Drinks Latin American

Mate (drink)

Mate, pronounced as /ˈmɑːteɪ/ MAH-tay in English, [ˈmate] in Spanish, and [ˈmatʃi] in Portuguese, is a traditional South American herbal drink infused with caffeine. Also referred to as chimarrão or cimarrón, and ka’ay in Guarani, it is crafted by steeping dried yerba mate leaves in hot water. Traditionally, it is enjoyed using a metal straw called a bombilla, in a vessel typically made from a calabash gourd, known as the mate. However, in some regions, it is served in a cattle horn known as a guampa. Another variant, mate cocido, involves a preparation that removes some of the plant material and is sometimes packaged in tea bags. Presently, mate is available commercially in both tea bags and bottled iced tea.

Mate has roots in the traditions of the Guaraní and Tupi peoples and was originally exclusive to the indigenous populations of Paraguay, particularly in the regions of Amambay and Alto Paraná. It holds the status of national beverage in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and is also enjoyed in the Bolivian Chaco, Brazil, Northern and Southern Chile, Lebanon, and Syria, introduced by immigrants from Paraguay and Argentina. The metal straw, known as bombilla or bomba, traditionally crafted from silver, has evolved to be made of materials like nickel silver, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. Serving as both a straw and a sieve, the submerged end is flared with small holes or slots, allowing the brewed liquid to pass through while blocking chunky matter. Modern designs often feature straight tubes with holes or spring sleeves to act as sieves.

The vessel in which mate is served, also called mate, is typically crafted from a calabash gourd but may also be fashioned from other materials.

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