A cup of tea can be soothing or a fresh start to the day, but it can also be used to strengthen bonds of friendship. In Argentina, a unique tea called Mate is shared by friends, colleagues and neighbors alike in a social practice. Mate is made by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water for a tea high in nutrients and caffeine. It can be sweetened with sugar, herbs or dried orange peel if desired.
The Mate ritual involves drinking the yerba mate tea from a shared hollow gourd with a metal straw. The hot water is poured into the gourd at near-boiling point then the server will take the first drink, and pass to the next person to drink, and so on until there is no more flavour left in the infusion. It is considered a great compliment to be invited to share a Mate as it is a sign of trust and friendship. While drinking, you are able to share stories, speak openly and spend time with loved ones. Sharing a Mate with friends and family is also a type of meditation so donít change direction and try to keep the rhythm moving. After a few good stories, shared laughter and soothing tea, youíll remember why there was a time no one took coffee-to-go.