How To Cure A Yerba Mate

Cure a yerba mate well, and you’ll get amazing mate for a long time. Here’s how to properly season your gourd for many great cups of mate!

Why Cure a Mate?

Many yerba mate gourds full of tea with bombilla straws on a table,

Curing a yerba mate gourd is an essential step to prepare it for regular use. This process helps to remove any unwanted flavors or odors from the gourd. It also creates a protective layer inside, enhancing the taste of your yerba mate.

You only need to cure your mate if it’s an actual gourd. This process is not required for glass or metal mates. But if you buy a new gourd mate, this process helps it last for many shared cups of yerba!

To learn more about yerba mate, check our post What is Yerba Mate?

Materials Needed:

Bombillas, yerba mate gourds, and a bowl of yerba mate

Curing a Mate

Step 1: Choose Your Gourd

If you’re curing your first yerba mate, you don’t need to do this with a glass, metal, or plastic mate. Wash those, and get right to brewing!

If you want a natural and more authentic mate, choose one made from a gourd. Natural gourd mates are very individual, and often have a metal lip on them to smooth out the rough edge. 

Step 2: Prepare Your Gourd

Before starting the curing process, rinse the yerba mate gourd. Use warm water to remove any dust or debris. Use a spoon to scrape the inside of the gourd to remove any loose particles. But be gentle with your scraping! You only want to remove any loose fibres, not damage the gourd wall.

Step 3: Add the Yerba

Fill the gourd about two-thirds full with yerba mate leaves. Traditional yerba mate comes loose, but yerba mate tea bags also work. If using loose leaves, shake the gourd gently to settle the leaves at the bottom. Stem segments on top of the leaves is normal and expected.

Step 4: Add Near-Boiling Water

Pour nearly boiling water over the yerba into the gourd until it’s almost full. Allow the yerba mate leaves to soak in the water. This helps to soften the leaves and release their flavor.

Step 5: Let the Mate Sit

Leave the yerba mate gourd to sit for at least 24 hours. Allow the water and yerba mate leaves to interact in the gourd. This helps to season the gourd and prepare it for regular use.

Step 6: Empty and Rinse

After the inside of the gourd has soaked in the yerba for 24 hours, empty the gourd. Rinse it well inside and out with warm water. Use a cloth towel to dry the gourd completely.

Step 7: Repeat If Necessary

If you notice any lingering flavors or odors in the gourd, repeat the curing process. If needed, try adding a few drops of lemon juice or a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. During the curing process, this helps to help neutralize any odors.

a yerba mate gourd and bombilla with leaves on a white cloth

And there you have it! Curing your yerba mate gourd is an important step to ensure optimal flavor and longevity. By following the steps above, you have well-seasoned your gourd.

Once your yerba mate gourd is well cured, it’s ready to use. Fill it with yerba leaves, add hot water, insert the bombilla, and you’re set. Enjoy your delicious and beautiful yerba mate!

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