Matte and Bombilla

Argentines (and Chileans to a lesser extent) are obsessed with matte tea. There is an entire culture surrounding the consumption of matte. The most important part of drinking matte? Looking cool while you do it.

Here’s how it works. First, you have to get a cup and straw. The cup, made out of wood or a dried pumpkin or other type of gourd, is actually called the “matte”. The straw, generally made out of metal, is known as the bombilla, has a filter on the cup end to keep small tea leaves out of your mouth. Next, you need a portable thermos full of pretty hot water (but not boiling hot, as it will burn the tea). Finally, you need the yerba, or tea. You fill the matte cup with dry yerba about 2/3 full (no tea bag), and then soak the yerba with hot water from the thermos, filling the matte to the top. Then, you’re ready to imbibe, enjoying your tea through the straw.

Drinking matte is a social affair, with up to 4 people sharing the same cup. The yerba stays fresh for a good dozen refills. Each person drinks all of the liquid out of the cup for their turn, finishing up with a loud and proud sucking noise as the water runs out of the straw. Refill the matte cup from the thermos, and pass it along to your friend.

What did we think of matte? Let’s just say it’s an acquired taste.

This is a hot water machine, designed specifically for matte thermoses. We found this at Iguazu Falls National Park. Gotta look cool at the falls

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