Yerba mate has more caffeine than black tea, but a bit less than coffee. It only has two ingredients: leaves from the yerba mate plant, which is a kind of holly, and water. People in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia traditionally drink mate out of a hollow gourd with a metal straw called a bombilla, which has a built-in filter at the end so that you don't suck up the leaves. There are also cultural guidelines for drinking this slightly bitter brew. One that many foreigners neglect to observe is that you shouldn't touch the bombilla! Simply sip and don't move the straw. After drinking, pass the gourd back to the server, who will replenish the hot water and pass it to another person. Yep, everyone shares the same cup and straw! When you've had your fill, say "thank you." Giving thanks is a sign that you've drunk to your satisfaction.
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Key Facts In This Video
Yerba mate is traditionally served in a hollowed-out gourd. 00:12
Here's how to make yerba mate: 00:59
Mate is shared between friends, who sip from the same straw and pass the gourd between them, refilling it with hot water as needed. 01:52