What is yerba mate?
Yerba Mate Tea is an important herbal tea from South America, it plays a large part in the social culture of certain South American countries. It is mostly seen in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and the southern states of Brazil, It is a drink that is prepared with great ritual and It then lasts for hours, being refilled over and over and being passed and shared between friends, family and strangers alike.
Where and how do they drink it?
It is almost impossible to NOT see mate being enjoyed in these countries, from offices to public spaces, in homes and out and about. Every different culture has a different way of preparing it and sometimes they use different types of yerba.
In Uruguay, mate is best enjoy hot, with a strong, bitter brew with no additions or deviations from the pure yerba.
In Argentina, they also enjoy hot mate, but it is more common to have additions such as the stems of the yerba plant, other flavours such as orange and lemon, and sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey.
In Paraguay, yerba is enjoyed in the form of tereré – a cold brew filled with fruit, herbs and ice. Instead of hot water, tereré is prepared with juice.
In Brazil, the yerba is produced differently after harvesting. Instead of a thick cut, dried mix, the yerba is air dried and barely aged. This results in a bright green and very powdery blend. It is then mixed with much larger stems than the yerba of the other countries. This brew results in a different type of infusion altogether.
Why do they drink it?
Yerba Mate is drunk by many due to the perceived health benefits. Principally yerba contains significant quantities of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. But also, people swear by yerba mate for weight loss, reducing high blood pressure, and improving metabolism and energy levels. For information, read our articles on the health benefits of yerba mate.