Argentinian Tea – Yerba Mate

Yerba mate (E-erba Mah-tay) is a rare herbal tea that’s one of the few plants that naturally produce caffeine. Both the tree and the drink originated in certain sub-tropical regions of South America, where it grows exclusively. Yerba mate has existed for centuries in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. Today, Argentina is the world’s largest producer of yerba mate. It’s drunk by millions of people in Argentina, where not only a healthy drink, but is a whole culture unto itself.

It’s strong, distinctive flavor is made by steeping leaves and twigs in hot water. Traditionally, yerba mate is served in a mate, or gourd, with a bombilla, which is a particular kind of straw.

South America Argentinian yerba mate tea

Yerba Mate- Argentinian Herbal Tea

Yerba mate is often served for breakfast with medialunas (Argentinian croissants) or as a mid-afternoon pick me up. Although the drink can purchased ready-made online or in easy-to use tea bags, the best and most interesting way to have it is steeped in a mate (hollowed-out gourd) and drunk through a bombilla (filtered straw). In addition being being great hot, it also makes a delicious iced tea, especially flavored with fruit.
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Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack
Cuisine: Argentina, South American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Steeping: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Mate gourd and Bombilla (for tradtional)
  • small saucepan or tea pot


  • 4 bag Yerba mate or loose yerba mate for traditional
  • 4 cup Hot water, not boiling


Traditional Gourd and Bombilla

  • Fill ⅔ of gourd with yerba mate. Tap the loose yerba mate to 1 side to create a pit. Moisten the pit with cold water.
    Insert a bombilla into the pit and pour in hot water (150°F/65°C) and enjoy.

Tea Bags

  • Add 1-2 yerba mate tea bags to a mug. Moisten the bags with a little cool water. Fill the mug with hot (170°F/75°C) water. Steep for 5 minutes, remove bags and, if desired, flavor with sugar or honey.


Calories: 6kcal | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 24mg | Vitamin A: 100IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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