Yerba Mate powder: myths and truth

a milonga package of loose leaf

As we spoke about in previous posts, Yerba Mate is usually consisted of 3 main components: the leaf, the stem (or stick), and the powder. Much has been said about Yerba Mate powder. Many times on social media and different blogs on the web, the health impact of Mate powder has been questioned. For this reason, the National Institute of Yerba Mate (INYM) reported that Yerba Mate can be consumed —with its powder— without any risk or harm to our health, according to the Argentine Food Code.

The most common mistake among Yerba Mate consumers is that powder must be removed. In fact, the powder is the most expensive component to produce. More so, Valeria Trapaga —sommelier specialist in Yerba Mate— says about it:

"Is an extremely virtuous component that Yerba Mate must have because it provides foaminess, durability and aroma. Powder is often confused with dust; sometimes the dust is what results from the splinter of the stick. That is, from a Yerba Mate leaf that is not completely clean or from the excess of the grinding that occurs due to handling”.

mate gourd with yerba mate, a package of Milonga Mate and a matera

When is powder good?

For starters, let’s clear up the myth. It is in fact quite important because, in its fair measure, it provides the infusion with foam and aroma. Therefore, Yerba Mate is shaken just so that the leaves and sticks mix; causing the powder to go to the top so that it does not cuase the bombilla to get stuck.

The powder is nothing more than ground leaf, and it is a component that is specially prepared and dosed, because it is essential to achieve the balanced flavor we want. 

So, in order to achieve an even distribution of the Yerba Mate with its powder; the first thing we have to take care of is the accumulation of powder at the base of the Mate. Since we should have a balanced powder with each prepared Mate, it is recommended to shake and mix the Yerba.

Valeria Trapaga, for example, mixes the Yerba before pouring it into the Mate. About that, she says:

“All the components must be mixed so that they are not left in the package by the effect of gravity. So, to make it more uniform, it is convenient to mix them in the package”.

When is it bad?

Simple: when it is stick dust. The Argentine Food Code establishes a precise method to detect if the powder is leaf powder or stick dust. The objective is to avoid practices such as grinding the stick and using it as powder; or exceeding the maximum of 35% stick established by law. Likewise, these changes incorporate a new procedure to provide greater security and quality of the Yerba Mate produced.

In this regard, Valeria Trapaga says: 

"In order for Yerba Mate to be virtuous, it has to have leaf powder. It is a necessary component that provides many interesting balancing characteristics”.

How about Yerba Mate Milonga?

Our Yerba Mate is a certified organic brand, with 100% organic Yerba Mate leaves. Thanks to this, not only do we not have harmful dust, but also our Yerba —rich in antioxidants and nutrients— does not contain chemicals that are bad for you.

We hope this will help you to continue learning how to choose the best for you: quality Yerba Mate!

a hand holding a mate gourd

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