Monday, January 14, 2008

Tea Around the World - South America

These photos show a variety of Mate cups and bombillas typical of South America where the Mate cup is used to prepare Hierba Mate or Yerba Mate, a herb loaded with caffeine that produces a strong vestal flavor and should not be confused with true tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. Hierba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a species of holly and is enjoyed in these hollow calabash gourds. The herb is stuffed into the gourd which is then filled with hot, not boiling water, and sipped through the bombilla, or metal straw. Traditionally the straw is silver with a bulbous filter at the base which helps to filter the herb while sipping through the shared straw. The gourd can be merely functional or elaborately ornate. Also note the different types of stands to support the mate cup. (Note: there is an accent on the 'e' in mate, pronounce ma-tay.)

1 comment:

La Tea Dah said...

Very interesting. You have a lovely collection! I have one bombilla and actually enjoy using it with loose leaf herbal teas. I haven't actually tried 'mate'' yet. A friend of my son's was in college in Argentina last school year. It was 'the thing' to take their bombilla's and go to nearby park to have their mate'. They had to go next door because it was against the rules on campus to consume it. Thank you for sharing.