Used for 2000 years, Yerba Mate is only grown in a region shared by Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Brazil.
This small national museum had an impressive collection of gourds ranging from over 100 years old to modern, made of all manner of materials, gourds, hooves, metal, ceramic, glass, porcelain.
These gourds pictured above have historic figures on them. At street fairs they will make them with your name on them.
There are thousands of brands of mate, they used to be packed in tins and are mostly in paper now.
We saw a short video on cultivation, hand and machine harvest, drying, storage for 12 months, and packaging.
Each of our couchsurfing hosts said they’d introduce us to mate, and when the time was right one finally did. known by the age-old term “panza verde”, green belly Juan showed us the fine points of enjoying mate traditionally. We learned to put the bombilla in the gourd and fill mostly with mate. Bombilla is the straw, the Argentine accent pronounced “bom bee sha”. Add some room temp water near the bombilla to make and indentation, and so the 80-90C water below boiling will not burn the “shjyerba”. The Servador is the only one who touches the bombilla with his hands, and refills the water for each person in the round. A delicious and fulfilling experience for sure!
After the.best.ever. coffee plantation living history tour in Kona, Hawaii I was expecting a lot more from Argentina around the tea they are known for, but BA is a metropolitan city and I’m looking forward to enjoying more mate experiences closer to the source.