A popular infusion: Mate
Mate is not made from the tea plant but from a plant native to South America which is very rich in caffeine. It is also called “Jesuits’ tea”. The plant used, yerba mate, is a member of the holly family. The leaves are roasted and crushed to produce a stimulating drink rich in caffeine.
Once prepared, mate is drunk from a calabash gourd using a bombilla. Mate is appreciated for its beneficial properties: a natural appetite stabiliser, it helps digestion and regulates the intestinal function. It is also a diuretic which helps eliminate toxins.
The ninth largest producer worldwide, Argentina has only really farmed tea for the past sixty years. Almost all the plantations are located on the border with Brazil, in the Misiones region.
Still a marginal producer, Brazil in particular produces broken-leaf teas.