One Experience With Yerba Maté

I want to talk for just a moment about
yerba maté.

A few years ago, I was trekking through Argentina and got stuck on the Peninsula Valdez. I’d been walking alone along
the peninsular coast for about 7 miles, scrabbling over rocky beaches and kicking through the sand, when the tide came
in and cut off my exit. It was already late in the day and I knew I didn’t want to have to camp that night without a
tent or sleeping bag. So I headed into the interior of the peninsula and proceeded to get lost. I soon ran out of
water, and wondered for the first time in my life as if I might actually die of thirst.

Then, as often seems to happen in the most dire circumstances, I was saved. I ran into a couple of laid-back Argentine
dudes camping on the peninsula. They were stoned out of their minds, but totally cool and they invited me to sit for
mate. I was so thirsty, the last thing I felt like was hot yerba tea. But that’s all they had so I sat down with them
for a drink. Here’s the thing: It was one of the most refreshing things I have ever consumed. I have no idea if it was
the fact I was so thirsty or if mate itself has certain qualities that make it so refreshing, but after just a few
sips, I felt completely rejuvenated. Amazing.

There is a whole culture associated with yerba maté. The way it is made, the way it is passed around and
consumed…there are rules to the way it is done. I won’t get into them here, which would be kind of senseless anyway
since the rules differ a bit from place to place, but suffice it to say yerba maté is an interesting drink, both oddly
refreshing and culturally complex. And hey, that my story about mate.