So how did I become acquainted with Yerba Mate? Well, the story goes back to 2010 and takes place during my first backpacking trip in Argentina. This was actually the first time I had the pleasure of visiting another continent and it was a life-changing experience in itself. I have since done plenty of traveling and have arrived to the conclusion that the best way to do so via backpacking.
When traveling, you become acquainted with new and varied cultures as well as interesting individuals, and this ultimately opens your perspective and changes the way you view the world and life. Backpacking is one of the most personal ways you can travel since you are consistently communicating with the locals as well as other travelers.
It was in Buenos Aires where I met up with a friend who I was lucky to have met during my studies in Spain. As we walked around enjoying the surroundings, I was drawn to the fact that people walked around carrying what seemed to be a thermos. It was a very hot day in the middle of summer so I inquired with my friend as to why they were walking around with thermoses in the middle of summer. He then explained that it was because of Yerba Mate. My friend is very open, as are many Argentines, so he proceeded to ask complete strangers if I could have a sip of Yerba Mate.
My first sip
My first sip came with the impression that it was a bit difficult to drink. I mean you have to lug a thermal flask around as well as a pack of loose leaf tea, a gourd and its designated bombilla? Why would anyone want to carry all of that just for a drink of Yerba Mate? This is something I can now answer.
We were there, in the middle of the street, sipping Yerba mate and going on about it. At first I was not very impressed with the taste but they continued explaining why Yerba Mate is drank instead of coffee. Many people drink it because they cannot afford food and it is a hunger suppressant. They also explained that sharing your Yerba Mate is a tradition, a social event, if you may, that has a way of bringing people together. And trust me you never ever forget your first sip of Yerba Mate.
My second sip
That being said, my second sip of mate is also one I will never forget. About two days later, as I strolled through one of the popular city parks at night, I heard a young boy approaching and shouting “ESLOVENIAAAA.” I am from Slovenia, so I was completely thrown off – how did this kid in one of the biggest South American cities know where i came from? The thing is, the kid was hanging out when I had my first mate experience a couple of days earlier and the people I had been around saw me and invited me over for some more mate. As they say in Argentina; “Que coincidencia?”
When I returned home to Slovenia it occurred to me that I should try importing mate. However, someone in my city has already done that. This is not a bad thing being as I could easily stock up on mate. I bought a gourd and bombilla in Argentina which made the trip home with me, and now I’m the one people eyeball wondering why I walk around town in the summer heat carrying a thermos.
A new home
I have since moved to Canada. Luckily there is a Yerba Mate bar near me – I have not found any place like it where I live. Yerba mate continues to be my all-time favorite beverage largely due to the health benefits. When I drink Yerba mate, not only is my physical energy increased but my mental capacity is enhanced as well. Like the great Lionel Messi, I, of course, drink Yerba Mate before my soccer games and even while I contribute to my Yerba Mate blog. That’s right, I have a Yerba Mate blog.
Yerba mate is not something that many people know about but I believe that they should. It is my genuine belief that Yerba Mate is not only a good, but maybe even better, alternative to coffee. It’s my hope that my blog will help people become acquainted with the delicious, healthy and refreshing drink that is Yerba Mate. Mateo is already doing a good job. :)
Visit my website here and keep on sipping mate.