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My Journey Round The World » Blog Archive » Argentinean’s Mate

My Journey Round The World

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Argentinean’s Mate


Wikipedia’s Mate definition: Mate is a traditional South American infused drink. It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water. It is the national drink in Argentina, though Paraguay and Uruguay also happen to claim nationality over the beverage, and drinking it is a common social practice. The drink contains caffeine.

Mate is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombilla in Latin American Spanish. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern commercially available straws are typically made of nickel silver, called Alpaca, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa. Even if the water comes in a very modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias. However, “tea-bag” type infusions of mate (mate cocido) have been on the market in Argentina for many years.  As with other brewed herbs, yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture. A modern bombilla design uses a straight tube with holes, or spring sleeve to act as a sieve.

Drinking Mate is a common social practise, so famous that the journalist Adrián Robledo wrote the below article:

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