By Veronica Dalto and Julieta Barrera
Buenos Aires, Dec 3 (EFE).- Mate, an ancient caffeine-infused beverage consumed in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, is enjoying a modern makeover with the tea now being mixed into cocktails and even contributing to a circular economy.
Many of these novel ways of enjoying the tannin-rich drink are on show at the Matear fair, which flung its doors open in Buenos Aires on Friday.
Pablo Gallego, the inventor of the electric mate, tells Efe he has found a way of keeping the tea hot and rich for 24 hours.
“It saves yerba, it saves energy, despite being electric, and it saves (our own) energy because there is nothing more exhausting than getting up to change the yerba every 15 minutes. The electric mate is here to change the lives of people who drink mate while they work and do things,” says Gallego, who has been making it for four years and selling it abroad for $100.
Yará, a lemon-flavored energy drink infused with mate produced by Yerba Mate Origen, an Argentinian brand, mixes very well with white spirits like gin, and aperitifs, such as Aperol.
The resulting cocktails, as well as being refreshing, have six vitamins and only ten calories per serving.
Creators launched the product a year ago “thinking about the innovation of yerba mate, because the world is asking us to consume yerba mate in another way, other than in the traditional way that we consume it,” Celestino Hernán Martínez Escudero, co-founder of Yará, tells Efe.
Mate is drunk through a steel or silver straw, called a ‘bombilla’ in Spanish, that filters the tea leaves from the brew.
“Talking with different consumers from other countries, they told us that the barrier was the bombilla for them,” Martínez Escudero adds.
“As an energizing, stimulating, rich in antioxidants and raw material qualities beverage, we believed that we had to show the world how to consume yerba mate in another way because of the qualities it has.”
Mate is also used to make Kombucha, a globally popular drink made by fermenting tea.
“We are presenting the Kombucha with yerba mate and the special summer Kombucha tereré, which is mate with lemon,” the founder of Karú Kombucha, Verónica Bergottini, tells Efe.
The producers of the sweet fermented mate tea use a by-product obtained during the production process to transform it into a type of bio leather dubbed Tilex for sustainable designs and agriculture.
“Our project seeks to create a Kombucha factory that is circular,” says Bergottini.
“We had a very good impact in the world of sustainable design because it was the first yerba mate-based biomaterial,” she adds.