Mate - a tasty, healthy drink and traditional tea culture from South America

Ilex paraguariensis - this is the botanical name for the mate tree. The evergreen plant is a species of holly that feels at home in the subtropical jungles on the South American continent.

Mate - a tasty, healthy drink and traditional tea culture from South America

Ilex paraguariensis - this is the botanical name for the mate tree. The evergreen plant is a species of holly that feels at home in the subtropical jungles on the South American continent. In the wild, mate reaches heights of up to almost 15 metres; in cultivation, the mate bushes grow to about half this size.The mate leaves are particularly interestingThey are cut into small pieces, then fermented at a mild heat and then dried. This is the basis for the South American cult drink, mate tea.

The drink impresses with many positive properties: It contains more than 20 valuable vitamins, especially many from the B-complex. Positive influences on digestion and metabolism are attributed to them. Minerals contained in mate tea, such as potassium, strengthen the heart. Magnesium supports the absorption of strength-enhancing proteins from food.

The antioxidants in the tea are also said to strengthen the immune system.What the Italians have their caffè, the Argentines have their mate.In Argentina, coarsely crushed mate leaves including the leaf stalk are often used. Those who want to drink particularly strong teas opt for roasted variations. A mild variant are mate leaves that have been processed without the stalk. If the tea still tastes too bitter, you can sweeten the pleasure with honey.

In addition, connoisseurs will find numerous recipe ideas for hot and also ice-cold taste experiences. Mate experts such as the Argentine company Taragui offer a wide range of mate varieties. They also take care of professional cultivation, gentle fermentations and roasting.Mate tea is similarly stimulating as coffee - however, the caffeine content is usually lower.Therefore, the effect as a stimulant often occurs much more gently when drinking mate tea. A racing heart, as it plagues many people after excessive coffee consumption, is unlikely to occur with the same amount of mate tea.The right preparation plays a major role in this!Do you just pour boiling water on it? Not at all! The water should stand for a few minutes after boiling until it has a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees.

Only then does the infusion take place. Many experts recommend around 10 minutes as infusion time. With time, everyone who has discovered mate tea for themselves, develop their own ritual. The times can also be varied somewhat, depending on the desired taste and bitterness.The advanced mate connoisseur celebrates the preparation of teaThis allows the tart, slightly bitter aromas of the mate plant to develop even better.

Argentine mate sommeliers, for example, use a special mate jar. This is filled to about three quarters with the tea herb. Only the vessel is held upside down and carefully shaken. This way the ingredients are better distributed.

Now the mate jar is carefully turned right side up. The crushed mate leaves inside should lie at an angle as much as possible and form a kind of tunnel. Here the tea fan pours hot water into it. Cult like the tea and its many beneficial effects are also the vessels.

In Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay and Argentina, where a stronghold of mate cultivation is located east of Corrientes, connoisseurs enjoy the drink from calabashes.This is the name given to the bulbous vessels made from hollowed out bottle gourdsRichly decorated, carved wooden specimens are also very popular. The mate tea ceremony also includes the bombilla. The large drinking straw is carefully inserted into the calabash. Special rings on the bombillas, usually made of tinplate, ensure that the mouthpiece does not get too hot.

Traditionally, friends or family members enjoy the tea together from one vessel. In this way, they all do something for their health - and incidentally, mate tea also promotes social contacts, communication and peaceful, relaxed togetherness.