Paraguayan tea - mate is a drink, so beloved by the inhabitants of South America, in contrast to coffee and cocoa, which also came to us from across the ocean, really became popular in Europe not so long ago, only in the twentieth century.
In South America people have special respect to this drink. There is a beautiful ancient legend about origin of this tea. It tells the story how God accompanied by his servants went on a journey around the world. Their way ran through an impenetrable jungle. There tired travelers found a hut where lived an old man with his amazingly beautiful daughter. Hiding from people in the depths of the jungle the old man tried to protect the beautiful girl. Gracious hosts offered tired travelers dinner and night lodging. God decided that the whole world should learn about the wondrous beauty of the girl, so he turned her into a small tree. The leaves of this tree people began to use for a drink that is worthy of admiration. It is believed that the mate has almost magical properties. It’s able to quench simultaneously thirst, hunger, and to give courage.
Rich chemical composition of mate gave the drink healing properties. The composition of mate includes more than 190 components.
• vitamins - A, C, E, group B, nicotinic acid;
• organic acids - isovaleric, isobutyric, resin;
• bioflavonoids - rutin, quercetin;
• saponins - beta-amyrin;
• micro-, macro-element - magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, potassium, sodium and so on;
• specific alkaloid - mateine.
Mateine deserves special attention. The influence of Mateine to some extent similar to the effect of caffeine, however, it is more soft, gentle and nearly three times longer. Nevertheless mateine doesn’t cause overstimulation and sleep disorders.
As in the East there is a special tea ceremony, as well in South America, there is a special ritual of preparing and drinking mate. And in this ritual there’s no place for hustle and bustle.
For the preparation of mate they use special utensils - calabaza (this vessel is manufactured from a pumpkin) and bombilla (cane or metal straw).
To prepare mate you need:
Put mate in the calabaza, it should occupy one quarter of the vessel then turn the calabaza so that mate will be at the wall. Then pour out a little bit of cold water in the calabaza to moisturize the brew. In this form it should stay for three minutes, till the water will be completely absorbed. Then carefully inserted the bombilla into the calabaza. Cover the top hole with your finger, and pour hot water (70-80 ° C) into the vessel. Boiling water destroys the beneficial properties of mate and cause bitterness. The drink should infuse for about 2 minutes, after this the Paraguayan tea is ready.
It’s necessary to drink mate slowly, with little sips, sipping through the bombilla.