Yerba Mate is a beverage on the strong side in terms of caffeine. It is produced from a plant called "Yerba Mate" (Ilex paraguariensis), and is very popular in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, east Bolivia, southern Brazil and certain parts of Chile.
As a result of Syrian immigrants returning home from South America this beverage has become popular in recent times and has started to spread in the Middle East, especially Syria and Lebanon.
How to make Yerba Mate
1. Boil some hot water in a kettle.
2. Add a few tablespoons of Yerba mate tea leaves into a cup or a traditional gourd.
3. Cover the mouth of the cup with your hands and shuffle it back and forth. This is done to move the heavier stems and sticks to the top of the gourd and the light powdery ones to the bottom.
4. Now tilt the cup or gourd such that the leaves are in a slope.
Place a "bombilla" (a metal straw with a strainer built in) inside the gourd against the leaves. This ensures that the strainer at the end of the bombilla keeps the powdery leaves intact, while the loose stems at the top act as an additional filter.
5. Add a little bit of cool water into the gourd and wait for a few seconds for it to be absorbed. This is done to prevent the hot water from damaging the nutrients and for the leaves to retain their original flavors.
6. Now add the hot water (160–180 °F) from the kettle. Make sure the water is not boiling hot as it will make a bitter brew.
Your tea is now ready to sip from the bombilla.