tea taste). I set the steeper aside to see how it will do with a second infusion and will post about that when I get to it.
For anyone experiencing bitterness, try reducing your steep time and/or water temperature (so the leaves don’t burn). When I first started drinking tea, I definitely had a time figuring out that not every kind of tea works well with boiling water. Now when the kettle whistles, I wait a while before it goes in a cup with most of my teas!