The traditional yerba mate infusion cannot be separated from the container used to drink it: the mate. It has become a symbol, a collectible item, a family heirloom. That's why we want to show you the different types of mates that exist and the pros and cons of each.
While the most traditional container has always been the gourd, over time mates made from various materials have emerged. Some are more durable, others easier to clean, and there are also some very sophisticated ones.
We will see the different mate cups and their materials. We'll discuss the pros and cons of each option.. This will help you choose the best one for you.
The gourd mate is the most traditional according to the Chronicles of the Conquest of America.
First, a ripe and dry gourd is selected, preferably from a specific variety such as the calabash gourd. Then, an opening is cut at the top and the seeds and pulp inside are removed. Next, it is sanded and shaped to create a cavity where the yerba will be placed. Finally, it is cured and treated in some way, such as curing it with damp yerba, to improve its durability and flavor.
- Excellent ability to maintain the water temperature for a longer time.
- The gourd absorbs the flavors and aromas of the yerba, adding a special touch when it is prepared in it.
- Requires special care as it can break if dropped or hit.
- Proper maintenance involves regular cleaning and curing to prevent residue buildup and ensure optimal flavor.
- When washing it, it should be left to dry upside down to prevent damage from excessive moisture and the appearance of fungi.
The glass mate is another way to have a suitable container for drinking this infusion. The production of glass mate involves the fusion and molding of glass into a suitable shape to hold the yerba. Then, it is given a smooth finish and cooled to obtain the final product.
The glass used to make these is durable and resistant to high temperatures. It can be decorated in many ways.
- Very good ability to maintain the water temperature for an extended period.
- Glass does not alter the flavor of the yerba, allowing its aroma and taste to be appreciated more authentically.
- Very easy to clean and transport.
- May be more fragile and prone to breakage compared to other materials.
- Can be slippery when held, making handling more difficult.
The silicone mate is a very modern way of drinking mate. This material is used because it is affordable to produce, durable, and easy to decorate. The production of silicone mate involves mixing and molding the silicone into a suitable shape to hold the yerba. Then, a curing process takes place where it solidifies and gives it the final shape.
The silicone used in these mates is heat resistant and does not release toxic substances when in contact with hot liquids.
- Durability and resistance, as this material is less prone to breakage compared to other types of mates.
- Silicone is a non-porous material, making it easy to clean and preventing the accumulation of unwanted flavors and odors.
- Flexibility, making it easier to transport and handle.
- Does not transfer heat, avoiding burns when holding a hot mate.
- Does not retain the water temperature as well as other materials.
- Some users may experience a slightly different taste due to the contact of hot water with the silicone.
Another good material is metal. It is manufactured with a metal structure, usually stainless steel, which is resistant and durable. However, imagination, creativity, and luxury also come into play. In some traditional Argentine families, it was not uncommon to find a mate made of silver.
- Ability to maintain the water temperature for a long time.
- Easy to clean material that does not absorb flavors or odors.
- Very durable and difficult to break.
- Elegant and modern appearance.
- Conducts heat, so if the water is very hot, it can burn or make it uncomfortable to hold.
- Some people may find that it slightly alters the taste.
- Easy to clean and transport.
Another traditional way to drink this infusion is in a wooden mate. It is made by carving or shaping selected wood, such as carob or mahogany, and decorating it with engravings or inlays.
- They have a distinctive and natural flavor that can enhance the drinking experience.
- They have the ability to maintain the water temperature for an extended period.
- They are not easy to break and are easily portable.
- They have a pleasant rustic appearance.
- They must be properly cleaned and kept dry to prevent mold formation or wood deterioration.
- Over time, they may warp or crack.
Ceramic is a widely used material for make this recipients. Ceramic is versatile and obtained by firing clay at high temperatures, which gives it strength and durability. It can be painted on, making it easy to decorate.
- Great ability to retain heat.
- Ceramic does not affect the flavor of the yerba, allowing the original aroma and taste to be appreciated.
- Wide variety of designs and styles, making it easier to find a ceramic mate that suits personal taste.
- Can be more fragile compared to other materials. It should be handled with care to avoid possible breakage.
- Some ceramic mates may be heavier, which can affect transportation.
Although it may sound strange, porcelain is also used to create very elegant mates. Porcelain is a fine and delicate ceramic material known for its beauty and strength. It is well-known for its ease of decoration and cleaning.
The production of porcelain cups involves mixing clay and other minerals, followed by a molding and firing process at high temperatures. This results in a mate gourd with a smooth texture and a sophisticated appearance.
- Excellent for maintaining the temperature of hot water, allowing the mate to stay warm for longer.
- Porcelain is a non-porous material, meaning it does not absorb flavors or odors.
- It lends itself to a wide range of designs and finishes, making it easier to choose a mate that suits personal taste and can also serve as a decorative piece.
- Can be more fragile compared to other materials. Care should be taken when handling it to avoid breakage.
- Porcelain conducts heat, so caution is needed when holding a hot mate.
Horn or Guampa Mate
The horn mate, also known as guampa, it is made from animal horns, such as cattle horns, which are carved and prepared to become a unique piece.
The production of the horn mate involves a handmade process. First, a suitable horn is selected and emptied of its internal contents. Then, it is sanded and shaped to create a cavity where the yerba will be placed. Finally, it is polished and treated with a protective coating, such as natural oil.
- This material has the ability to maintain the water temperature, allowing the yerba to stay hot.
- It is appreciated for its rustic and natural aesthetics, which adds a unique touch to this experience.
- They are very durable and difficult to break.
- Proper cleaning is recommended after each use and avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures or sudden changes in humidity to prevent damage to its structure.
- Due to its animal origin, some people may have ethical or personal preference reservations when using this type of recipient.
Plastic is everywhere, even in mate. These containers are made by manufacturing a structure of sturdy and food-safe plastic.
The production of the plastic mate involves injecting liquid plastic into a mold to shape the piece. Then, a cooling and hardening process is carried out to obtain the final product. It is important to note that food-grade plastics free of harmful substances are used.
- It is a lightweight and durable material, making it easy to transport and ideal for outdoor activities.
- It is easy to clean and does not absorb flavors or odors, ensuring a pure and unaltered experience.
- It has great durability. Unlike more fragile materials, plastic is less prone to breaking or chipping, making it a long-lasting option.
- It can slightly affect the taste of the mate, especially if it is of low quality.
- Some users may have environmental concerns due to the use of plastic, although there are recyclable and reusable plastic options to reduce the negative impact.
What to consider when choosing a mate
As you may have noticed, there are many types of mates. So, to choose the one that best suits your needs, you need to consider some aspects:
In what circumstances you will use the mate
If you are going outdoors, for example, it is advisable not to bring a glass, ceramic, or porcelain mate as the chances of breaking are higher.
How much you plan to spend
Metal mates, especially if they are highly crafted, tend to be more expensive. On the other hand, silicone or plastic mates are cheaper.
How decorated you want your mate to be
Some mates are true works of art. But if you feel sorry for using them every day and save them for special occasions, then you need to think whether you want them more for decoration or for everyday use.
Whether you prefer it to impart flavor to the yerba or not
Wooden mates and calabash gourds are porous materials that absorb the flavor of the yerba and then alter the taste of subsequent mates brewed in them. Therefore, if you prefer them not to impart flavor to the yerba, you should choose silicone, ceramic, glass, or other materials.
There are mates made of mixed materials
These mates have a covering of one material (metal, leather, plastic) and the interior is made of another (calabash, glass, silicone, etc.). You should consider the properties of both materials when buying the one that best suits your needs.
You can visit our store to find your favourite mate.
We hope that this article about the different types of mates available is useful to you and helps you choose your morning and afternoon companion: your mate.
If you have any questions or inquiries, feel free to write to us. We are always here for our community.