or yerba maté
Silver vessel for the preparation and serving of maté; in a private collection.
Stimulating tealike beverage, popular in many South American countries, brewed from the dried leaves of an evergreen shrub or tree (Ilex paraguariensis
) related to holly
. It contains caffeine and tannin but is less astringent than tea. To brew maté, the dried leaves (yerba
) are placed in dried hollow gourds (matés
) decorated with silver and covered with boiling water and steeped. The tea is sucked from the gourd with a tube, often made of silver, with a strainer at one end to catch leaf particles. Though usually served plain, maté is sometimes flavored with milk, sugar, or lemon juice.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.