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Monday, April 17, 2006

Why Buenos Aires truly never sleeps

Yerba Mate is a kind of tea served traditionally in a hollowed out gourd called a mate (see photo) and sipped through a straw-like device called a bombilla. Introduced to the world by the Guarani Indians of South America, it is now common to see people in Buenos Aires carry their mate and a thermos of water with them throughout the day.

Like coffee but without the caffeine, yerba mate contains stimulants that keep its drinkers energetic and fights fatigue. While the drink does have health benefits, it has contributed to the fact that Buenos Aires is one of the most sleep-deprived cities in the world.

Considering dinner in Buenos Aires starts at 10pm in most homes and restaurants and nightlife doesn’t get going until 1am, yerba mate is an essential staple of the PorteƱo diet.

Watch how to make mate at

Instructions for making mate:
1) Pour some yerba mate into the mate cup.

2) Pour warm water onto some of the yerba mate. Do not pour boiling water over the yerba mate because it destroys the nutrients.

3) Allow the yerba mate to steep.

4) Insert straw (bombilla) into yerba mate.

5) Pour some more warm water into the cup and drink.

Even though I haven't had yerba mate myself, I'm suffering from sleep deprivation as a result of other people in the house drinking it and staying up to all hours of the night. In addition, we really don't eat dinner until 10pm which is my usual bed time at home. I guess I'll have to start drinking yerba mate to keep up!

1 comment:

jen collins said...

ohh the mate. i tried that once, just once. whoa! though i'm reinspired to dig it out of my cupboard again next time i'm tired. i cannot imaging a lifestyle where dinner starts at 10pm! what time does everyone get up?