Skip to main content

Yerba Maté

Yerba Maté

Yerba Maté, Ilex paraguariensis, tea made from the maté plant, a hollylike bush. Pre-Columbian peoples in South America developed a liking for the tea. The gaucho and other inhabitants of the Río de la Plata adopted the beverage, which remains very popular. The plant is now cultivated in Paraguay and the northern riverine provinces of Argentina. The highly caffeinic beverage is traditionally served in a pear-shaped gourd (also called a maté). Tea leaves are placed in the gourd and hot water is poured over them. The gourd is passed from person to person, and each sips the hot drink through a metal straw called a bombilla. More hot water and leaves are added as needed.

Many folk beliefs and rituals have grown up around the drink. According to a traditional poem, maté served with milk means respect. Sweetened maté indicates friendship; flavored with balm mint, it communicates displeasure. The beverage is most often consumed "straight," with nothing added.

See alsoFood and Cookery; Gauchos.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), pp. 78-79.

Amaro Villanueva, El maté: Arte de cebar (1960).

Additional Bibliography

Whigham, Thomas. La yerba mate del Paraguay, 1780–1870. Asunción, Paraguay: Centro Paraguayo de Estudios Sociológicos, 1991.

                                   Richard W. Slatta

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Yerba Maté." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Oct. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Yerba Maté." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 24, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yerba-mate

"Yerba Maté." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved October 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/yerba-mate

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.