Yerba Mate derives from South America and is especially popular in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Similarly, guayusa also derives from South America and is very popular in Ecuador. A common way to consume both yerba mate and guayusa is in a gourd ceremony.
The yerba mate gourd ceremony is a symbol of hospitality and friendship. These very social events bring groups together and traditionally stories and legends were shared at this event. To begin a cebador or a mate server prepares the mate for the group. The most important role of the cebador in preparing the mate is making sure that the mate is properly steeped resulting in a rich and smooth tasting brew. Each person drinks from the gourd through a straw filter called a bombilla. There is no rush to finish the gourd and when the recipient has had enough they say gracias (thank you) indicating that they are finished. The cebador refills the gourd as needed and it continues to be passed until the mate is lavado (flat). The trick to drinking the yerba mate in this way is not to move the bombilla once the mate has been prepared.
Similar to the yerba mate gourd ceremony, the guayusa ceremony brings groups together. For thousands of years, Ecuadorian families have woken up early and share the gourd, sharing stories and legends around the fire. Hunters would drink guayusa before nighttime hunting trips allowing them to focus and get closer to the environment around them, guayusa is nicknamed “The Night Watchman” for this reason. In our third and final yerba mate blog series, the legends and stories evolved from both yerba mate and guayusa will be explored!
It is fascinating to learn that regardless of the continent, tea and in this case tisane ceremonies are important rituals for cultures. In our busy lives shouldn’t we too take time to continue a ritual of tea.