Mate: Highly Satisfying

MateMate is the hot version of terere. It is yerba mate, which is mix of leaves from a South American shrub. The yerba comes in a coarse powder that you put in a cup and drink through a medal straw that has a filter on the end. It’s very bitter, a lot like green tea, and is caffeinated. To drink terere you use cold water and to drink mate you use scolding hot water. I have burned my mouth many times.

Many Paraguayans, at least in the more rural areas, start their days well before six, and mate is a common starter. During the winter mate is drunk at almost any time, but never with food and usually not directly before eating or after eating, to stay warm.

You usually heat up about a liter of water and cup by cup drink all of that using the same yerba—like if you were to use the same tea bag to drink a whole teapot by pouring the hot water into your mug every time you finished one cup.

Like terere, there are a ton of medicinal herbs people put in their mate for every ailment from a sore throat to high blood pressure. Most herbs do something for the stomach, mouth, or throat. You can drink mate alone, like what I’m doing as I write this post, or it can be a social thing. Just like with terere, mate cups are communal and one person pours the water into the cup and passes it around the mate circle, each person takes their turn in order.