Ilex paraguariensis

IN THE SOUTH REGION of Brazil there’s quite a ritual involved in preparing and drinking yerba mate tea: the dried leaves are arranged in a gourd and carefully covered with hot water; after a few minutes, the tea is ready to be sipped through a special metal straw, with no milk or sugar added. This is the tradition in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná. In Mato Grosso do Sul, because of the warmer climate, cold water is added to the drink and the name changes to tereré. Three types of yerba mate are available in the market: crushed leaves with the stems, crushed leaves only, and the one used to prepare tereré, with very coarsely chopped leaves.