Yerba Mate is a traditional South American infused drink, very common in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, south of Chile and some areas of Bolivia. ‘Mate’ is the national drink in Argentina and Uruguay.
Yerba mate tea is made from the infused leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree. For many centuries the indigenous people have sipped yerba mate from a gourd with a metal straw, called a “bombilla”. The straw is traditionally made of silver and has a perforated base that functions as a filter. In the picture you can see a detail of the perforations on the base of the straw.
To properly drink ‘Mate’ you will need a small uncovered gourd that is made from calabaza (squash) rind and a bombilla. Often the gourd is burnished with metal detailing. Anytime is a good time for drinking ‘Mate’ and it is a beverage made for sharing. The taste may seem a little bitter and strange your first time but Mate is a healthy alternative to coffee. Yerba Mate has properties similar to caffeine which provides incredibly clear energy levels and mental alertness. It’s stimulates the central nervous system without being addictive.
It is often enjoyed alone or with the addition of breads, sweets, croissants, crackers, etc. It is generally consumed by people of all ages.