How to Brew Yerba Mate Ice Tea (Tereré)

iced yerba mate

Learning how to brew yerba mate ice tea is easy. Add loose-leaf yerba mate to a french press or teapot with a strainer, add cold water, and allow to cold brew for 15 minutes. You can also hot brew the mate first, then allow to cool in the fridge before adding ice.

Read on to learn more…

Yerba mate ice tea is the national beverage of Paraguay. Yes, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil (Southern), have also made it their national beverage of choice. (See how great this plant is?) However, Paraguay is the reigning champ when it comes to tereré, or what we’d simply call cold yerba mate. Paraguay is the Tony Soprano of yerba mate.

Traditionally, yerba mate ice tea is consumed from a mate gourd, or guampa. The raw herb (yerba) is added to the vessel—sometimes with the inclusion of additional herbs— and cold ice water and juice are poured into the gourd, then drunk with a traditional metal straw with a filter called a bombilla.

Brewing cold yerba mate is refreshing and restorative during the humid summer months. Charged with vitamins, minerals, and generous amounts of antioxidants, yerba mate is no second contender when it comes to healthy beverages. Even a cursory look into its myriad health benefits will have anyone convinced of its efficacy as a healing herb and social drink.

How to Brew Cold Yerba Mate

I have adapted the traditional method of brewing tereré yerba mate. Instead of adding cold water to the yerba, I prefer to brew the yerba mate with hot water first, then let it cool, then pour to drink. The hot water achieves maximum extraction of the mates nutrients; if you only use cold water, then you miss some of the health properties. This can be accomplished with the following tools (mateware):

Step 1. Heat 1 Liter of water to about 160ºF (never boiling).

Step 2. Add 5 grams of yerba mate (1 heaping teaspoon) per 8oz of water to a frenchpress (i.e., add 4–5 teaspoons to a 32oz frenchpress or tea infester).

Step 3. Brew your yerba mate for 5–10 minutes, then pour into a pitcher and allow to cool down (15 minutes min.).

You can now serve your cold yerba mate over ice or place in the fridge to get colder. Experiment by adding some natural sweeteners (agave, raw honey, etc.) or some fresh mint and lemon verbena leaves.

Below are several videos with various methods from cold brewing; heating then cooling method; and the iced tea in a french press method: