We all have been tourist at least once in a lifetime, and when we arrive to a different country, city or just the town next to our home town, we will find different living styles. Off course that the more distance we travel the more differences we are going to find in culture and traditions.
People arrive to Buenos Aires and start to notice porteños drinking a liquid through a straw from a cup, which depending on the situation could be made of wood, pumpkin, glass, silicon, plastic, etc.
Lot of tourist think that is a drug and we can say that for some people it is a drug,indeed; but this is nothing more than a traditional beverage that is popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and south of Brazil. It is similar to a tea.
Mate is prepared with yerba (kind of herb) and hot water. The first step is to place the yerba inside the cup, shake it to remove the dust, pour room temperature water and place the straw on one side. After this ritual to ensure a good quality mate, you can start pouring hot water and drink it.
Mate is a social drink, so don’t be afraid if you see a group of friends sharing one cup of mate. It is normal and it is the essence of the beverage.
You will have the opportunity to drink mate in some coffe shops, but mostly on Peñas. You can check this post to find a couple of places to have this experience. However, you can buy a mate (we also call the cup like this) and the bombilla (metal straw) in every market of the city and have your own experience! Salud!