The ritual of the mate (mat-eh)

All over Buenos Aires and even more so in Uruguay, you see people walking about with these:

Mate cup and bombilla

Mate cup and bombilla

It’s a gourd, cleaned out, clad with a leather coat and topped with metal, the straw has a filter on the bottom.

How it works: you fill the cup with Yerba Mate (like a tea), top it up with boiling water and then sip straight away, refill and continue – all day… There is often a social aspect to it as friends often share one, keep topping it up and passing it round; clockwise.

It tastes like a grassy tea and is quite sharp, it’s also alleged to have stimulant qualities – but its not caffeine, more of a herbal high.

There is a whole industry around this drink with quite swish looking leather holders for the flask and other equipment you need to have this ‘on the go’, hopefully it will be a while before Starbucks catch on.


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