There are actually many different ways you can go about preparing a Mate. It depends on the shape and size of your gourd or cuia, the type of Mate you are using (powdery or leafy), and also on personal preference.
Here at Meta Mate UK we have set out some instructions for one way to prepare a Mate. This technique is primarily for preparing chimarraão, the style typical of Southern Brazil. Click on the link below to see them.
If, however, you are preparing a leafy cut Mate (Argentinian style), then it’s a little easier as the bomba is not likely to clog like it can with powdery Mates. This video will give you a pretty good idea (and the music is cool also!):
If you’re using a natural gourd or calabassa, it’s important to cure it beforehand. Luckily we’ve explained exactly how to do this HERE.
Bombas also require cleaning once in a while. They eventually get clogged up with tiny bits of Mate, which turn black if left there for a long time…not very nice! If your bomba doesn’t open up like some do, the best you can do is to use some kind of pipe cleaner thin enough to fit in. If you can’t find anything, you can put the bomba upside down in a glass of water and draw water in and out of the bomba with your mouth. Use enough force and it usually clears out pretty well.