Argentinian Mate Sets

In many countries, of course, they don’t know it so well because it is not part of their culture, but in the world of infusions, there are few people who have not heard of Argentinian Mate at least once. More and more people are enjoying this particular infusion, even if they were not born in a South American country.

Mate is both the infusion itself (made from yerba mate) and the container in which it is brewed and drunk. It has energising properties, although somewhat milder than those we know from coffee. Not surprisingly, mate also contains caffeine, although it works somewhat differently from coffee.

On this page, we are going to get to know the different elements that make up an Argentinian mate making kit. The Argentinian mate kits do not only contain the mate (the container) but also other utensils that are indispensable for the preparation of the infusion. And, of course, although in some countries it is difficult to get hold of one physically, you will be able to find all kinds of Argentinian mate making sets on Amazon:

What are the components of an Argentinian mate set?

All these components can be purchased separately, but if you are going to buy an Argentinian mate making set on Amazon, there are two essential instruments: the mate itself and the bombilla.

  • The mate or mate starter: it has a size between 12 and 20 cl, and it is made of different materials. They are not very big, because the water is poured little by little as the infusion is consumed.
  • The bombilla: we could say that it is a “straw” to sip the mate, with a small filter at the bottom so that we do not ingest the smallest particles of mate. They are made of metal, usually stainless steel.
  • The thermos: in some very complete sets we also find a thermos, which is useful for drinking mate away from home. We heat the water and take it with us in the thermos so that it does not lose temperature and we can enjoy our mate wherever we go. However, if you need one, you can always consult our guide to coffee thermoses.
  • The brush: essential for cleaning the bombilla. They are usually included in many kits.

Many of the Argentine mate kits include the mate, a couple of bombillas, and sometimes also the brush. The rest of the elements may or may not appear. To serve the hot water, you can use any other utensil you have at home, such as a Pava teapot or a gooseneck kettle.

What types of Argentinian mate are there?

Curiously, the Argentine mate is not the actual herb that is infused (that is known as yerba mate) but the container. And there are many types of Argentinian Mate; depending on the material, they are made of pumpkin, silver, glass, metal.

They all serve the same purpose, but logically there are differences in quality depending on whether we choose one type of mate or another. Here we are going to review the most popular ones (there are countless models and variants):

Gourd mate

Gourd Mate is the most typical and handmade. They are made from the cured rind of the gourd (which is quite hard), and for that reason, they vary in shape and size, depending on what the original fruit is like.

The main disadvantage of the gourd mates is that you have to be more careful with their cleaning and maintenance: you have to cure them before using them for the first time, and you have to clean and dry them carefully after each use.

You can also find gourd mates that are lined with leather, wood or other materials for ornamental purposes.

Silver or alpaca mate

Generally, silver or alpaca mates are also made from the gourd. The difference is that the silver ornaments are added afterwards, almost always in a handmade way, on the mouth and waist. They are more eye-catching mates, to show them off well.

We can also find alpaca or 100% silver mates. They are much less frequent, and also more expensive, of course.

Argentinian wooden mates

If you prefer the traditional mate starters, apart from the gourd ones, you also have the option to buy a wooden mate. Generally, wooden mate starters are made of palo santo, a wild tree native to the Caribbean and Central America.

Please note that when you buy a wooden mate starter, some come with the bombilla included, and this is always made of metal (not wood).

Stainless steel Argentinian mate

Finally, we highlight the stainless steel mate starters. These are less traditional and respond to more industrial production, but they are also more resistant and practical in different situations.

For example, a steel mate starter can be easily cleaned in your dishwasher and will better resist the knocks and falls that always occur in everyday life, especially if you carry your mate with you everywhere.

Bombillas for Argentinian mate

The bombilla, as we have said before, is the straw for drinking mate, and it is usually made of stainless steel, although originally they were made of cane. Although many mates already have it incorporated, the bombilla for Mate can always be bought separately, of course.

It consists of three distinct elements: the filter at the bottom, the tube or central body, and the mouthpiece through which we suck, which is called the spout.

The best Argentinian mate kit on Amazon

In the world of Mate, there are as many opinions and tastes as there are consumers, so everyone has their own preferences: smaller or bigger mates, gourd or wood, etcetera. If we add to this the fact that there are multiple variations when it comes to brewing the infusion (sweeter, more bitter) and that each one can be better in one type of mate or another, the possibilities are endless.

For this reason, when choosing the best Argentinian mate, we are going to opt for a kit that is complete and of good quality, without paying too much attention to the material it is made of.

We have opted for a model that is not too traditional but rather modern in style: a stainless steel mate that has a hot-cold thermal effect. It is a large mate, 11 cm high and 8 cm in diameter (approx. 35 cl), dishwasher safe, and comes complete with all the necessary equipment:

  • Two bombillas of different styles.
  • Cleaning brush.
  • Lid with hole for the bulb.

How is Argentine mate made?

The time needed: 5 minutes.

It is not the main purpose of this article. Still, we are going to learn how to prepare Argentine Mate following some basic steps (mate priming is a process with many variations and opinions, so take it only as a reference).

1. We take our mate and fill it with yerba about three-quarters of its capacity

You can use a little more or a little less, according to your taste, but always more than 50% of the capacity of the mate.

2. We remove the dust from the yerba mate

The smallest particles in the yerba mate will not help the infusion and should be removed. The most common way is to cover the mate with your hand, turn it upside down and shake it well.

3. Add the hot water (close to boiling, but not fully boiled because it will burn the leaves)

It is usually recommended not to wet all the yerba at once, so it is advisable to tilt the contents of the mate at a 45º angle beforehand and pour the water only in the area where the yerba is lower. If you can even get all the yerba to stay on one side of the mate, even better. The idea is that the dry yerba is on top, floating on top of the water. Important: the water should be at a temperature of 80º or so. If you exceed this temperature, the mate will be too bitter.

4. Continue priming the mate

As you take sips or gulps of your infusion, you should add more water so that all the yerba mate gets wet. This is known as priming the mate. Remember that the water is always poured on the side where there is no yerba mate so that the yerba mate only gets wet on the bottom.

Where can I buy yerba mate?

Well, as you can imagine, there is yerba mate of good, bad or fair quality—a lot of varieties and brands. And personal taste also comes into play, so it will never be possible to agree on this subject.

A few years ago, it was almost impossible to buy yerba mate in many countries unless you went to a local shop hyper-specialised in Argentinian products or run by Argentinian owners. But little by little, this has been changing, and today you can find yerba mate in the international products sections of some large supermarkets. We cannot give you an informed opinion on its quality.

But of course, you also have the option to buy your yerba mate on Amazon. Here you have the advantage that you have access to a wider range of brands and types of mate:

Yerba Mate Rosamonte with stems 1KG
Yerba Mate Rosamonte with stems 1KG
1 kg of pure Yerba Mate with stems; Traditional South American Herbal Tea; Can give you energy
Yerba Mate Playadito 1 Kilo Loose Leaf Tea With Stems
Yerba Mate Playadito 1 Kilo Loose Leaf Tea With Stems
1kg of pure Yerba Mate; Popular South American Herbal Tea; Contains Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants