metal straw

Yerba Mate Me

If you want to watch me climb straight up a wall and cling to the ceiling, give me mate. Argentinians consume so much in a day it’s no wonder the entire city buzzes well into the early morning hours. The first time I drank it I was so wired I had to run up and down the hostel stairs a few times. I banged out an entire workout in my room and had an impromptu, solo dance party. Then I ran back downstairs and talked the ear off my bunk mate who stared at me like I’d gone mad and after 20 min said “I only got ½ of what you’ve been saying” so I ran back upstairs danced some more and then cooked a huge dinner. Wow. Like, who needs drugs? Just drink mate.

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Our Heroes

Feliz día del Mate!

Today we celebrate the most traditional of Argentina’s beverages: the Mate (pronounced mah-teh)! 

Fun fact: the mate was declared Argentina’s national infusion in 2010!

This infusion is made with dried leaves of yerba mate and hot water (just before the boling point). It’s very rich in caffeine, so it’s the go-to drink for students pulling all nighters while cramming for finals.

One of the particular stuff about it is that we don’t drink it like any other tea, we have special “tools” for it: the bombilla -a metal straw- and the mate -a sort of cup that is usually made out of the very funnily named porongo (calabash), but there are many different variants.

More fun facts:

-It’s usually drunk in groups. One person will pour the water and take care of it for the entire round. If you say “thank you” after receiving it that means you don’t want more, so be careful! Here, politeness doesn’t pay lol.

-You can also drink it cold, using juice instead of water. Then it’s called a Tereré.

-Mate is drunk not only in South America but also in Syria and Lebanon! The Druze immigrants adopted it here, and brough it back with them, making it a tradition of their own :D