Pass it on like you would a Sutta or a Hukka and Make Friends!
“Please, I tell you – you are not supposed to stir it. This is not the regular tea. You have to let it rest for few minutes, sip it and please pass it on”. This is Claudio, our Italian tour guide speaking passionately about his favorite beverage. We are in Buenos Aires, the city that literally means “good winds”. He is sharing with us how to prepare and have the drink, people in Argentina love to connect on – Yerba Mate Tea.
What is Yerba Mate Tea
As per Wikipedia, Yerba Mate from Spanish [ˈʝeɾβa ˈmate] is a plant, grown and processed in South America, that is used to produce a caffeine rich infused drink called Maté (spelled mate in English). As we travel in Argentina, we figure it is their national drink.
The Traditional Way to Consume Mate
In Buenos, the Yerba Mate Tea or just Mate, is had in a round cup made out of a typical gourd which the locals translate to us as pumpkin (Although the internet says it is calabash gourd). However, the interesting part begins here. The hot tea is sipped from Bombilla, as it is called in the local language, which is essentially a metal straw that has sieve attached!
And when you take a sip of the tea, you pass it around to your mates (read friends)! In Buenos, this marks your bond with the person you share your tea with. In the winters, Mate is the perfect drink to warm your soul and seal friendships. Apparently in Argentina, Yerba Mate is had all day long and is a thing with many South Americans to stay up and about.
Tips to Prepare Mate
Mate is prepared by adding hot water (remember- not boiling) over 3 to 4 tea spoons of Mate leaves. In Buenos, you will see the locals carry a thermos bottle with hot water everywhere. You can keep adding more water on the same leaves a couple of times to keep the drink going, although it gets bitter with each repeat. It is better to let the hot Mate cool a bit before consuming it with Bombilla. Going back to our dear Claudio’s advice, stirring the tea with Bombilla is not considered a good gesture.
Both the Gourd and the Bombilla come in beautiful ornate shapes, materials and sizes that make them very difficult to choose from (Ask me!). Also the tea comes in a variety of flavors. After much deliberation, here is what we picked.
Yerba Mate Benefits
Yerba Mate is a herbal drink. It is considered to be rich in several nutrients and antioxidants, even greater than the green tea. With high amount of caffeine content, Mate is said to help relieve fatigue, improve focus and increase alertness. Some studies also suggest that Mate can help reduce weight, keep infections at bay and strengthen immune system. Although Shubri cannot verify these claims.
Have it for…
1. Yerba Mate has a stronger flavor than the regular green tea and has a very distinct taste of the herbs.
2. It gives you the same pull like a strong coffee only with a herbal taste to it.
3. It is considered to be rich in antioxidants and having belly reducing properties.
4. The whole experience is quite a novelty. We recommend you try it once in your life.
Leave it for…
1. It is a herbal product and is expected to be had in moderation.
2. If you want to have it in the traditional way, you will need to pick one of those Gourds and Bombillas (Planning a trip to Argentina? Let us know!)
Yerba Mate Near Me
Yerba Mate Drink has been gaining popularity all over US and Europe and has also entered India. The herb has found its way in many health products as well, due to its antioxidant properties.