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The Spice and Tea Thymes

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What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate is a species of holly originally cultivated in what is now modern day Paraguay. Presently more commercially available, yerba mate is used to make the beverage mate, or terere, if steeped in cold water. Especially popular in South American, mate has found an internationally following, its somewhat conspicuous imbibement tools - that of a calabash gourd with a bombilla (metal filter straw), which itself is often ornamental, offers a thoughtful, almost ritualistic drinking experience, while the contents of the mate itself are pungent, earthy, and gently stimulating. 

 

When we talk about ‘types’ of yerba mate, we’re really talking about its country of origin: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, or Uruguay. If you’ve got something that looks like matcha, bright-green and verdant, chances are you’re looking at Brazilian yerba mate. If it appears more subdued and brown with larger leaves and stems, you’re likely looking at Argentinian or Paraguayan yerba mate, though with Paraguay being the smallest producer and harder to come by in the United States, odds are good you’ve got an Argentinian product. If you’re seeing small leaves and dust with nearly no stems present and a slightly greener hue, you’re looking at Uruguayan yerba mate.

 

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