When you meet the Uruguay team, whether on Skype or in person, there’s likely to be an interesting drink always within arm’s reach. This magical elixir is mate and it’s been fueling our UY mobile app development team since we opened our doors.
A staple in South American countries like Paraguay, Brazil, and, of course, Uruguay. The drink is an infusion of the herb yerba mate, taken with hot water warmed in a tea kettle. The dried yerba mate leaves are steeped in the hot water and most commonly served with a metal straw in a hollowed gourd. Some modern drinkers swap out the natural gourds with a wooden cup or gourd-shaped ceramic or metal container. These gourds will often be customized through decorative heraldic and floral designs.
The taste of mate has been described as a cross between coffee and green tea with hints of tobacco and oaky flavors, and the mate can always be sweetened up with honey or sugar. So what’s secret? Caffeine, of course – the lifeblood of any wide-eyed, late night developer. Better than a cup of coffee, mate gives our team and teams throughout South America the jumpstart they need to be the most productive they can be.
There’s a legend passed on by the indigenous Guaraní people that say the Goddesses of the Moon and Cloud came to Earth. Their visit took a turn for the worst, however, when they were attacked by a blood-thirsty jaguar. Fortunately, they were saved by an elderly man, and in return the Goddesses presented him with the yerba mate plant so that he could make a “drink of friendship.”
The social aspect of mate continues to this day. The most important ingredient to enjoying mate will always be the friends and family you share it with.
Mate is making its way north and is now being carried by retailers in California and throughout the US. It’s now widely available and actually makes up about 5% of the overall North American natural tea market. So get out there and try it for yourself, but be prepared to be very productive.