Thick and full bodied, Mate is rich in mateine and was used as caffeine in Latin America before the advent of coffee. Sourced from a superb grower in Brazil, this Mate is a relatively broad-leafed variety with some stalk. When infused it produces a robust cup with hints of green tea grassiness, oak, tobacco, and a faint touch of squash.
Mate was first discovered by the GuaranÃ, a people who inhabited the region that includes southern Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. According to legend, the plant was discovered by divine intervention. The story goes that many centuries ago, the goddesses of the Moon and Clouds decided to pay Earth a visit. They touched down in the jungle and were greeted by a vicious YaguaretÃ©, a type of jaguar. Just as they were about to be attacked, an old man appeared out of the trees and fought off the beast saving their lives. To repay him for this heroic act, the goddesses presented the old man with a new type of plant, mate, with which he could prepare a â€œdrink of friendshipâ€. The old man prepared the beverage for his family and from there its popularity grew, steadily becoming the drink of choice for Latin American social gatherings.
While still a relatively novel commodity in North America, Mateâ€™s popularity in parts of Latin America is massive. In Uruguay consumption is so widespread that the government saw fit to enact a law that bans Mate drinking while driving for fear of accidents caused by spilling hot water. In Argentina, where mate is the national drink, it is not uncommon to see people toting calabash gourds, (the traditional container), and thermoses for rapid preparation on the go. Many Argentinean gas stations even provide free hot water to travelers so they can prepare a cup.
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