How to Prepare and Drink Mate: A Complete Guide for Beginners

At, we love sharing the best of Argentine culture. That's why in this post, we want to teach you how to prepare and drink mate, the items you need, and the customs you should respect to do it like a local.

Mate is a very popular drink in Argentina, and it's more than just an infusion. It's a tradition that brings people together and is part of Argentine culture.

It's prepared with yerba mate leaves and hot water, and it's consumed through a straw in a cup called a mate.

It's a social beverage that is shared among friends and family, creating moments of conversation and friendship.

For Argentinians, mate is a symbol of hospitality, warmth, and generosity. So, give it a try and discover an Argentine tradition full of flavor and camaraderie!

How to prepare Mate


Items needed to prepare mate

To prepare mate, you need these basic items: yerba mate, a mate cup or container, hot water, and a straw

Yerba mate is a herb placed inside the mate cup and used to make the infusion. There are various varieties available. At, we have many options to offer.

The mate cup is a type of cup usually made of gourd, wood, porcelain, glass, silicone, or metal, where the yerba mate is placed and hot water is poured. There is also a wide variety of mate cups, which we'll explain in this post:

Different types of mate cups: Pros and Cons

The hot water is kept in a kettle, where it was previously heated, or it can be stored in a thermos with a pouring spout and served from there. At, we have a great variety of thermoses.

Lastly, the straw is a metal tube with a filter at one end, used to drink mate without swallowing the leaves. With these items, you're ready to enjoy a good Argentine mate!


Steps to prepare and drink mate correctly


Take your mate cup and make sure it's clean and dry. Then, fill it approximately three-quarters full with yerba mate, leaving some empty space on one side.



Shake the mate cup so that the leaves, stems, and dust of the yerba mate settle evenly. Tilt the mate cup at a 45-degree angle so that the yerba accumulates on one side.



In the empty space left, pour a small stream of warm water. Let it rest for a few seconds while keeping the yerba tilted. This will help the wet portion swell.

This way, the structure of the mate is maintained, and the entire yerba doesn't get soaked at once. It's the way to make the flavor last longer.


Place the straw in the empty space, making sure the filtered end is submerged in the yerba.



Slowly pour hot water from your thermos or kettle (not boiling, 70 to 80°C/160 to 175ºF) into the empty space, allowing the yerba to soak. Let it rest for a few seconds to hydrate the leaves.


Take small sips without moving the straw, letting the hot water flow through the filter. Try to pour the water close to the straw, so the entire yerba doesn't get soaked at once.

Try not to stop refilling the mate so it doesn't cool down. Additionally, this can make the yerba taste very bitter.

Now, enjoy this delicious and traditional Argentine drink!

Customs and Traditions of Mate

While there isn't a manual on how to drink mate, we'll explain some universal customs for sharing this traditional Argentine drink.

  • Once the round starts, turns should be respected. It's considered impolite to skip someone.
  • The person who starts serving (cebando) is responsible for doing so throughout the entire round (usually until the water runs out). This person is the cebador.
  • When you don't want to drink more, say "gracias" (thank you). From that point on, you won't be offered mate anymore.
  • Don't move the straw. That can break the structure of the mate and make it lose flavor faster. Keep it still and pour the water close to it, gradually wetting the surrounding yerba (but not completely).


Lastly, we want to share a short text that summarizes what mate means:


It's camaraderie turned into a moment.

It's the modesty of the one who serves the best mate.

It's the generosity of giving until the end.

It's the hospitality of the invitation.

It's the fairness of one by one.

It's the obligation to say "thank you," at least once a day.

It's the ethical, frank, and loyal attitude of coming together, with no greater pretensions than sharing.

We hope this article has helped you learn how to prepare and drink yerba mate. At, you'll find everything you need to prepare it and the best tips to become a professional cebador.

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