First contact with Yerba Mate
I discovered Yerba Mate last year when my Argentinian girlfriend offered me to taste it. To be honest, I didn’t like it very much. But, for the record, my girlfriend isn’t too skilled at preparing mate. The good news is that, since her brother showed me how to properly make it, I’m the one who prepares it for both me and her.
Back to the story. The second time I had it, my girlfriend made tereré, which is the cold version of Yerba Mate. Basically, it’s just yerba, ice and fruit juice. I really liked it! We drank tereré during the whole summer in order to refresh us. And, during this same summer, we decided to go visit the castles of Loire Valley in France, which is a five-hour drive from where we live. It was time to bring mate on the road.
First trip with Yerba Mate
I was told that, in Argentina, drinking mate during road trips is nearly a tradition. The idea of bringing mate along for our trip made me excited because it reminded me of the moments when my parents and I would stop on the road en route to our vacation destinations. We would take a moment to share coffee together; these moments remain very lovely memories for me. And, when I compare the two trips, the one with my girlfriend and the ones with my parents, I can understand that one of the main advantages of drinking Yerba Mate, instead of coffee, is that you can drink mate while driving without the need to stop.
A handful of other advantages that Yerba Mate offers during road trips:
- Time. Time flies more rapidly in the car when sharing Yerba Mate! Between the moment when you first drink it and the moment you wait for your sixth or seventh turn, the trip is done in the blink of an eye.
- Nerves. You are more relaxed. Personally, I’m quite anxious while driving, especially when stuck in traffic jams. Drinking and sharing Yerba Mate allows me to be more relaxed, since it gives me something to do, distracting me from my anxiety.
- Atmosphere. The ambience in the car is better when sharing Yerba Mate. Yerba Mate undoubtedly has a social effect. And, by sharing a mate, you feel closer to the people you’re with; you are more open to chat, joke and laugh.
Transfer of knowledge
After our trip to the Loire Valley, months went by and our first trip to Argentina was in sight. This was a big time for me because it was going to be the first time I’d meet the family of my girlfriend, Maia. Since the first time I tasted it, I had developed a growing curiosity for Yerba Mate and all of the tradition surrounding it, making me eager to discover more of this aspect of Maia’s culture.
Our journey from France to Argentina took more than 20 hours for us to finally arrive in the Buenos Aires airport. Maia’s brother was kind enough to come pick us up and drive us to our final destination, which was seven hours from Buenos Aires. While this could have been a long and exhausting journey, especially after traveling for 20 hours, I was immediately put in a good mood because once we hopped in the car and closed the door, we began to share the Yerba Mate between us. This initial interaction introduced me to Maia’s brother and his wife, as well as sparked further curiosity about Yerba Mate. Where does it come from? Why do only a few countries in South America have this tradition? What is Yerba…? I can honestly say that Yerba Mate allowed me to integrate into her family more easily.
In the following days, her brother invited me to accompany him, just the two of us, to discover the region and spend time together driving around. While we were driving, he would ask me to prepare the mate, and taught me how to make a proper one. I took this moment as the moment he allowed me to enter the family circle of Maia. I appreciated sharing that moment with him, and I’ll keep the memory of it for a long time to come. At the end of the trip, he gave me his Yerba Mate equipment. This is the one I’m using now (I’ve added a Yerba Mate and sugar box to my equipment).
Her other brother and his wife also offered me a mate after he helped me to discover the major Argentinian city of Rosario. Obviously, we drank Yerba Mate during the entire trip there. The convenience of having two mates was that we could drink one of them amargo (bitter) and the other dulce (sweet). I was told by them that you don’t want to put sugar into the mate you’re designating as the amargo one.
Yerba Mate, the creator of memories and moments
More than a simple drink, Yerba Mate is the creator of moments and memories. And, in my opinion, I find that this is even truer when you sharing it during road trips. It is in the sharing spirit that Maia and I decided to start an Instagram account, just to share moments with people and help them discover places we love. Obviously, Yerba Mate has an important place in this all. You can follow us on Instagram at @Colorsdiariess. Join us and let’s share moments together.
Pierre of Colors Diaries