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Sebastián Urresti

El Mate

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Dear Janel,

 

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! Interesting that you describe it as an acquired taste and that´s true. Here we get used to it since we´re little kids. My two sons drink Mate, the bitter version of it, and as I can say that you remember is BITTER! The sipping part is called Bombilla (you can read it Bom-bee-sha with the second syllable accented) We have hundreds of brands and a couple of differences among them, you have Yerba Mate brands that cost 2 dollars the kilo and others that cost 6 dollars the kilo. You have stronger versions, lighted versions, with orange, grapefruit, lots of herbs, six month stationed versions, green versions and with or without sticks. I know that for some of the TCP we are talking about something very strange, but here you have a nice link to read about it if you want. Now, Janel, where was this kid from? Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay or the South of Brazil? :) Where I´m living right now the Mate is hot in winter and cold in summer, in this case is called Tereré and you can drink it with ice and water or ice and fruit juices or any other thing that you want, I tasted it with Sprite and is not that bad!!! HAHAHAHA! :D Although I know that some orthodox people would want to get me killed for that. As for the gourds well, you can use it or you can use anything that can be used to hold the Yerba Mate and the Bombilla and still gets the name Mate: A cup, mates made from porcelain, from bambu, from steel (the best for Tereré), from silver, from animal parts (bull hoofs or horns), covered with the skin of a particular part of the bull (I think you know what part I mean), strangely collored alluminum mates, and some modern designs that you can display in N.Y. :P And for those of you who like intercultural mixes a lot of richly painted Mates with golden inner part are made in... RUSSIA and turned out of Paulownia!!!!! (I have to get a phot of those one...)

For the metalsmith guys I´m posting a couple of photos:

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Hope you enjoy something new (for everyone except Janel of course :P)

Hugs,

Sebas

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My Mother, brothers and sister were born in Costa Rica and Yerba Mate is also drunk there. My recollections in drinking it was that it was always served extremely hot and had a very peculiar grass like taste. I am not certain what the botanical name of the Mate herb is. I understand it is part of the holly family.

 

The dried herb is placed in the cup (commonly a gourd) and boiling water is poured into the cup. Once steeped the bombilla (bom-bee-ya in Costa Rica) is used to sip it. The bombilla is a metal straw with a strainer on the end placed into the cup. The strainer portion is hinged and can be opened to clean it. The mouthpiece is flattened slightly. I have seen 18th century examples of mate cups and bombillas that are very elaborate and exquistly chased.

 

Fred

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Dear Sebas,

 

Life is interesting! The fellow is from the US, but was on an intensive training trip, for what I don't know. He kayacked, did something in the jungle, maybe rock climbing... in South America. My son could not be more specific, sorry.

 

Thank you for all of the good descriptions of the mates and yerba mate flavor choices. We went to an internet site, by no recommendation, and selected two gourds and two bamboo bombilla. I think that the gourds are too big, but there was no choice about it. The yerba mate has the word TARAGUI on the front, the rest is in Spanish so I will not be able to tell you any more about it. It has sticks, small leaf pieces and plenty of dust. We are solo sippers, so I never fill the cup in a friendly way, just a little, and suck a lot of air! :) It is not very graceful! The taste is a little like green tea, but when it is strong it is bitter, I agree. I confess that I may break the rules and put more water in than your countrymen may do. Be easy on me please! I am a beginner with it! :P

 

The link to the Wikipedia page was very informative. It is good to see that hot, not boiling water is what is used. I read that before, in other literature.

 

I wonder if yerba mate drinkers are as commonplace as Starbucks-Caribou Coffee-etc. coffee drinkers are here. So many people are carrying their coffee in throwaway containers, or thermos cups here in the US. Wikipedia made it sound like yerba mate drinkers are similar. The rules are interesting for drivers and public transportation riders!

 

The elegant silver mates are quite decorative! A little more class than I might be caught with! Thank you for showing them.

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Dear Folks,

Hey Mike, by "elaborate" do you mean explain, sorry but I´m not an English born speaker and sometimes I don´t "get" everything... :) If it´s a yes, the next post I´ll elaborate a little on Mate.

WOW! I didn´t know that they drink mate in Costa Rica! NICE! I guess that somebody took the seeds over there, for what I know the ilex paraguariensis, that´s the scientific name of Yerba Mate, is from South America. We don´t drink it with boiling water because is not good for the yerba, the hot water burns it. We dirnk it at 80-85º C! The bombilla tips are usually covered with 18K gold, and yes, they are flattened a bit.

Janel, Taragui is the guarany name of an Argentinian state, is a very popular brand but not one of the best. I think that Rosamonte is good, if you want to keep on trying. I don´t know what is "big", as we have 100´s, and literally 100 of them, shapes of mates... Maybe you want to post the sizes and I´ll help you, but you have to consider that the gourd must be half-filled, then you move the yerba to one side... Like this / hehehehe! Put a little water, maybe half of the angle, then put the bombilla and add some more water up to the yerba extreme, try not to cover the yerba, just maintain the water there. :P You can add some sugar if you want or honey, we usually call those "Mate de Gringo" or Gringo´s Mate, wonder why... LOL!

We don´t have Mate houses, somebody tried to do so a few years ago, but nothing happened, I think that Mate is a little rebel... We drink it a lot in almost everywhere but in Uruguay is amazing in Montevideo, I´ll look for a photo, a lot of people walk with their thermo and their mate... THEY EVEN RIDE BIKES WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P Those are real Mate Lovers!!!!

Keep on trying, is so good to carve with a Mate with you, I know I always have mine by my side!

Hugs,

Sebas

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Dear Sebas,

Yes, elaborate means - add more detail to what has already been said. Mate in the way of life pictures would be interesting cultural education for us! :), thanks for offering!

 

My mates is 8 cm tall and 10 cm wide. My son's is shorter but wider and fits his large hand. (we did not get to choose, just clicked √ two mates) To half fill mine with yerba would be strong for very long, and I would not likely drink all of it, and still be bouncing from wall to ceiling and not be able to carve :P. A smaller size will work for me, at least for now! The one I have is for sharing, I think. My neighbors grow gourds with their pumpkins and squash at their organic farm. Is there a specific variety of gourd used for mates? Maybe if I can help them harvest again this autumn, I could look for some good mates gourds! Then I would learn how to cure and prepare the gourds, and have mates for any size group, of one or many. Our son would benefit by it too!

 

The mates I have is deep orange/brown in color, and when damp stains the surface it is on. I wonder what the colorant might have been. Can a mates be unstained, or would the gourd be too ugly for some to appreciate as it "matures" into being dry. Does the mates need to be sealed on the outside with anything? Too many questions?

 

We did not purchase the small thermos, but the coffee houses have them for their coffee addicts. That would be a good thing to invest in next! I always pick them up because they are attractive, but I have had no use for them.

 

The bamboo bombilla clogs, maybe my technique is not good yet. Are the silver bombilla easier to use, not clog as easily? I enjoyed your demonstration for the angle of the yerba in the mates! Very clever / !

 

Janel

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Dear Janel,

Sorry for the time to answer you, I was translating my site to English and making upi some codes and tuff and I wasn´t able to answer, but I lurked a lot of the TCP. :lol:

I swear that the next post will be an elaborated Mate related text. :)

8 x 10 makes some "bocón" (big mouth) kind of mate, and those are the ones that I like to use, that´s the kind of measure that we use, to fill half of it and drik it. When the Mate is good you see some "foam" on top of it and that means that it´s good and not "lavado" (washed) that is when the mate is loosing its taste, here is when some people like it, even here, because is not that strong. Yes, it can produce a similar effect to the one produced by coffe in large quantities, not letting you carve, as you said, or sleep. The one you have is for solo drinking or share. You can make a Mate, a smaller version, cutting a bamboo to the desired size, and curing it with some used yerba, that is, once you use the yerba in your regular mate you fill your bamboo and let it for one day, then it´s "cured". Any gourd will do fine, just cut it from the plant and let it dry in a dark place. you can cut the bottom part, and of course make a stand for it, or cut the top and let it lay on its bigger rounded part. If it´s dry you can sand the outer part, carve it or dye it as you want. Once you´ve done it you cut the part that you want and fill it with water for a day, then you remove all the white flesh that is inside, ALL OF IT, and cure it as the bamboo. Don´t worry if it change its colour, as the green components of the yerba will dye it making it a little darker outside. The unstaining part I´m not familiar with, but you can use regular soap and WASH IT VERY WELL! :S You don´t actally need to seal it, but if you want to is ok, what you can´t touch is the inner part, and here´s where the Russians mates are not so good, as you won´t let the gourd the receive tha Mate taste. As for the thermos, well, ours have a special lid that is design to let out a thin water stream (is that correct?) so the Mate wouldn´t get washed (lavado) so fast. I know that we have some Chinese thermos that have a button on it and their are not design to drink mate, but they work just fine. You have to look ate the stream, if it is too big, or wide, then all you have to do is to control where the water hits the yerba and do it as gentle as possible. All the bombillas may clog, but don´t worry, sometimes that´s because the mate hasn´t enough yerba to do the sucking part easy (hope to be clear here.) if you put less yerba than the one that is needed the pressure is not correct making the bombilla clogs. The longer the bombilla the easiest to drink a good mate. Maybe you can do them with bamboo as the one you have trying different sizes... :D

Thanks for the anlge description part! :$

Hope you enjoy and understand the explanations!

Here you have some photos on how to "cebar" the Mate, the thermo that I´m talking about and how everybody LOVES to drink mate!

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Hugs,

 

Sebas

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Dear Sebas,

 

Thank you for the photos, and thank you for the good explanations. Great little mate drinker friend!

 

Is your mates ceramic, raku fired perhaps? Do I see a stand for it? I used my rotary carving bits to open the bombilla holes just a little, and found a membrane inside the bamboo that needed removal. Now, with a little more yerba in the mates, and with some care, the bombilla does not clog.

 

Question, can I use the same yerba all day? I cannot possibly drink enough to use up the yerba in one part of the day. I will be trying to answer my own questions :lol: today. I think that the caffeine is not as strong as tea and coffee. Information on the internet explains that the caffeine is a different chemical composition than those of coffee and tea.

 

This is an interesting topic, and could open the door for other rituals around the drinking of caffeine beverages. The Japanese Tea Ceremony for one. Also, I wonder about coffee or coffee bean based rituals in other cultures. I am familiar with popular and decades old uses of coffee in the USA, but what about its use in other countries where the preparation and drinking of the beverage are likely to be different. What might any of you know about such topics?

 

Janel

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Hi Janel,

 

I wanted you to see how many beings drink mate, is also a costume that some people make their horses drink it too.

Well, I don´t have ant ceramic mate, but I´ve seen thousands of them, some made with a kind of raw-lookin ceramic and others, as you said, Raku fired, they all do the job great! But I preffer the organic Mates as they can hold the yerba taste "in" them. :blush: Yes, in the photos there´s a leather stand, that´s not mine though, I have to take a photo of one of mine in my workbench for you to see it.

HEY! SO THERE´S NOT MORE CLOGGING FOR YOU, HUH?! Great! Great to have nice tools to improve the Mate drinking! :D

I read that the Mate has mateína, but of course that it can be the name that somebody decided to put to the caffeine components of the yerba... If you are part of the Orthodox then I can tell you that you only use your yerba until the water is over OR until it gets "lavado" -washed-, if the yerba gets cold, then you have to change it BUT if you like it and it stills have some taste in it KEEP IT DRINKING IT!!!!!!!! (That´s what I do ;))

I hope that someone describes another drinking ritual for us, I know that the Arabs have a huge ritual with their tea drinking and the coffee aking also!

 

Hugs,

Sebas

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Hi Sebas,

 

Less clogging. I have yet to master the technique of keeping the yerba in place... not enough yerba in the mates yet. It is all good fun! One goal is to use up this supply and find the better flavored yerba to try that. What do you suggest, with or without stems? I see different options offered.

 

Was the little dog really drinking yerba? :blush:

 

Janel

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You wrote before I could edit my earlier post. What do you suggest, with or without stems? I see different options...

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Dear Janel,

I´ll go for the one with stems as the one without, ussually, doesn´t have more than six month old and tends to be stronger... As for giving "tastes", you can add as many herbs that are used to drink as tea, any herb will do. I don´t know what kind you have in the U.S. but I´m sure that you may have some arround. I´ll look for some scientific names for the ones that we use if you want. What you can also do is to wash any citric very well and peel the skin, let it sun dry and then add little pieces to the yerba, mix it and drimk it up! Is very good and you can drink it cold or hot. Also you can add some leaves directly from the citric tree sliced very thin and mixed with the yerba also! :blush:

TRY IT CAN BE SO REFRESHING!!!!

 

Hugs,

Sebas

P.S.: I preffer brands as Rosamonte or Romance, try to look for the ones with the "Suave" label. ;) Smooooooth!

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Hi all!

 

Since I first read about mate last week here on TCP, never having heard of it before, I've seen mentions of it in several places including a story on a local news show about a new company just starting up in my city who's main product is mate! Think I'll have to try me some! Mate must be fate! :blush:

 

Kitty

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I should make a little effort and see if there might be South American grocery or provision stores in the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and see if I can find and purchase mates and yerba in person. Hmmm. An adventure!

 

Janel

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I just picked up a couple of tea bags of Mate at the local health foods store. i haven't tried them yet,just don't have to worry about clogged bombilla. Janel,maybe a sterling bombilla can be your next metal project..............

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