All over South America yerba mate’(pronounced mah-tay), the drink of friendship, is served in shops much like our coffee shops. Traditionally served in a gourd, the fresh mate’ leaves are packed into the gourd about 3/4 full then hot water, not boiling is poured over the leaves and a metal straw with a strainer (bombilla) on the end is plunged into the drink for the patron to sip the hot mate’. When the first cup or gourd is finished, the leaves are covered with more hot water to brew additional mate’.
These beautiful hand decorated gourds were traditionally left in the mate’ shop to be used again and again when returning to the mate house; much like men used to leave their shaving mug in a barbershop. Today’s mate’ “gourds” are made of glass, ceramic, wood, and most recently silicone.
Octavia Tea’s Organic Yerba Mate has a robust yet smooth, earthy flavor. The taste is similar to the flavor of green tea with mild grassy notes, hints of herbs and a slight infusion of vegetables. I consider it very agreeable. Be aware, the brew will get bitter if steeped in boiling water so always bring your water to a boil then remove it from the heat and let it sit to cool to about 175F or a little less before pouring the water over your leaves.
Yerba Mate’ can be blended with other herbs such as peppermint or citrus to brighten the flavor. You may even see mate’ added to drinks in grab-n-go bottles at your local convenience store. Although considered an herb, Yerba Mate’ contains a caffeine family member called mateine which gives a gently pick-me-up. As a healthy drink, yerba mate has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to enhance energy, improve mood and aid weight-loss.
If you’d like more information about Octavia Tea Company or if you’d like to experience this unusual tea for yourself, check out Octavia Tea Company’s website HERE. You can also find their teas at specialty and gourmet shops.
This post is part of an A-2-Z Writing Challenge for the month of April where you write everyday except Sundays with the next letter of the alphabet.