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Mate, an Argentine tradition

Mate, an Argentine tradition

  Clearly a tradition in Argentina and other parts of South America, the Mate is normally noticed by foreigners visiting the coutry. Its more than just an acquired taste, its tradition and something you share in social meetings… check out how to prepare it yourself with tips from the pros.

What you need:

Mate (mate cup)

Bombilla (metal straw)

Yerba mate (the “tea” itself)

Hot water

Make a mate in 4 simple steps:

1- Put the yerba in the mate, no more than two thirds of its volume, and to a side like 45º

2- Poor water slowly, as it warms up, in the emptier side of the mate 

3- Place the straw by the emptier side too, once you’ve poured water in already. If put with the dry yerba, the bombilla may get stuck inside with the dry powder…

4- Water is ready once it reaches 70-80ºC (160-175ºF) -upon preference- and that’s it! Put into a thermos to maintain temperature.

Pro tips:

  • After step 1 you can cover the mate with the palm of your hand (dry) and shake it. You’ll get the thinner particles in your hand. Repeat 2 or 3 times to remove all of that away. 
  • Water temperatura beyond 80C/175F will “burn”the yerba, so watch it.
  • You drink till you finish it, and pour water again.
  • There are many brands, even flavored, so you’ll have to find the one you like the most.

Fun facts:

  • Traditional mate is made out of a small pumpkin, dried, and sometimes covered in leather, etc… some others prefer the ones made out of wood. Truth is you can improvise a mate cup in almost any cup you’ve got around.
  • In the north of the country where the weather is much warmer they drink Tereré, basically a cold mate, and instead of pouring hot water they use cold orange juice for example…
  • Covid politics during 2020 in Argentina were focused mainly on not having people sharing the mate as normally did, what can be a major source for passing the virus drinking all from the same cup, and instead of that carrying each other their own mates. 
  • Mateine works as a stimulant just like caffeine does.
  • Mate is rich in antioxidants.
  • Adding sugar is possible but not well seen even if it sounds funny!
Try it at home or by the river. Enjoy!
Claudio Martin
TAO partner
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