So, is mate an acquired taste or is it possible I might like it?

Ries

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You have to buy it at the store and make it yourself. No restaurants serve it.
Its probably an acquired tasted, but, then, so is whiskey or sushi or jazz.
I started drinking it when I first came, in 2007, and have been drinking it every day for over ten years.
In the US, I buy it from Amazon.
Its a nice gentle caffeine hit, settles my stomach, and is a pleasant ritual.
Many people hate it. Many people like it.
These days there are all kinds of interesting organic small producer varieties in Argentina, with as wide a variety of tastes as teas.
Me, I happen to like bitter things, and fermented things- kombucha, amargos, kim chee, geuze.
Your mileage may vary.
 

sts7049

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definitely an acquired taste. but you can find yerba in the US, so you don't have to wait to try it here
 

FrankPintor

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Restaurants don't serve mate, but many offer hot water for your flask for a nominal price. You'd have to invest in the paraphernalia, flask, gourd, metal straw, shaker, etc and maybe a small case for all of that if you want to be mobile. It's not just saying "I'd like to try some mate", it's a commitment (you can get teabags with cooked mate, but it's not the same). There are shops selling all this stuff.

It's striking how ingrained in the culture drinking mate is here, people drink it in situations like on a trip to the beach, sitting in the park, where in other countries and cultures one would reach for a cold beer.

Despite COVID and other reasons not to, sharing mate (yuck!) still seems to be a big thing here among friends and family. If you're unfortunate you might be invited to share too.
 

Ries

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You can buy hippie mate at health food stores in the USA, it ten bucks for a 1/2 pound- thats a 1/4 kilo. Its usually about 2 years old by the time you get it, from all the supply chain and shipping.
As someone who drinks it every day, I order it online from Amazon, 12 dollars for a kilo- of supermarket grade Taragui or Union.
There are a few argentines in Miami, I met one once, who import containers full every month or so- its fresher.
In Argentina, a half kilo of organic mate is maybe 500 pesos. Supermarket grade is half that.
 

Ries

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All electric kettles in Argentina come with a Mate setting. The water is just the right temp. When you drive cross country in Argentina, the gas stations often have coin op hot water dispensers to fill your Stanley.
A friend of mine has a road trip rule- you cant have your first mate while driving until you see a cow. Doesnt take long.
 
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