Mate or chimarrao in Brazil

Mate (a hot herbal drink) is just as an essential part of the Argentinian culture as is asado (barbecue). It’s drank by everyone everywhere and each gas station has its own spot for filling up your thermos with hot water (which of course, is carried along on road trips of all lengths). But how to drink it the right way?

As I’ve just crossed over to Argentina from Paraguay, I’ve needed to refresh my memory. Just in case anyone else is planning on visiting these parts of the world, here’s an essential video tutorial we did last Christmas on the art of drinking mate. It includes the most common errors conducted by foreigners and the tips for correcting them, so let’s share the knowledge!

5 TIPS for drinking mate

  1. Do NOT touch the bombilla (the ‘straw’ you drink it with) and mix the herbs.
    Why? It will ruin the taste.
  2. Always give the calabash gourd back to the sevador, the person serving the drink.
    Why? He/she knows whose turn it is to drink etc.
  3. Do NOT speak with the mate in your hand.
    Why? It is supposed to circulate!
  4. Drink up all the liquidnot just a sip.
    Why? People will think you don’t like the drink.
  5. Do NOT thank the sevador every time you give the calabash back.
    Why? This is only done at the end, when you don’t want anymore.

Strangerless observes:

This drink, made out of yerba mate, has its variations both in name, drinking culture and taste, in all the surrounding countries (Argentina, Uruguay, Southern Brazil, Paraguay and the Bolivian chaco). In Brazil it is called chimarrão and it’s a brighter, more powdery drink than its Argentinian equivalent. Also, the calabash gourd the yerba is drank in is a lot bigger in Brazil than in Argentina. The cold tereré drank in Paraguay and Southern Brazil has the same appearance as mate, but it is drank cold. In addition to this, there’s the cocido in Southern Brazil and Paraguay, which is yerba mate roasted with sugar and cooked, heated up with milk. As for the cultural differences: in Argentina, Brazil and Southern Brazil, mate and tereré are usually shared, whereas in Uruguay everyone has their own thermoses and calabas gourds! Below a few examples from the road 🙂

Can you guess in which country each picture was taken?

Written by Sissi Korhonen
Exploring, interpreting and understanding cultures through local languages and people. An advocate for intercultural communication as a basis for diversity acceptance and human equality.