Posts Tagged ‘clase de mate’

It is difficult to imagine a Uruguayan that does not drink Mate. It is an essential part of the national culture. But what is Mate?

In Uruguay Mate is not just a drink but a way of life. Our students got to experience this first hand with a lesson on how to properly prepare and drink Mate. The people of Uruguay don’t drink Mate because they are thirsty, they drink it because it is part of their culture to drink and share Mate with friends. To drink Mate is a social occasion which one spends with your friends or family. If you invite some friends round to your house, as soon as you have greeted them it is customary to offer them Mate. Mate is consumed in Lebanon as well as  Syria, which is the largest importer of it in the world.                                                                                   

Mate preparation consists of 4 elements:

The Mate herb comes from the yerba mate tree, originating in south America and grows spontaneously in the temperate and slightly cooler areas of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The herb contains a reasonable amount of caffeine. The level of caffeine in Mate is somewhere between tea and coffee.

Image result for mate herb

The mate cup is made from dried calabash that is transformed into a container.
The mate container must be thoroughly cured before being used as a container to drink the Mate infusion.

Image result for mate container

The bombilla is an implement generally made of metal and is the accessory that has the function of absorbing and filtering the mate infusion. It is composed of a long tube with one end being a curved filter with small holes to make sure small chunks of the herb themselves do not enter the bombilla. The other end acts as a nozzle which one has to suck with a fair amount of force for the Mate infusion to rise up the bombilla and enter your mouth. The bombilla as we know it today dates back to the 18th century.

Image result for mate bombilla

El thermo is the glass container whose double walls form a vacuum inside to keep the water for the mate hot for many hours. The lid of the thermo is shaped as a tubular spout to allow for a more efficient distribution of the hot water. The abandonment of the boiler to prepare the Mate infusion was a Uruguayan initiative. The thermal flask liberated the mate outside of the home. For this reason it is very common in Uruguay for people to drink Mate in all sorts of different public places. Strolling around Montevideo, you are able to see many people carrying around their thermal flask and mate container. The most popular public place for people to gather, socialise and drink Mate is in one of the public parks or at the rambla by the beach.

In conclusion, the importance of Mate for Uruguayans must never be underestimated as it forms a huge part of their way of life.

Image result for mate thermos





The consumption of mate is customized; this means that it is usual to see the Uruguayan in groups mateando (drinking mate), but instead of sharing the same gourd, each of them has their own equipment.   Espero te guste y pregunto, cuando nos veamos……Tomamos unos mates??  

Learn Spanish in Uruguay
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August 2020

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