Last week Travis, recently back from Argentina, sat next to me drinking a distinctively scented beverage. Literally poking my nose where it doesn’t belong I inhaled deeply and then asked about his drink. He informed me that it was maté. I had heard of this tea, but never tried it. Generously, Travis offered me some leaves and home I went… well, after work was over that is.

While my well-traveled colleague was using a bombilla (it looks like a straw with a filter on the end), but when I got home I just steeped it and filtered it. After a sip, I realized that my South American friends knew what they were doing when they standardized the drink by adding plenty of sugar. Of course, they also add coca, but since I didn’t have any on hand I passed on that step.

The tea is a best described as a very subtle-flavored cross of green tea and coffee with a (sorry to sound like a wine taster) strong, Earthy bouquet. Other people online describe the aroma as tobacco or oak. I found that the harsher the brew the more developed the tobacco odor becomes.

While maté is not particularly bad, it is far down on the list of teas I’d prefer to drink. Jessica sampled some for herself. I was curious to get her input, since she enjoys green teas and coffees more than I do, but alas, she agreed that it is a boring tea. Not bad, but nothing special. Oh well, back to our local Ten Ren (where we just picked up some fabulous young Keemun black tea for my Uncle’s Birthday).

posted by Lon at 09:41 PM Filed under Basics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.