Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yerba Mate tasting

Yerba mate is a species of the Holly plant.

The largest production is in Brazil, then Argentina, followed by Paraguay.
It is often drank as a ritual "usually sucked out of a horn cup (or gourd) called guampa with a bombilla".
Though it would be considered a herbal drink it does have a stimulant to it, which is similar to caffeine.

Last week a tea friend invited me to sip yerba mate as a ritual from her country of Argentina.
She was born in Argentina, but grew up in Spain and her family drank yerba mate often.
I have never had the opportunity to sip and enjoy yerba mate, so was very much looking forward to it.

There were wonderful nibbles and lovely quince tart to go along with sipping.
The host fills the cup half full of the yerba mate, then adds hot water.
The host then sips from the bombilla until the cup is emptied as we visit.
The host then fills the same cup with hot water and passes it to a guest,
then they sip the full cup as we visited.  This is repeated until we go all around
the circle.  There were five of us on this particular afternoon of sipping.
Once it has gone around the circle this can be repeated for as long as desired.
It is definitely a communal experience.

For me the first tastes were so hot drinking through a metal "straw" I wasn't sure I would adjust.
Also I am not an herbal tea lover.  I do believe this is an acquired taste.
When the second round came by I did enjoy it quite alot.
Though I didn't drink more than two rounds it was very good and I would for sure drink it again.
My concern was staying awake that night with the stimulant involved;  however with
the two cups of yerba mate I had no problem sleeping.
Have you tried yerba mate?
Did you like it?
Do you encourage yourself to try new things?
I hope so, as it expands our world.


Rosemary said...

This sounds like a very interesting experience! How fortunate to share this with a native of Argentina. The gourds pictured are beautiful!

Steph said...

I had so very much wanted to be there. Looks like a lovely time!

parTea lady said...

Sounds like an interesting experience. I would definitely try yerba mate.

Jeanie said...

I've never even heard of it, much less tasted! Looks lovely, though -- and very interesting. How fun to try something new!

Angela McRae said...

Oh, I love yerba mate -- and so does the Pope, of all things, as I saw lots of photos of him with yerba mate when he became Pope last year!