The presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is believed to be due to the degradation of mate compounds and the burning of wood during the "sapeco" (rapid drying process) and the final drying steps, which are the most important processing stages in mate production. Due to the high toxicity of these compounds, studies on their presence in mate are extremely important. The aim of this study was to evaluate PAH levels in mate throughout the processing stages of its production. The PAHs were measured in samples collected at different stages of mate processing. Total PAHs content ranged widely (443-9001 microg/kg) in the samples, with the highest PAHs levels recorded during the mate drying step. The results indicate that the processing method currently used in mate production may lead to an increase in PAHs levels in the final product.