Monday, January 24, 2011
And yes, we´re getting addicted. Of course we´re talking about mate (pronounced ma-tay), the green tea people of all ages drink in Argentina and all the neighboring countries. Just as Dagny, I love tea, so I wanted to share my first mate- experience with you guys!
(The green tea is called yerba)
Here in Buenos Aires you can´t help but noticing the small, round cups with strange straws (called bombilla), yerba (tealeaves), and the hot water cans people are carrying everywhere. Everyone seem to share this green, slightly odd smelling, green tea with each other.
It´s a social drink. And this green tea is a must for all portenos alike. So, of course, we had to experience it. Tea with a straw, it´s kinda fun. I´m not kidding – the first time you smell yerba, it almost smells like goldfish-food. But, don´t get scared, it taste nothing like itJ So, the taste. Being a bit of a coffee drinker myself, it´s different. I love my coffee in the morning, the same way as argentines love their mate. But it taste heavenly. Fresh, earthy and just simply - green and healthy. It´s got caffeine in it, so it helps you to wake up. But it also contains mateina, which makes you feel sharp(they also say it´s good for digestion and as a supplement in a diet). You surely get a buzz!
The way mate is made is almost like an art form.
Here it goes step-by-step – mate 2.0.
(This is the mate - that´s what the little round cups are called).
Do not boil the water – it should only have a temperature around 75 degrees Celsius, just when it starts to bubble ever so slightly.
Fill your round cup ¾ full with yerba. Shake the cup holding your hand over, and brush away the tea-dust from your palm.
(Yes, tea actually get dusty!)
Tip the cup 45 degrees and will it with water in the deep end. Let some of the leaves on the top stay dry. Let it set for a minute.
Stick the bombilla (straw) into the deep end of your cup. Even more important – after you put the bombilla in, don´t touch the tip at all.
There are a lot of rules to follow when you drink mate with friends - here´s what to keep in mind:
Whoever makes it drinks the first cup (or throws the water out – a cultural thing I guess), then fills it up again and passes it around starting at the side of where the bombilla points.
When or if the person drinking says: thank you (or gracias here;)) - it means that he or she doesn't want any more tea.
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