Argentine Yerba Mate, Part V

[I’m collaborating on a post series with the National Institute for Argentine Yerba Mate. In Part 1, we explored how to make yerba mate and Part II showcased origins of the brew. We drank many versions of yerba mate in Part III  and had cocktails in Part IV. Today…we are brewing up a concentrate! Hope you enjoy.]

As someone who works primarily from home, I drink and snack all day long. Part of that is habit and curiosity. I love cooking and eating above all else. And the other part is because working with food/drink is the core of my job. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with the work itself that I forget how neat, how lucky I am to scout drink trends and products as my work. On any given afternoon I’ll have several products on the table – some bottled, others just brewed, and yet other non-liquid samples that are a work in progress. A few things I’ve been loving: delicate, cold brewed teas, shrubs, and concentrates.

Concentrates are something you usually see only in cafes, hotels, or restaurants. Next time you order chai at the local cafe, watch how they make it. Odds are they’ll pour the chai from a concentrate (usually a 32oz or larger carton), add milk and steam. We’d all love to have spices ground and simmered for every order, but a concentrate makes sense in a cafe setting…

It wasn’t until speaking with my friend Kristen that I realized concentrates can also be functional in home settings. Working from home, I have everything I need in one space – desk, books and research, a kitchen with all my ingredients and odds and ends. I can brew any tea when the craving hits and never worry about carrying tea to work. Because I’m already at work! It’s both a blessing and curse. Kristen leaves for work at 7am…the idea of brewing Argentine Yerba Mate seemed like an extra step for an already busy morning. She wanted the drink (and the sustained energy that comes with), but with less effort. In comes the concentrate…

We did a test run and brewed enough concentrate to last for five days (I wouldn’t do any more than this per batch), bottled and stored in the fridge. Every morning she poured some (precision not necessary, estimate a cup or so) into her thermos and topped with hot water. Then out the door she goes, a fresh cup of Argentine Yerba Mate in hand.

A concentrate is one of the easiest thing you can make. I use a ratio of five cups of water to 30 grams of Argentine Yerba Mate. These ratios are my taste preference, but you should try a few different ratios to see what you prefer. There is no definite right or wrong when it comes to this. And if you’d like to make it even easier, use teabags so that you don’t need to strain. (FYI, lots of people in tea are anti-tea bags, but I believe there are cases where teabags come in handy, and this is one of them.) Brew for three to five minutes (again, depends on your taste preference), then strain.

When the brew is still warm, I stir in a happy spoonful of honey. Honey and mint (which we’ll add later) are both wonderful mates for Argentine Yerba Mate. Store the concentrate in the fridge and use as desired You can also bottle a few batches and share with friends/family. A few ways the concentrate has come in handy:

– Hot morning drink. Grab your mug, fill it a third full with the Argentine Yerba Mate concentrate and top with hot water.

– Afternoon pick-me-up. Fill a glass a third full with the Argentine Yerba Mate concentrate and the other two-thirds with sparkling water. Add fresh mint and you’ve got a drink that will save you from that afternoon energy slump.

– In the evenings. Steam with equal parts oat milk to make a soothing post-dinner drink.

Till next time ^-^

This post was sponsored by National Institute for Argentine Yerba Mate. You can find Argentine Yerba Mate brands at specialty tea stores and select Whole Foods Markets across the U.S, or on Amazon.com (here’s an example). 

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