What is Maté?
Maté (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmate]), also known as chimarrão (Portuguese: [ʃimaˈhɐ̃w̃]) or cimarrón, is a traditional South American infused drink, particularly in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, southern states of Brazil, south of Chile, the Bolivian Chaco, and to some extent, Syria and Lebanon. It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (llex paraguariensis, known in Portuguese as erva mate) in hot water. Mate is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombilla in some Latin American countries, a bomba in Portuguese, and a bombija or in general a masassa (type of straw) in Arabic. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern commercially available straws are typically made of nickel silver, called Alpaca, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa, while in Brazil it has the specific name of cuia. Even if the water comes in a very modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias. As with other brewed herbs, yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture. A modern bombilla design uses a straight tube with holes, or spring sleeve to act as a sieve. “Tea-bag” type infusions of mate (mate cocido) have been on the market in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay for many years under such trade names as “Cruz de Malta” in Argentina, “Pajarito” and “Kurupí” in Paraguay, and in Brazil under the name “Mate Leão”. This is considered a completely different drink, never drunken in “cuias” or called “chimarrão”, nor is it associated with the “gaúcha” culture.
Benefits of Maté on Health:
Mate tea contains several vitamins and minerals important to human health, including vitamins A (as beta-carotene), B1, B2, C and E, as well as phosphorus, iron and calcium.
Like coffee and tea, Yerba Maté is generally recognized as safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Antioxidants and anti-carcinogens
Yerba Maté tea contains significant levels of polyphenol antioxidants and has a slightly higher antioxidant capacity than green tea. On average, Mate tea contains 92 milligrams of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid per gram of dry leaves and no catechins, giving it a significantly separate antioxidant profile than other teas.
In-vivo and in-vitro studies are showing that Yerba Mate exhibits significant cancer-fighting activity. In 1995, research at the University of Illinois found Yerba Mate to inhibit the proliferation of oral cancer cells.
Positive effect on high cholesterol levels
A 2007 study from the University of Illinois conducted by Elvira de Mejia Ph.D, (Plant Biotechnology) found that consuming 0.5 liters of Yerba Mate tea increases activity levels of the enzyme that produces HDL cholesterol and lowers levels of LDL cholesterol. Study participants drinking mate tea had a 10% increase in the level of cardio-protective enzyme PON1, a precursor to HDL, compared to others drinking milk or coffee. An in-vivo study conducted by the University of São Francisco and the University of São Paulo in Brazil in 2009 found that mice fed high-fat diets for 12 weeks had significant improvements in blood serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and glucose after being orally administered a solution of purified water and instant Yerba Mate tea powder. (from Wikipedia)
Other references to Maté:
- Fresh, hand-harvested in July 2011:
In some places, such as Argentina, it is recommended to use the Yerba Mate only after a rest of at least 6 months. This procedure increases the caffeine content and reflects the nature of the trees harvested. After studying the indigenous tradition and speaking with families who have produced Yerba Mate for generations, as well as harvesting it ourselves, we have learned the the highest quality depends on the freshness of the product. After 15 days rest we achieve the brightest color,a strong fragrance and an intense (not bitter) taste. More about caffeine, theobromine, chlorophyl contents are available over email request.
- 100% old-growth forest origins:
By using trees, that have been alive for over 100 years, residing in the shady Atlantic Forest and obtaining the right balance between large and small leaves yet avoiding the shiny smaller leaves (appropriate for the industrial bitter taste), we ensure the best raw material. It is widely known that not only the tree species, but also the environment are extremely important for the leaves’ quality and eventual taste.
- Smoked with Yerba Mate wood, dried in a traditional manner, all done by hand:
Unlike coffee, whose flavor is largely dependent on the roasting, mate’s flavor is released during a rapid burning process. The industry does the rapid burning in metal containers using only hot air without direct contact to the fire. Meta Mate however, utilizes a traditional indigenous procedure with a careful hand contact directly to the fire.