"How to Cure your Gourd"
For your gourd to be ready to use, it needs to be cured. This prevents cracking, molding and improves the flavor of your chimarrao. You will notice that the longer you use your gourd, the better your mate' will taste.
Fill the gourd half-way with Yerba Mate'. Add 1 tablespoon of ashes (from fire wood or other burnt plants - do not use ashes from coal or other non-vegetable sources). Finally, pour hot water into the gourd until it is full. Let the gourd sit in a well-ventilated place for 2-3 days, always topping it off with water as the gourd absorbs. After 3 days pour out the contents of the gourd and rinse thoroughly in running water. Your gourd is ready to use.
Another way of doing this that probably yields better results is to mix only the ashes adn the water in the gourd and let that sit for 24 hours, followed by drying it in a welll ventilated place for 72 hours and then curing it with the mate' for another 72 hours.
"Use Your Gourd"
1. Fill your gourd about 2/3 full with Fresh Mate Factor Yerba Mate.
2. Tilt your gourd to the side and "shape" the Yerba to form a "wall" that rises at an angle to the top of the gourd.
3. Wet the Yerba Mate with cold water and take care to keep your "wall" intact. Place your Bombilla (filter straw) into the Yerba Mate while holding the top with your thumb. Get the Bombilla into the herb so it is wedged into the Yerba and does not move too easily. Reform your wall if needed.
4. Finally, pour hot boiling water over the Yerba Mate and draw out your first infusion. Some may prefer to spit out the first "draw", as it can be very strong. Keep your water supply handy, the Yerba in your gourd will infuse many "draws" of water. Enjoy!