Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yeba Mate

Yerba mate is a South American evergreen shrub that is used as an herb. The leaves and twigs are used to make an infusion that is consumed in several countries, including in Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Most mate infusions are made from green mate, but you will sometimes find a roasted variety. Sometimes people add milk and sweeteners. It's a common practice to drink mate from a hollowed gourd (sometimes covered with metal) through a metal bombilla (straw). It's a social drink often shared with friends.

Yerba mate is made with hot, not boiling water. It can be steeped for a long time without getting bitter. Even thought it is an herbal, it is unique in that it does contain caffeine and other stimulants. Many people believe that, like tea, the effects are not as jarring as coffee.

I find the flavor to be strong, different than tea, and kind of earthy. I've heard the flavor described as a cross between tea and coffee and I think that's a good assessment. I enjoy yerba mate, but it's not my go-to drink. That's as much socialization as anything, I suppose. Were I from South America, I'm sure it would be part of my beverage routine.

Have you ever tried yerba mate? What was your experience?
*Images from wikipedia and google images


Angela McRae said...

Yes, and I very much enjoyed it! Last year I even bought my husband (at least I *said* it was for my husband!) a maté gourd and bombilla, but the gourd was a little leaky so now it just sits around. I think that "cross between tea and coffee" description is pretty good. Maté reminds me of a toasty/roasty rooibos. Definitely worth a try for all tea lovers, I think.

Lady Katherine said...

I never heard of yeba mate. What a neat article you have written about it. love reading it.