How Yerba Mate Became a Cultural and Social Symbol
Most times, we eat food, take drinks, and use items without really knowing about their cultural aspect. From the origins, Yerba Mate has played a very significant spiritual and cultural role in the daily lives of users, mostly the South Americans.
Indigenous to the South Americans especially in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, Yerba mate is sacred and an important part of their culture.
A drink that brings people together, Yerba Mate promotes social activities and gatherings especially among friends and family members. This is a sacred gift of nature which has been passed on to them from their ancestors, and just like salt is to the kitchen, so is Yerba Mate to these South Americans!
Preparing The Yerba Mate Tea
As part of the culture, this tea is usually prepared using specific items. Firstly, you need the tea itself, the Yerba Mate tea. This is very obvious, and interestingly, there are different types out there, some mixed with other herbs, while other have various flavors to choose from. There is also the organic one and even roasted Yerba Mate.
With the numerous choices, you can always choose a preferable one that fits your taste. However, if you don’t know one to start with, no need to worry. We strongly recommend this special organic mate tea imported directly from one of the finest Yerba Mate farms in Argentina.
Traditionally, the vessel used for holding the tea as you drink which is known as ‘mate’ is made out of wood or from a special type of gourd. As an alternative, a ceramic or silicone vessel can be used, and it all depends on what you fancy.
With that said, one of the main reasons why the South Americans prefer using wood is because it absorbs the scent, and with time, drinking the tea will become heavenly because of the strong flavor created.
You don’t just sip this tea directly from the cup (mate) because there is a special utensil for it. Known as the Bombilla, this straw-like item made of stainless steel has a filter at the end which helps in sipping the hot flavored Yerba Mate tea.
Drinking Yerba Mate with Friends and Family
A natural tea that lifts the spirit, Yerba Mate is best enjoyed with friends and family. Traditionally, friends and family come together to drink this tea, and this gathering is known as a ‘’mate circle’’.
Normally, only one person (the ‘’Cebador’’) serves this tea at a mate circle. The Cebador usually does this by serving the hot water, then passes it to every member of the mate circle. Even though the water for this tea should be hot, tradition forbids it to be boiling.
Only one cup is used, and as the Cebador prepares this tea, he takes a sip. If satisfied, he drinks the entire tea from the vessel (mate), fill it up and passes it to the next person. After finishing the hot tea, the mate is returned to the Cebador who fills it up again and serves the next member of the mate circle. It doesn’t stop there, as the Cebador ensures that everyone in the mate cycle is served.
Everyone maintains their position and waits patiently to be served by the Cebador. As a tradition, the Cebador is the only one who can dictate the sweetness of the tea. Therefore, you just have to drink it the way you are served without asking for it to be prepared according to your preference.
Final Words On the Cultural Aspect of Yerba Mate
Ancient South Americans have passed on this culture down to this current age, a sacred culture that is more than just taking a drink.
Yerba Mate has over the years been a symbol of unity and togetherness, bonding families and friends together while still offering them the numerous health benefits packed into it.