[I'm collaborating on a three-part series with Argentinian Yerba Mate. Over the course of the next few months we'll explore how to make/drink yerba mate, origins of the brew, and ways to work with yerba mate as an ingredient. Hope you enjoy Part I today ^-^]
Ever since that one afternoon in Mendoza (scroll to the middle of the post), I've had an eye out for Argentinian yerba mate wherever I go. It's not as common in the US, so I often brew yerba mate at home. Always during the day, and with a good snack.
Argentina is the world's leading producer of Yerba mate. It's also happens to be the country's national drink.
The crushed leaves come from the yerba mate tree, an evergreen plant native to the Misiones Province of Argentina. The production process of the leaves is 100% natural and the name yerba mate is a combination of yerba ('herb' in Spanish) and mate (the name of the infusion).
Tradition (this drink is centuries old) calls for yerba mate to be made in a gourd, but I like to simplify things with...
...a French press. Scoop in a heaping tablespoon of the yerba mate...
...pour in the hot water (I like it at 175F temp), and let steep for 3-4 minutes. Quantity, water temperature (just not too hot or you'll burn the leaves) and brew time is flexible. Taste and tweak to personal preference. Some days I like it stronger and more vibrant, other days I like it lighter (especially when I'm drink lots of yerba mate throughout the day).
Yerba mate is unique in that you get the feel and flavors of tea (think matcha and pure green teas), but the energy comes to you like coffee. A bit of both worlds.
Pour out and enjoy...
...this time with Hawaii-style mochi. I'm often traveling and love finding local snacks that best match the tea/herbal brew I'm drinking on any given day. These chi chi dango mochi are from one of my favorite local mochi shops. Soft with a slight, chewy bounce. The subtle sweet notes are a good balance for all the vegetal, herbaceous flavors of the yerba mate.
Argentinian yerba mate and mochi on a Tuesday afternoon, no complaints ^-^