Mate has always been considered a basic need for Argentinians. It is a traditional South American drink that’s also very common in Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and southern Brazil, as well as in Syria and some parts of Lebanon. South Americans themselves don’t go a day without drinking it. Yet nowadays, with more people from these countries moving abroad, the tradition has been spreading throughout the world and foreigners from North America, Europe, Asia, Oceanía and even Africa enjoy this drink too.
So… WHAT IS MATE?
Mate is a caffeine-rich infused drink that serves as a nootropic due to its many benefits for the mind and body. This stimulating, bitter drink is brewed from the dried leaves of an evergreen shrub called Ilex Paraguariensis.
WHY IS MATE SO IMPORTANT?
Because it is a ritual! Mate is shared in social gatherings with either groups of friends or family members. There’s always one person who acts as the ‘cebador’ (the server) and is in charge of preparing mates for everyone. This person drinks first, to make sure the mate tastes good, and then serves a new one and passes it to the person on their right. This person passes it back once it’s finished, so the cebador can prepare the next one for the following individual.
When somebody is done drinking mate, they need to pass back the mate cup to the server and thank them. This is the signal they don’t want any more.
WHAT DO I NEED TO HAVE TO START DRINKING MATE?
1. Mate cup (the container!)
There are a few materials that can be used to make mates. You can find: plastic mates, silicone mates, glass mates, aluminium mates, wooden mates and the typical gourd mates.
Plastic, silicone, glass and aluminium allow for an easier and quicker use of the mate cup, since you only need to give it a good wash before using it. However, if your mate is made of wood or gourd, you will need to ‘cure the mate’ before putting it to use. This is a process that helps prevent the formation of mold and avoids the taste of the materials affecting the mate, all by helping close the pores of the mate cups.
Which is the best mate cup for you? Find out here.
2. Yerba mate (the herbs/leaves!)
The flavor and duration of the mate can vary depending on the blend each brand produces -that is, the proportions of leaf, stick and powder their yerba has-. There are more than 100 different varieties of yerba mate, which can be divided into 7 groups:
- Yerba mate ‘con palo’ (with stick)
- Yerba mate ‘sin palo’ or ‘despaldada’ (without sticks)
- Yerba mate compuesta
- Yerba mate orgánica / Organic yerba mate
- Yerba mate barbacuá
- Yerba mate saborizada / Flavoured yerba mate
- Yerba mate for tereré
3. Bombilla (the straw!)
4. Thermo to keep the water warm, as the mate is refilled several times
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE MATE?
- Fill the mate cup until it’s over half full with yerba.
- Place your hand on top of the container, turn it upside down and shake it. (This will bring the powder from the leaves to the top, and avoid you sucking them up later)
- Turn the mate cup to the side and give it another shake. (This will pile the yerba to one side)
- Put the straw in the empty side of the mate cup, trying not to touch the yerba.
- Add a bit of cold water in the empty space, almost until the top. Make sure it doesn’t touch the leaves. Wait for it to be absorbed.
- Pour hot water (75/80 degrees Celsius) into the empty space as well. Again, try not to wet the yerba.
- Drink from the straw! Refill as many times as you want! (The taste usually lasts for about 10 refills)
And, hey… If you want to be a professional mate drinker and prepare a GOOD MATE such as this one here:
make sure you avoid these 5 fatal mistakes while drinking mate.That way, you won’t get a mate like this:
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''Envío increíblemente rápido. Gran packaging. ¡Y gracias por todos los regalos en la caja!''
''Amazing to be able to get these in Australia - so delicious and every bit as amazing as I remember. Communication from Pampa Direct was excellent and we received the package within a week. And everything was of the best quality. Thank you!''
''Increíble poder conseguir estos estando en Australia - tan deliciosos como los recuerdo. La comunicación con Pampa Direct fue excelente y recibimos el paquete en sólo una semana. Además, todo llegó perfecto. ¡Gracias!''