Maté, or Yerba Maté, comes from the Maté bush which is indigenous to South America, and is related botanically to the North American holly plant. Maté is the only herbal infusion which contains stimulating caffeine and theobromine, similar to green and black tea. After harvesting and grading, the leaves and buds of Maté are briefly roasted over a wood fire to prevent them from turning black, then gently dried and cut. This process produces Green Maté, after which it can then be roasted a second time to produce a milder tasting variety, Roasted Maté.
In many parts of Latin America, Maté is a firm part of the way of life, and drunk throughout the day whenever people socialize. The traditional way of preparing it is in a Calebase, or maté bowl, which is made from a gourd, and is drunk very hot through a special metal straw with an integrated strainer, the Bombilla.
Maté has a fragrance midway between sweet and sour, with a touch of smokiness reminiscence of fresh wood. It is just easily prepared the "European" way, using a teapot and cups, but using a Calebase will greatly enhance its flavor as the Calebase ages.
The Indios believed that Maté has magical powers of alleviating hunger, exhaustion and heat. These characteristics make Maté ideal as a beverage to complement a slimming diet, or after physical exercise. It is mildly stimulating and at the same time refreshing, a pleasant way of ensuring your vital liquid intake.