Mate Factor Hand Carved Yerba Mate Drinking Gourd Argentina Sun Design
Mate Factor Hand Carved Yerba Mate Drinking Gourd Argentina Sun Design is made in traditional Brazilian Gaucho style. The Yerba Mate gourd, known as cabaça, calabaza, cuia or porongo, is made from the fruit of a gourd vine (Iagenaria vulgaris, cucurbitaceous family). Its preferred size and shape vary from region to region. These natural gourds are widely tailored and decorated, taking on various forms and colors, according to each gaucho's taste.
Mate Factor gourds are harvested and prepared in the traditional fashion, naturally treated and individually decorated on the outside by a craftsman. The finished gourd, being natural, will have its own unique characteristics. Both on the inside and on the outside the gourd may show dark brown or grey stains that characterize the plant. These should not be seen as deformities or blemishes in the gourd, but as natural markings.
How to Cure Your Yerba Mate Gourd
For your gourd to be ready for use, it needs to be cured. This helps prevent cracking, molding, and improves the flavor. You will notice that the longer you use your gourd, the better your Yerba mate will taste.
Fill the gourd half-way with Yerba Mate. Pour hot (not boiling) water into the gourd until it is full. Warning: boiling water may crack your gourd. Let the gourd sit in a well-ventilated place for 24 hours, topping it off with water as the gourd absorbs it. Then pour out the contents of the gourd and rinse thoroughly in running water. Your gourd is ready for use!
Taking Good Care of Your Yerba Mate Gourd
After you have cured your gourd and are using it, it is essential that you know how to take good care of it. A good gourd should last you a long time, giving you years of flavorful yerba mate drinking. First of all, the gourd should never be dropped. Although it may not look delicate, the gourd is like a piece of fine china. If dropped or abused, small cracks may begin to form which increase with time, creating leaks and compromising your gourd.
The gourd is also prone to mold if not dried correctly. To keep you gourd dry between uses, rinse it out well with running water and position it in a well-ventilated, warm place, preferably at a 45° angle so that the circulating air flows through the gourd. Optionally, reserve a cotton cloth to dry the excess water after rinsing the gourd. In case signs of mold (usually white or black "furry" spots) do appear once the gourd is cured, rinse the gourd in scalding water. You may, as an option, use a little hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), then rinse thoroughly with water. Cure the gourd with ashes again to remove and destroy any residue left by the mold.
If you are prone to have allergic reactions to molds, do not try to reuse the gourd. The Mate Factor is not responsible for personal health problems acquired through the misuse of gourds, the failure to follow the instructions above, or the use of a gourd once it has molded. The instructions provided in case of mold are intended to instruct our customers on how the native peoples traditionally deal with molding gourds.
The Yerba Mate Plant
Read about the qualities of Yerba Mate, the amazing herb from South America
The yerba mate plant, which is really a tree, is an evergreen from the Holly family that grows in the subtropical forests of South America. The yerba mate tree, from the Aquifoliacae family, stands between 6 to 8 meters tall, being able to reach even 15 meters. There are many different species in the family, the Ilex gender having more than 550, the holly plant included, 280 species found in South America, 60 of which occur in southern Brazil. Only 3 species though are used in the mate industry (I. paraguariensis, I. angustifolia, I. amara), Ilex Paraguariensis being the most important. The mate plant, due to the widespread genetic variety of the Ilex family, may have white or light purple stems, and thick waxy leaves that may present dented or smooth edges.
The amount of xanthene alkaloids in the leaves of maté is believed to be directly related to the quality of the soil. This influences the flavor of the yerba mate giving it a milder taste. This flavor varies from region to region, the soil of southern Brazil presenting drastic variations in mineral content, texture, and organic mass. The tendency though, is for the cultivated maté to have a stronger bitterness, and probably higher xanthene content. The native trees, which grow in the nitrogen-rich topsoil of the Paraná Pine forests, tend to have a milder bitterness, characterized by a stronger leafy flavor. Obtaining the right balance of these is the secret to having a stable, fresh tasting yerba mate.
Size and Shape of the Trees and Leaves
The factor that characterizes the size and shape of the yerba mate trees is the amount of sunlight received. In the dense subtropical forest, the fight for sunlight has developed the trees so that they have long slender trunks with a large leafy top. This applies to the native yerba mate trees, which develop a longer trunk, reaching 45 feet tall to reach the sunlight. The cultivated trees are pruned to spread, creating large bushes, which rarely develop large trunks. They are carefully harvested each season to maintain the bush-like shape which eases the labor in harvesting.
The leaves also present a difference in size and shape. The native leaves are usually smaller and darker in color. The cultivated leaves are larger, and occasionally, the serrated edge of the leaf becomes less evident.
Growing Mate Organically
One of the obstacles faced by cultivated yerba mate is the weeds. The use of herbicides is widespread in cultivated areas, therefore posing threats to the natural balance of the subtropical forests and grasslands. For this reason, we have also chosen yerba mate plantations that are surrounded by native forest. This avoids all possibility of contamination. The International Organic Regulations are followed in all of our certified plantations.
Native yerba mate doesn't face the same challenge, as the weeds do not grow in the dense forest. Most native yerba mate is, by default, organic. We have all our native yerba mate areas certified though, and conduct extraction in a manner that doesn't damage the other vegetation in the forest.
The Mate Factor Difference
Mate Factor Yerba Mate is Fresh
Processed in Low Heat with No Smoky Flavor
In order to preserve as many fresh nutrients as possible as well as the bright green flavor of the herb we do not age our yerba mate like other mate companies do. Most yerba mate sold in the USA is aged for 1-2 years before being packaged, according to cultural traditions from Paraguay, Uraguay and Argentina. However, in Brazil, yerba mate is commonly preferred as fresh as possible. The Mate Factor prefers this style, since it preserves the life-giving nutrients and the fresh green taste our customers love.
They have spent years perfecting the "art" of creating delicately delicious Yerba Mate. They have painstakingly learned the vast array of factors that control the final flavor and vibrance, in order to produce the best tasting, most nutritious yerba mate tea possible!
Processing their Yerba Mate immediately upon harvest, Mate Factor mate is vacuum packed into triple barrier freshness sealed bags. Onced the process is completed, their mate is trucked to port in order to be shipped out immediately. They do this because they love fresh Yerba Mate!
They cure their yerba mate using the CleanHeat method we developed that keeps the Yerba Mate free from smoke, preserving the vital nutrients & natural flavor of our herb. Their process protects the natural enzymes that exist in Yerba Mate, insuring that the plant never reaches temperatures that would damage the natural constituents. This careful process produces a bright, smooth flavor that makes Mate Factor Mate superb not only by itself, but as a base for blending your own drinks, hot or cold.
Generous Portions & Quality Ingredients
They offer generous portions in both our tea bags and loose teas. Our tea bags weigh 3.5 grams each DOUBLE the size of many tea bags on the market, producing a fuller effect.
Their loose teas come in a generous 12 oz bag, making approximately 4 gallons of organic yerba mate tea. They spare no effort in finding the highest quality herbs and spices to use in our flavored mate teas.
100% Certified Organic Yerba Mate
They use 100% percent certified organic Yerba Mate, responsibly grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, preserving the environment where their Yerba Mate is grown. They gather Yerba Mate from different regions with specific characteristics to achieve their special green flavor.
Farmer Friendly - Fairly Traded
Their company was founded on helping the producers earn a fair wage for their labor. They enjoy a personal, mutually beneficial relationship with their producers and have worked together closely in promoting organics in both the United States and Brazil.
Harvesting and Processing
After the yerba mate trees have reached 4-6 years old, they are ready to begin being harvested. At this point, cultivated yerba mate trees are around 4-5 meters tall and of almost the same diameter, native yerba mate trees may reach up to 15 meters tall and 3-4 in diameter. The harvest occurs once every 2 years, in a rotating system, where only a part of the plantation is harvested at a time, providing a constant supply of leaves and giving the yerba mate trees 2 years to replace the growth lost in the pruning. The native yerba mate trees may be harvested at any time of the year, but only every 3 or 4 years, unlike the cultivated yerba mate trees which are harvested at the end of winter.
The workers that gather the yerba mate leaves are from experienced families, being trained to harvest the yerba mate, pruning the trees the right way, a skill that has been passed down in these families for many years. They spread a white nylon tarp or sheet on the ground around the yerba mate tree to prevent prolonged contact with the ground and cut the branches. They then cut out the larger sticks leaving only the smaller branches and bundle them up in the tarps, loading them for transport to the processing plant.
Special care is applied so that the tree is not hurt during the harvest. Shortly after harvest the yerba mate trees put out new shoots, which is the growth harvested 2 years later. The harvest time does determine the flavor of the yerba mate, as well as its nutritional properties, especially its stimulant content. Yerba mate leaves gathered in February and March tend to have a notably higher stimulating effect than the leaves gathered in September, but they also tend to have a bitterer flavor, as the new buds are then emerging.
When they arrive at the yerba mate processing plant, the branches are spread on a conveyor belt that carries them to the hopper of what is called in Portuguese a "Sapecador" (Saw-pa-caw-door). There the branches fall through the leaping flames of a fire. This fire is made our proprietary Cleanheat System , so that the yerba mate leaves do not come in contact with the dense smoke that results in traditional wood fires. This process heats the surface of the leaf to 400°C for fractions of a second, breaking a thin film of protective enzymes that coats the surface of the leaf. These enzymes, peroxidase and polifenoloxidase would otherwise hinder the evaporation of the water content and cause oxidation in the leaves during the remaining drying process, rendering it useless. This process also removes microorganisms that could otherwise cause fermentation and contamination in the product. This does not heat the inner part of the yerba mate leaf over 65°C leaving the nutritional properties intact.
The yerba mate leaves and branches then roll through a spinning cylinder through which Cleanheat is blown, maintaining the leaves under a controlled temperature to initiate the dehydration. When they leave this first cylinder the leaves and branches are crushed to reduce them to a size that will quicken the dehydration. They then enter the dehydration cylinder, a triple spinning cylinder where they travel back and forth three times, all the while being drafted with warm air from our Cleanheat. The temperature in this cylinder is lower than the previous one, enabling an even drying of the yerba mate leaves.
After running the dehydration system the yerba mate leaves are cut, sifted and remixed to match the specific cut's specifications of leaf size, leaf powder percentage etc. We combine percentages of native yerba mate and cultivated yerba mate to reach the desired flavor.
The yerba mate then sits for at least 24 hours to let the rest of the humidity evaporate. It then is packaged in 2.5kg and 340g triple layer bags for prolonged freshness, or in larger bags for the bulk market. In our triple-layer bags, the yerba mate can be maintained in a stable condition for more than two years, maintaining intact the nutritional properties. The triple-layer package serves as a barrier to oxygen and light, the main sources of oxidation.
Studies have shown that the properties of yerba mate suffer little variation during this process; the mineral percentage actually concentrates due to the evaporation of the water. There were variations observed in yerba mate that had been exposed to the smoke of the traditional log fires used to dry yerba mate. These we have stabilized with our Cleanheat system, in order to preserve the full nutrition of the original leaf.
Yerba Mate Nutrition
Botanical Name: Ilex Paraguariensis (Part of the Holly Family)
Minerals Richly Found in Yerba Maté that Support Metabolism and Development
More Antioxidants than Green Tea - Antioxidants in Yerba Mate
Studies show Yerba Mate to be higher in antioxidants than Green Tea. Partially responsible for this is the high levels of polyphenols found in Yerba Mate. Polyphenols are indicated to perform similarly to the 293 natural antioxidant enzymes in the body, and are believed to support these natural health promoting systems.
Largely responsible for the high antioxidant value of Yerba Mate are the very high levels of caffeoyl derivatives found in Mate compared to other plants. These include caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, 3, 4-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3, 5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, and 4, 5-dicaffeoylquinic acid.
Polyphenols in Yerba Mate:
- Caffeic Acid
- Caffeoyl Derivatives
- Caffeoylshikimic Acid
- Chlorogenic Acid
- Feruloylquinic Acid
- Quinic Acid
The Healthy Energizer
The energizing effects of Yerba Mate are longer lasting than traditional caffeine beverages, and are found by most to be free from side effects such as, the jitters, mood swings, addiction, and post stimulation fatigue. The bottom line is, Yerba Mate gives you energy that really feels good.
Yerba Mate has 3 xanthine alkaloids, working together with a rich host of nutritional components, creating the unique healthy energizing effect. The xanthines are caffeine, theobromine and Theophylline. Mate is low in caffeine, and theophylline, yet high in theobromine, which has less effect on your nervous system than caffeine. A hypothesis exists that Yerba Mate contains its own unique xanthine alkaloid that hasn't been clinically identified yet.
Anecdotally, the overwhelming majority have reported that Yerba Mate does not give them the healthy problems they experience from coffee. Many who have had problems with caffeine and desire to get off of it, find Yerba Mate to be the answer they were looking for.
Yerba Mate & Weight Loss
Yerba Mate is believed to aid in weight loss and has growing interest in those studying obesity control. Studies cite Yerba Mate to potentially interfere with cholesterol metabolism and delay intestinal absorption of dietary fat. Obese men and women consuming Mate tea have shown a decrease in respiratory quotient (RQ), indicating an increase in fat oxidation.
A study done in 1998 at the Foundation University of Rio Grande, Brazil, showed that Mate is capable of vaso relaxation of arterial beds, which that the it may be able to lower the risk for heart disease in the same way that red wine is believed to do. The thermogenic effect of Yerba Mate has been the source of interest to both researchers and those desiring to lose weight.