If your mate cup is made of glass, ceramic or silicone, just give it a good wash before using it. If your mate cup is guampa, you need to leave it for 24 hours in a bowl with hot water and detergent before using it.
However, if it is made of gourd or wood, it is important to ‘curar el mate’. To ‘cure the mate’ is a process that helps close the pores of said cups, helping to prevent the formation of mold and to avoid that the taste of wood of gourd affects the mate. ‘Curing’ your mate it is quite simple, but it varies if you are planning on drinking it with or without sugar.
Time needed: 1 day.
If you are going for the traditional route and have a wood or gourd mate cup, here is how to cure your mate cup.
Fill the cup with boiling water. Let it sit for 10 minutes then empty it.
Fill the gourd with used yerba and add warm water so the yerba does not dry out.
Leave it like this for 24hs. It's crucial to keep it wet while it's being ‘cured’. If you do not have used yerba, put new yerba on a cup or glass and cover it with water, leaving it for a couple of hours. Then, add it to the mate gourd as you would with used yerba.
The next day remove the yerba with a spoon and lightly scrape the interior.
Repeat from step number 2.
Rinse it, leave it dry.
Now you have your mate ready to use.
Cleaning the mate
After you are done with your mate it is important to remove the yerba as soon as possible to avoid mold. If the mate cup is made of glass, ceramic or silicone, wash it as you would with other cups. However, if the mate is made of gourd or wood, here is how to keep it clean:
Use the bombilla (or a spoon) to efficiently scrape the yerba from the mate gourd. The used yerba can be composted or disposed of with other organic waste.
Rinse the mate and leave it to dry or pat with a clean towel or paper. It is important to avoid putting the mate upside down, as it could retain moisture.
the mate gourd can be store alongside cups or glasses once it's dried. Make sure it is in a dry place.
Maintenance steps vary from the material and shape, but in any case, the bombilla needs to be thoroughly cleaned after each use and requires also a deep cleaning every month. It is also recommended to give it a deep clean before its first use.
To clean it daily, use hot water and pipe cleaning brushes (usually made of thin, flexible metal and a brush at the end), and then allow it to dry before storing it with the cutlery or other utensils.
To do a deep cleaning is recommend it to submerge the bombilla in boiling water with 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda, for 30 minutes.
How to store yerba
Finally, it's recommended to store the yerba in a dry place, away from the ground and sunlight. You can keep it in its original package as long as it is tightly closed, or preferably in a tight container.