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All About Yerba Mate

People who drink yerba mate do it as an form of entertainment. Part of the new, more informal way of life in Uruguay includes having people drinking Mate while on walks, sporting events, at work, and it is extremely popular among many student activities.

 In general, yerba mate is enjoyed in the morning or afternoon between meals. The "matero" carries his gourd (Mate) containing the yerba and the bombilla in one hand, while carrying a thermos of luke-warm water under his arm. Mate drinking is a ritual which is often shared with friends and family. The matero prepares and tries the Mate. He then passes the prepared Mate for someone to enjoy.

Some people prefer to prepare and drink from their own Mate, especially if they add other medicinal herbs to their infusion. A mate gourd and bombilla is a gift which is greatly appreciated by South American professionals. Some are intricately decorated by hand with silver or gold.

Yerba Mate comes from a tree, "Ilex Paraguariensis", cultivated in South America. The yerba is the leaves; dried and crushed to make a tea-like herb. The Uruguayan FDA designates and enforces labeling standards for yerba mate. A premium yerba as one that contains no "palo", or the stem of the tree, which lessens the quality of the blend. Nativa is pure 100% yerba mate leaves, harvested from wild, mature forests and aged for a minimum of one year. Visit the Southern Brazilian yerba mate forests.

To drink Mate the traditional way, you will need a Mate Gourd and Bombilla filter straw. Each culture has its deep-rooted preference as to taste, temperature, and size of the Mate gourd used. You may add sugar or honey to sweeten the Yerba as the Argentineans do, or drink it pure as is the custom in Uruguay. It's a wonderful and healthy alternative to coffee, and a good way to stimulate conversation. To drink mate the traditional way you will need a Bombilla. These filter the leaves out of your mate drink. Bombillas can be made of bronze, nickel, alpaca silver, stainless steel, silver-plated and gold-plated. Those made with more durable metals can last many decades of daily use. The bronze and nickel-plated bombillas should be replaced once the plating starts to come off.

This article was published on Monday 26 July, 2010.
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