30th November is no ordinary day in Argentina. The nation stops to celebrate its best loved infusion, since the Argentine Congress officially declared National Mate Day in 2014.
What’s more, mate can add a tasty twist to your Spanish language learning efforts, (Argentina’s official language).
So, let’s look take a closer look at how to make the perfect cuppa, and the cultural relevance of this iconic drink.
How to Make Mate
First off, you’ll need a mate pot called a “matero”, which is typically crafted from wood, glass, or metal. Or you can even opt for the traditional “porongo” made from pumpkin if you want to be extra authentic. Either way, you’ll also need an accompanying metal bombilla – a straw-like sipping accessory.
Add mate and the herb yerba to your pot and mix.
Next, fill with water at the ideal temperature of 80 degrees. Be careful not to let it boil and compromise the infusion.
All that’s left is to sip and savour your mate through the bombilla, (which acts as a filter).
Why Does Mate Matter?
Argentina is the world’s largest mate producer, consuming over 260 million kilos annually.
But mate isn’t just a drink in Argentina. It’s interwoven in the country’s rich culture. And it’s everywhere!
In fact, mate indulgence behind the wheel is officially recognised as a safety hazard! Anais Lucena explained in her Argentina: Why is the National Mate Day celebrated and what is this infusion? article for Elcuidadano: “That is why, at the moment a person goes to pick up their driver’s license, the authorities insist that when you are driving, you must not drink mate, and mark it as a dangerous distractive element”.
On the other hand, mate boasts numerous health benefits as an antioxidant, antidepressant, and natural stimulant.
At La Academia, don’t expect to just study Spanish. In addition, you’ll be immersed in the vibrant cultures of Spanish speaking countries, bringing your language learning to three-dimensional life. Get in touch for more details if you’re hoping to get matey with Spanish in 2024.