, ,

– random woman on the street with her mate and thermos in hand

I’ve been meaning to write about mate for some time now. I definitely think that Starbucks wouldn’t stand a chance around these parts as Mate is king. You can never get between a Uruguayan and his/her mate. It is definitely one of those acquired tastes. Its very bitter and most people don’t like it the first time around. I have grown fond of this drink. I don’t drink it often but I am definitely a fan. Purists like their mate “amargo” bitter, others add different types of sweeteners like sugar or honey. For those of you wondering what the heck it is, Wikipedia explains it best:

yerba mate in all varieties and quantities

Given the nation’s mate addiction it is not surprising that each supermarket has an entire aisle dedicated to this beverage. Here you can find yerba in all varieties and strengths; as well as bags in all sizes. Uruguay relative to neighbouring countries consumes way more mate per capita, ironically they have to import all of it. Yerba doesn’t grow in Uruguay, it requires more tropical conditions; most of it is imported from Paraguay, Brazil and parts of Argentina.

man with mate bag- groups chillin nearby the Intendencia sipping mate – the essential mate gear
Yea so I took pics of random people walking on the street. I tried to get more but something always came in the way. The mate bag, seen in the pic above was a sight that caught me off guard at first. I then realized the utility of such a case. Those who do not wish to tote their thermos under their arm usually opt for this mate case that carries the thermos, mate (cup), bombilla (special straw) and extra yerba if needed.