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The bitterness of mate

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

The specificity of the yerba mate and its unique taste.

When first used, the palate discovers a particularly bitter taste, which can cause a strange sensation on the first sip.

However, after several drinks, the taste becomes familiar and quickly pleasant.

Several criteria can influence the taste of your mate.

The specificity of the mate gourd used to drink its infusion

When you choose to drink a mate using the traditional way, with a calabash and a bombilla (filter straw), it is important to treat your calabash the first time you use it.

This step is necessary because it seals the pores of the organic matter in the container.

In the case of wooden gourds, it is also important to prepare them to avoid a change in temperature causing the material to crack. Each type of wood has its own flavour. This results in a unique alloy.

Ceramic or stainless steel containers, on the other hand, do not alter the taste of the infusion.

Water quality

Water is the main element in the consumption of mate. It plays a key role and can alter the personality of your mate!

Water rich in calcium neutralizes bitterness, on the other hand water with a strong Ph can accentuate this bitterness.

Besides that, the temperature of the water will influence the taste and bitterness of the mate.

It is important to serve hot water between 75ºC and 85ºC in order to avoid burning the maté leaves (100% hydrogen molecules are released, burning the leaves and transforming the taste of the mate).

The higher the temperature of the water, the more bitter the mate.

Infusion time and number of uses

In the traditional way, the mate's infusion time is instantaneous and is consumed directly after pouring the hot water. It is drunk alone or accompanied for several rounds. It is also customary to see the mate circulating from hand to hand and continuously pouring water, repeating the "cebar" ritual many times.

To start the round, we advise pouring lukewarm water on the side of the bombilla, while keeping the other side dry, and letting it infuse for 2 minutes. This will stabilize the base of the montañita and prepare the yerba in contact with hot water.

The montañita is a fundamental technique to save yerba and prolong its taste throughout the round. As the rounds follow one another, the already infused leaves become less and less nutritious and tasty (therefore less bitter). They become compact and give the dry yerba space to insert itself into the new rounds.

For an infusion of mate leaves in a teapot, it is advisable to put 15g per 1 litre and infuse the mate for 6 minutes. In the jargon, this is called cocido mate.

The waiting time of the Yerba

One of the last steps in the cultivation of yerba mate is parking.

The yerba is rested in huge silos and refines its flavours for a period of 6 to 24 months.

The more a yerba is rested, the sweeter it will be in bitterness.

The composition of the various Yerba cuts

Industrial yerba is made of several cuts: large leaves, medium leaves, small leaves, mate powder and small branches.

Depending on these denominations, it is possible to make all kinds of mixtures and thus give different flavours to your drink.

As for the small branches contained in the yerba mate, they counterbalance the bitter taste, while the powder contains the concentrated mate aromas that will tend to accentuate it.

Aroma compilations

An alternative to eating mate is to supplement it with other foods. This allows for a variety of flavours but also strengthens the immune system.

There are many ways to find what you are looking for!

We propose some variations of how to alternate the taste of your mate:

* Mate with other plants (thyme, lavender, hibiscus, mint, lemongrass, ginger ...)

* Maté with sweeteners (honey, agave syrup, stevia, sugar, ...)

* Maté with fruit peels (oranges, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, ...)

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