The Terminology of Yerba Mate
As you might guess by now, there is a huge culture around mate and with it comes a number of specific terms. Here are some of them that can ease you into the matero’s world.
Bombilla: A bombilla is a special metal straw that has a flat bulb-shape strainer at the end. Originally made of cane and later out of silver, nowadays is made out of stainless steel or alpaca metal.
Cebador: The ‘cebador’ (masc.) or ‘cebadora’ (fem.) is the person that ‘ceba’ (serves) the mate in a group of people.
Cebar: To pour hot water on the mate to infuse it.
Camisinha: A linen bag used with a straw to prevent clogging while drinking.
Chimarrão or Cimarrón: traditional hot mate. ‘Cimarrón’ is the Spanish translation of the portuguese word ‘chimarrão’.
Erva-mate: Portugese for Yerba Mate. Often associated with chimarrão.
Curar: Translated as ‘to cure’ the mate, it is a process done before start using the mate cups made of wood or gourd. It is done to close the pores of the cup and avoid that the taste of the container itself affect the taste of the mate. It also helps prevent mold.
Guampa: A type of mate cup made out of cow horns.
Limpia-bombilla: bombilla cleaner, similar to a pipe cleaning brush, usually made of thin, flexible metal and a brush at the end.
Mate: A caffeinated drink made of leaves and stems of Yerba mate (I. paraguariensis) and usually, hot water. Mate is a drink that has been consumed for centuries and that is very popular in South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil (known as chimarrão), Paraguay and Uruguay. / Referring to the gourd, a container used to drink the beverage with the same name. Also called calabaza or porongo.
Mate Cocido: Translated as ‘boiled mate’ or ‘mate tea’ is a way of preparing the mate as it would be done with other types of teas or infusion.
Mate de Leche: Mate that is prepared just like the traditional hot mate but using hot milk instead of water.
Mate Dulce: Mate with sugar.
Mate Lavado: Translated as ‘washed out mate’, it is the term used when the mate has lost its flavor.
Mateada: a meeting where people get together to drink mate.
Matear: To drink mate for a long period of time. Also called yerbear.
Matero or Mateador (masc.) A person that enjoys drinking mate.
Matera or Mateadora (fem.) A person that enjoys drinking mate. / Special bag designed to carry the tools used to drink mate, such as mate gourd, bombilla, and thermos.
Mateando: To take part in drinking yerba mate.
Pava: A (usually) metal pot used to boil water. Also called caldera.
Tereré: Mate that is prepared with cold or iced water.
Termo: Vacuum flask used to keep the water hot.
Yerba / Yerba Mate: The product obtained after toasting and grinding the leaves of I. paraguariensis, used to drink mate.
Yerba Mate Compuesta: The term ‘compuesta’ refers to a mate blend that is formed by at least 60% of yerba and a maximum of 40% of herbs such as mint, thyme, sage, pennyroyal and rosemary.
Vira-mate: Circular disk that is often used to cover the top of the cup for preparing chimarrão.
Yuyos: Added ingredients to mate like ginger, cinnamon, orange peels, or herbs to make it sweeter.