The Art of drinking “mate”

The preparation and consumption of mate (pronounced mah-tay) is the most common cultural practice you’ll see in Argentina. Mate on the RiverYerba mate is a dried chopped leaf, a relative of the common holly plant that is prepared like tea and shared amongst friends, family and co-workers. There is an informal etiquette for drinking mate. The cebador (the server) fills the mate gourd almost to the top with yerba, heating but not boiling the water in a pava (kettle) and pouring into the vessel. Drinkers sip the liquid through a bombilla (a silver straw with a filter) until the gourd is empty before passing it back to the cebador who will then serve the next person.

An invitation to share a mate is a great social and cultural experience in Argentina. However, the drink is an acquired taste for some who may find the water hot and the tea bitter!