Che! Vos querés un matecito?- Hey Man! Do you want a little maté?
Ever been walking down the street in Berlin, on a bus in Spain, on a beach in Australia, and seen someone carrying in their hand, a wooden looking receptacle with a metal straw protruding from it. Then straight away you knew that it was yerba maté, and you knew they must be from Argentina or Uruguay. The people from the maté consuming region take their maté with them wherever they go. Possibly consuming it all day long.
So what is maté? Maté or Yerba maté is a warm beverage drunk in Argentina, Uruguay and adjacent areas in southern Brazil, which contains caffeine. It is consumed in large quantities by the people of these areas and most of the duration of the day.
Given that it is a caffeine habit or vice, unlike other caffeine vices, maté consumption is a mobile beverage, which the consumer can take with them wherever they go. What makes this possible is by filling the receptacle full of the leaves, it doesn’t leave much room for water, and so it doesn’t easily spill. It is then continually topped up once the liquid inside has been consumed.
You can say that some people consume up to 6 coffees a day, or the same with tea, but consumers of these vices, don’t have withdrawal symptoms once the drinking vessel leaves their hands. Maté
As Europeans often meet at a coffee shop, drinking mate is the impetus for gathering with friends in Argentina, southern Brazil and Uruguay. Sharing mate is ritualistic and has its own set of rules. Usually, one person, the host or whoever brought the mate, prepares the drink and refills the gourd with water. In these three countries, the hot water can be contained in a vacuum flask, termo (appropriate for drinking mate outside) or garrafa térmica (Brazil), or in a pava (kettle), which only can be done at home.
The gourd is passed around, often in a circle, and each person finishes the gourd before giving it back to the brewer. The gourd (also called a mate) is passed in a clockwise order. Since mate can be rebrewed many times, the gourd is passed until the water runs out. When persons no longer want to take mate, they say gracias (thank you) to the brewer when returning the gourd to signify they do not want any more.
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Ever tried maté? Everybody has their own palate, but to the first time consumers, it can taste a bit like horse chaff mixed with water. But many things have an acquired taste, and many people still love the taste of them. What might they be? Well, your first taste of alcohol, coffee, and tea, all didn’t taste too good the first few times. Then all the sudden you loved it. Same with maté. Argentinians, and nearby neighbours mix it with other things like sugar, to make it taste nice for themselves.
- Have Ever Tried Guayusa? (drinks.seriouseats.com)