Sunday, October 15, 2006


Did the Evil Freezer Kill my Yerba?

In a perfect world our freezers would be the driest places: cold and dry. We all know that is not what happens; they are cooling/thawing creators of grotesque rime ice and stalactites. [Stalactites made of ice have another name and I'd appreciate an ice cave explorer or scientist to give me the appropriate word.] Our refrigerators look dry but are more like coastal Alaska. Coastal Alaska is not the recommended place to store your yerba. Scratch off your list other beautiful places like the fjords of Norway, the Straits of Magellan, etc.

In fact you might better try the Peruvian Altiplano... but that could be inconvenient. Nevertheless dry is imperitive and cool is nice; but dry above all. A glass jar in the pantry is just fine. We opt for the bag on the shelf... but then we are not going to let it sit there for long.

What web site told you this was the way to store your yerba? Holy mackeral. Was it a tea site? A coffee site?

Just about everyone keeps their coffee beans in the freezer--so what's with that?
The difference is that coffee is full of aromatic grease and fat which hold its wonderful, heady aroma--and you need to keep these fats from getting rancid (though trust me they will not do it as fast as... say... the neighbor's zucchini bread loaves they keep bringing over. They are made with "Splenda" and we are thinking of building a house with them.) Yerba mate, in comparison, has very little fatty substance and doesn't require this kind of treatment.

If you have subjected your tea to these kinds of refrigerator tortures for only a short while the tea is probably fine; wipe the rime ice off, let it dry, have a couple of mates, and then lazily put it up on the shelf. Breathe easy, relax, unwind, learn some Spanish off of the label, ponder the fact that your mate never tastes the same twice, get wired, have a good talk; write if you have any further questions.

The Great Yerbini

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Saturday, October 14, 2006


Help! I'm Getting Leaf up my Bombilla!

I'm using an eco-friendly bamboo bombilla and I get bits of leaf coming throught the straw... should I have bought a metal one?

I don't think you need a metal bombilla to remedy your problem. The bamboo bombillas work admirably.

Many things may be occurring...

1) The yerba you are using could be high in powder content... or you are close to the end of the bag--where a lot of powder has sifted down to. If this is the case it might be good to fill the mate 2/3 full of yerba and then (before adding water or the bombilla) place your palm over the mouth of the mate, turn it upside down, and shake vigorously a dozen times or so: this will help get the powder up to the top of the mate. (We often relegate our low bags to a stove-top "mate cocido" bag--of yerba only used for that purpose.)

2) When placing the bombilla into the mate pour a little warm water into the low spot of the tea leaves (not wetting all of the yerba) and put your thumb over the tip of the bombilla before thrusting it down into the wet area of the tea, and to the bottom of the gourd. This will help keep tea from getting forced into the bombilla when you push it into the tea.

3) NEVER MOVE THE BOMBILLA AROUND IN THE MATE AFTER DRINKING HAS COMMENCED. ESPECIALLY NEVER MOVE IT IF YOU ARE DRINKING SOMEONE ELSE'S MATE THEY POURED FOR YOU. This kind of action, besides being a cultural taboo, is also likely to make air and water pockets in the tea which stir up powder and allow it to enter the bombilla. The tea around the bombilla, if you think about it, does a lot of the straining of material as well.

If these tips don't achieve any positive results let the Great Yerbini know. You can always order a tea filter bag for the end of the bombilla. What kind/brand of yerba mate tea are you experiencing this with?

at your service,

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