Mate is the national drink of Argentina. “Maté” literally means “I killed” in Spanish. Later the word was used by people who colonized the region of the Río de la Plata to describe the natives rough and sour drink, always consumed with nothing added to soften the taste. Traditionally the beverage is prepared in the same gourd cup, also called mate or guampa.
The initial preparation involves an arrangement of the yerba within the gourd before adding hot water. In this method, the gourd is first filled half to three-quarters of the way with yerba The mate is then shaken very gently in a side-to-side motion. Now the mate is ready to receive the straw.
Some people pour warm water into the mate before adding the straw, while others say that the straw is best inserted into dry yerba. If the straw was inserted into dry yerba, the mate must first be filled once with cool water, then be allowed to absorb it completely (which generally takes no more than two or three minutes).
Mate is traditionally drunk in a social setting, like a family gathering or among a group of friends. The same gourd (cuia) and straw (bomba/bombilla) are passed around and used by everyone drinking .