Yerba Mate in San Telmo

On Sundays there is a huge and I mean HUGE street market that stretches from the downtown area for block and blocks down a narrow street to the neighborhood of San Telmo.  San Telmo is famous for the street market, tango bars, and people doing tango in the street.    We actually somehow missed everyone doing tango in the street. Every time we came across someone that looked like they might do tango in the street, they were resting, eating, or standing on a box playing guitar.

The street is so narrow and filled with people that claustrophobia overtook us at one point and we had to go down the street to a cafe for a relaxing cup of coffee. Although for me it wasn’t too relaxing.

The vendors I found the most interesting were the ones selling mate cups and the straws called bombillas.  Yerba mate is a type of drink that Argentinians are crazy for. In the grocery stores there are bags and bags of yerba mate lining the shelves.  You can’t easily get it at restaurants or cafes in Buenos Aires, so we hadn’t really seen it being drunk.


Once I knew what to look for I realized every vendor, no matter what they were selling, was also drinking yerba mate.

On the walk home we passed a park where everyone was also drinking yerba mate. If you look at the guy in the background (the one that’s not Jeff) you can see he’s drinking out of a bombilla.

Makes me want to give up coffee and try mate for awhile….maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Yerba Mate in San Telmo”

  1. Sooooo, what is the yerba mate exactly? Is it caffeinated like coffee? I kind of want to try it too. I hope that we can come visit you guys so that we’ll know the best part of the cow to eat, to not order a gin and tonic in Argentina (unless we want to get really drunk) and to drink yerba mate instead of coffee. Perfect! We’re learning so much from you!

  2. Love the blog! and I love San Telmo. We did the market the first day that we landed. It’s is amazingly overwhelming, but really cool. I never got the chance to try the yerba mate. Disappointed that I didn’t. What does it taste like?

  3. Cheryl

    just a note about Mate. The actual pear shape cup from where you drink it is known as the mate. What you drink its tghe infussion of the crusshed dry leaf:`yerba mate.You can drink it amargo (non sugared) or with sugar.The experts drink it amargo. You must share the bombilla and the mate is passed arround.At home you can also drink mate cocido this is the mate leaves boiled and filtered and the result is a green looking infusion.It is served in a cupor mug. Many add milk and sugar to this mate cocido.Today they also sell matebags sort of teabags to make your life easier.

    Funny that I tried to explain all this about mate to Harry Roberts many years ago and I even sent him a preciously decorated mate. Harry was totally indifferent.

    By the way the silver plated and ornamented mates are very nice and I once saw a collection from the Uruguayan embassy in Prague it was phenomenal. Finally about mate, its mostly drank in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Uruguay, Parts of Chile and the Rio Grande do Sul (South of Brazil) that drink this. Its quite a bit of people!

  4. I’m finally blogging and I feel so superior because of it. I love all your pictures and videos. What a great way to share your experiences. I see that I’ve been missing a whole lot. That whole cemetary thing is way out there! I bet you could write a great short story of that cemetary. Have you actually tried the yerba mate yet? Sounds strange but interesting. Does the yerba come locally –maybe it’s really some Mary Jane!
    Love mom

  5. Sounds tea-like and probably not very good if they are adding sugar and milk to it. Please tell what it tastes like. The mate and bombilla are very interesting dishes. I’m not surprised with Harry’s reaction. If it isn’t from Italy, he’s barely interested. Thanks for the education.

    1. It’s really good, tastes like really strong green tea. We had it with lots and lots of sugar so it was REALLY good. Then we were up until 4:00am since it was so strong. Don’t think it’s caffeine but it does give you an energy boost.

  6. We actually had (or maybe still have) a yerba mate tea at Starbucks…didn’t we? Totally loving the little cups though, so cute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.