8 In nuclear physics, the second magic number.
How to Prepare Yerba Mate What do I need to prepare my Yerba Mate?
Mate Gourd (cup)
Bombilla (metal straw with filter)
There is no official (or scientific) way of brew Mate. We tell you here one of the many different ways that is used by the argentinian people, and this is probably the one most used. (It comes from "popular culture")
Fill in the gourd up to 3/4 of its volume with "Yerba Mate". Close the top of the gourd with your hand and rotate it to an horizontal position. Or: Put your hand or a piece of paper on the mate's "mouth" and shake it gently upside-down. This is to force the smallest yerba particles (that are like a dust) to the top of the mate, in this way it is less likely that the bombilla tiny holes will get blocked by them.
Now don't move the bombilla - each time you move the bombilla significantly the mate will be very bitter! Your yerbamate is now ready to serve - pour water into the lower side of the
A good sign of the perfect mate is the presence of 'foam
Mate tips/etiquette The traditional way to drink yerba mate is with a group of friends/family each taking it inturns to drink, but with one person serving. As you have just prepared the mate, you
are the server (cebador). The first mate will be the most bitter, and probably quite cold so it is good manners to drink the first one yourself! Finish it all, then pour and serve to the next
person. They will finish it all and return it to you. Do the same, and as you go round and round the group, you should try and keep the round in the same order. In South America, if someone says
'gracias' (thankyou) this means they don't want anymore, so don't be offended if no one says thanks to you until nearly the end. Expert Step: Making the most of your yerba As the flavour reduces
(the yerba is 'washed') gently move the bombilla in a digging motion to the other side. As you do so you will turn the higher side into the 'dip' where the bombila will now sit. Careful as you do
it so as not to make the yerba extremely bitter. If you are an expert you could gradually move the bombilla round between servings. You will literally get twice as many servings if you can master
this trick, but it will take a little practice to do so without affecting the flavour on the way round!
Rise it up slowly adding warm water (60ºC) enough to fix the yerba in an inclined position. Let it rest for about 3 minutes.
Close the top of the straw with your thumb and put it inside the gourd with the flat part in its bottom supporting the straw against the border of the gourd (not over the yerba).
Now you are ready to start drinking your "mate". Add hot water (81ºC) in the empty space near the straw up to the top of the gourd (do not cover completely the yerba).
Take it till the water has finished then fill it again and so on. Do not move the straw anymore and use the same yerba until you note it has lost its taste.
Concerning to the first time that you use the mate, argentinian people used to "Cure" the mate as follow (It comes also from the popular culture and there aren`t a scientific way):
The mate infusion must be prepared using a cured mate. The curing process adapts the mate to the kind of infusion for which is going to be used. The curing process is divided in two steps: before the first use (or proper curing) and the curing that results from the everyday use of the gourd with only one kind of infusion (for example pure mate with no additives). The proper curing has two purposes: the removal of soft tissues and the adaptation of the gourd to the particular kind of infusion. For the removal of soft tissues, fill the gourd with used yerba mate add hot water and let stand for a day. It is better to use pure yerba mate and not yerba mate that was used with sugar because the latter decomposes easily. Next day, remove the yerba, rinse the gourd and scrap the soft tissues. Repeat the whole process one more time. For the adaptation to "black" mate (that is pure yerba mate with no additives like sugar), fill the gourd with fresh yerba mate and add boiling water. Let stand for a day. Repeat for two or three days if you feel like it. For "sweet" mate, first add two or three teaspoons of sugar and a small piece of burning coal. Cover the gourd mouth and shake vigorously to burn the sugar homogeneously. Empty the gourd and proceed as for the black mate.
Normally, people in the south of Argentina (Province of Buenos Aires and Patagonia) have the mate sour, without any sugar. People in the north and near Mendoza do put sugar and have it rather sweet. And many people in other areas use to put in the mate a slice of airdried orange skin (This method is called "a la correntina")
To keep clean the mate, the producers suggest just clean it with water and let it to dry. It is very important that the mate finally stay dry.
To clean the bombilla is necesary the filter part dismantle and clean with hot water the filter and the rest of the bombilla, specially on the inside.
OTHER POINT OF VIEW....
Once all the water is absorbed (after a few minutes), use the bombilla to accentuate the 'bridge' - make a wall between to the levels of yerba (one half is wet, the other is higher, and dry). Then dig in the bombilla with the 'spoon' curved towards the middle of the gourd, scrape the bombila down the outside wall of the gourd on the side where the yerba is wet.