Wooden yerba mate cups (gourds): palo santo, algarrobo, lapacho, pampeano

Palo santo wooden mate gourd
Palo santo wooden mate gourd

Palo santo mate gourd

Mate (gourd) made from palo santo wood is the most valued wooden container to serve yerba mate, mainly because of its pleasant, resin like aroma which remains in the container throughout the serving of mate. Palo santo is the name given to several types of trees, the most sought after being Bursera graveolens. Other types such as Bulnesia sarmientoi and em>Guaiacum officinale are also relatively common.

Palo santo gourd is used mainly for drinking cold mate (terere). Before it can be used for hot mate it has to be completely coated in metal. In cooler and drier climates palo santo without such a coating will quickly crack and is only good for terere. Palo santo should be kept in constant humidity levels as it does not like changes. It should also be allowed to dry slowly. Palo santo is not susceptible to fungi and does not absorb any aromas. It can therefore be used to serve both clear and aromatic yerba mate infusions. Some people recommend curing palo santo before use to limit the risk of cracking.
Capacity: 100-250 ml


A pampeano is an interesting variation of a palo santo or other wooden gourd. The water has to be poured into a special canal around the top rim of the pampeano. There is a system of holes in the canal and water seeps through the holes on to the internal walls of the container. It is thought that more infusions can be gained from the same mate leaves because the brewing is more evenly distributed amongst the leaves. Preparing mate infusion in a pampeano is easier because there is no need to shape the leaves in the container into a little mound.
Capacity: 200 ml


Metal wrapped wooden mate gourd
Metal wrapped wooden mate gourd

Containers made out of algarrobo wood are relatively popular. Algarrobo is a group name for wood from some 45 species of trees from the genus Prosopis. Algarrobo vessels are hard and resilient to cracking.
Capacity: 150-250 ml


The name lapacho is used for several species of South American tree. In the field of traditional medicine, the inner bark of the Lapacho tree is known for its healing properties applicable to a number of different ailments.
Mate containers made out of lapacho wood are less popular than algarrobo vessels but some internet sites do sell them.
Capacity: 150-200 ml

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