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All about Mate- the energizing drink!

Yerba Mate (yer­bah mah­tay) is made from the naturally caffeinated and nutrient­ rich South American rainforest holly tree (llex paraguariensis). It is said to have “the strength of coffee, the benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” ­ essentially, this tea is a godsend. The leaves of the rainforest holly tree contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, and scientists have stated that the yerba mate leaf contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life”.

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The caffeine content varies between what you would get from green tea and coffee, but unlike tea, yerba mate has low tannin content (chemical compound in caffeinated teas that can give a bitter flavor) allowing it to be strong like coffee without the bitterness, and unlike coffee, yerba mate is not oily or acidic, making it much easier on your stomach and reducing jitters. With a cup of yerba mate, you’re sure to kick off your day with a clear­headed, sustained energy boost.

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However ­ yerba mate is much more than just a delicious, energy­boosting, nutrient­filled tea. In Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and other South American countries, friends gather to drink mate together almost as a ritual. Tomando mate (drinking mate) is such a celebrated tradition that the Spanish language has its own verb for it:

matear (to drink mate). Yerba mate is traditionally served in a gourd (calabacino, mate, or guaje) with a filtered straw called a bombilla, pictured below:

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During a tomando mate ceremony, there is a cebador or cebadora (mate server) who prepares the mate for a group of friends using the steps diagrammed below. The cebador drinks the first couple gourd­fulls to make sure the temperature is right and the bombilla is filtering a smooth mate flow, then the gourd is passed counter­clockwise with the bombilla always facing the recipient. The gourd is refilled and passed around the circle until the yerba mate is lavado (flat), or if someone has had enough and wishes to sit out, they must simply say gracias (thank you) which indicates they are finished tomando mate.

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We offer four different varieties of yerba mate at The Spice Hut ­ the traditional Yerba Mate, a fruity and refreshing Mango Mate with roasted yerba mate leaves, mango pieces, and ginseng, a cool and minty Spearmint Mate, as well as a spicy Mate Chai, giving you all the nutrients of yerba mate with the spiciness of chai! So get your friends together, come pick out your favorite mate, and celebrate friendship and hospitality (and health benefits and energy boosts!) tomando mate.

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blogger: Alley N.