Lesson Transcript

?No llores por mí Argentina...?
¿Qué tal? Soy Brenda.
Y yo soy Romina.
Somos tus profesoras de español.
Hoy queremos compartir contigo diez reglas para tomar mate.
Today, we’d like to share with you 10 rules on how to drink mate. Mate is a typical Argentinian infusion similar to tea that consists of yerba mate which is the mate leaves and warm water. It’s very popular in Argentina and other countries as well like Uruguay and Chile. It’s a tradition that has been passed on generations after generations and everyone in Argentina drinks mate. There are many, many rules and behaviors associated with mate, and today, we’d like to share 10 rules with you.
There are a few rules around mate that you must know.
Number one
There’s gonna be a cebador, a person that is doing the mate.
And, usually, sometimes in family, there’s someone designated specifically to like do the mate. For example, when I drink mate by myself, I drink it by myself, but then, when I am with Romi, most likely, she’ll be doing the mate. So, there’s always someone that has that role of keeping the mate.
Yo soy la cebadora.
So, it is considered rude for me to, in the middle of the mate, to grab the mate and actually help myself. Romi is in charge of the mate, when I finish the mate, I pass it back on to her so that she can pass it on to other people if there’s other people around or have it herself.
Rule number two
You are supposed to drink the whole cup before you give it back.
So, it’s not like you drink it a bit and then pass it along or give it back to her saying, “No, I don’t want anything else, I don’t want more, anymore.” You have to drink the whole cup.
Another rule
So Romi will give me the mate and I will say, ¡Gracias! “Thank you!”
So you say gracias when you receive the mate. Now, if I finish drinking the mate and I give to Romi and I say gracias, that means I don’t want anymore mate. So Romi, if there’s a group of people, will skip me because I say gracias, and then pass it on to other people.
And the thing is about mate is around conversations. So you don’t want to stop the conversations and say, “I want more mate. I don’t want any more mate. Can I have more? When is the next mate coming?” It’s all… mate is happening at an unconscious level, if you want to like, compare it to something like that in which mate is moving around, there are certain rules, but the conversation keeps going.
Don’t touch the straw and don’t move it around because that’s…
No, definitely! Don’t stir the mate. It’s not that sort of tea, okay?
It’s not like a tea and you can see, it’s really thick. I don’t know if you can see it.
It’s very thick.
And it’s very dense. There is plenty of water in there, but it’s not very watery in comparison with other teas.
So you can hold it like this, but you cannot stir the cup. And another thing is, what happens if you move it like that, most likely, the herbs will get caught in the… in the straw and it will block the mate. So then Romi will have to pour the whole entire thing out and do it again, and she’ll be angry.
Okay, so now I’m finished. I want to continue drinking mate, so I’m just gonna give it back. I can say something like…
¡Está delicioso mate!
You know, if you want to compliment the person doing the mate, okay? So, Romi has back the mate and now, she’s gonna pour it and give it to other people. Who does she decide who to give the next mate to if we were in a… in a group of people? Does she go to the left? Does she go to the right?
We do it clockwise, right? So, we are going on a circle, so I usually start clockwise, right? So that will be to my…
Starting at the left. The left.
Yes! Yes, yes, isn’t it? I usually… because now you’re sitting here, that’s why I might give it to her first.
That’s me on the right. But maybe we went that way first.
I’m the last person. So sometimes, you kind of sit around… you kind of pick your seat based on how much you wanna drink mate straight away. I mean, you’ll get a mate, eventually, but…
There is… there’s one funny thing about it and that’s that the first couple of mates are really, really strong, right? So, if you are the sort of person that likes a strong flavor, then usually, you would sit right next to the left of the person that is preparing the mate. But, if you like more of a diluted version of the mate, then usually, you would be seated to the right.
And then the other thing is that, you… if you are pouring the mate yourself, you have to be very conscious about who is taking turns, right? Because, you don’t wanna be missing anybody; otherwise, it’s considered rude if you missed someone. And they might… they might complain at you like, “Hey!” ¡¡Me pasaste, hey!” like you forgot to give me the mate, right?
You skipped me, yeah.
Yeah, exactly! Exactly! And then, the other thing is that, for example, if someone goes to the bathroom and is absent for a while and the round has gone about, when that person comes back, it’s actually polite to offer them the first mate, right? Even if you finished the round or if… if it’s not really their turn, because they just came back and they missed their turn. So it’s… it’s just polite, isn’t it?
Hmm-mmm. And then very important, if you are doing the mates, you have to drink the first one.
Hmm, yes.
It’s actually very rude to pass on the first mate straight before you try it first.
In fact, if you don’t like someone in your group and you wanna be a little bit mean, you can give them the first mate by mistake, right? And that’s a… a very nasty way of saying, “I don’t like you.”
It’s considered offensive. If you give the first mate without trying it yourself first, then you can’t adjust the water temperature or, you know, if you add a little bit of sugar or sweetener...
More like herbs, extra herbs.
Or herbs.
You need to know what’s the right flavor and consistency and going like, I think it’s delicious, I think you’ll like this, compared to just try it like giving the first mate away.
And also because, like I said before, the first mate is very strong, so it’s important to have the first one because you’re washing up leaves just now, so the first one is not the most delicious one.
I want to show when is the mate finish. I want you to hear it. It’s very rude to make this noise more than once, so be careful. Once you hear that noise, that means the mate is finished, do not continue drinking because it’s kind of rude. It’s kind of like hearing someone chewing with their mouth open. You ready? Do you hear that? Okay, this is rude. It’s awful. Do not do it and it doesn’t taste good, either.
And then two more things, how often do we change the yerba inside the mate.
I don’t know, I think, as soon as the water like… the leaves… these leaves are washed off fairly quickly in comparison with other sorts of teas. So what happens with this is that you’re gonna notice that… you’re gonna start noticing that the mate, the yerba mate, the leaves start sinking. They go all the way to the bottom so you see a lot of water and a few leaves swimming around, right? So, in that case, what you do, you don’t necessarily need to empty the whole cup. What you do is that you can empty half of it and then you add a bit more of new yerba to continue the rounds, okay? But again, that’s sort of up to the cebador. Usually, they change half of it, but if it’s really washed off, they can change the whole thing, or as the round goes, they can keep on adding a little bit more just to adjust it and make sure that the… the flavor is there, no?
It’s a tough job, right? It’s a responsibility.
And then the other thing, the last thing that we want to share, there are so many, so many… as you can see, there’s so many rules with… with mate and people drink it typically as well.
We could… we could be talking for hours.
People who are very specific about where the angle of how they put the yerba and where the water temperature, there’s… it’s a religion sometimes.
We don’t have time for that. We just pour it and then…
Or like, there is this big debate all across Argentina about the perfect mate, like the right way of making mate, no? Like a traditional way.
So, the only thing is, if you have the mate and it’s a big group, remember, people are waiting to drink mate, so even though we’re having a conversation and enjoying the conversation, you need to drink it, just don’t hold it forever, right? Because people are waiting to have the mate and they will say something like…
Hey! ¡Che! ¡No es un micrófono!
¡No es un micrófono!
“It’s not a microphone!”
Like you’re not supposed to be doing this, what I’m doing right now.
?No llores por mí Argentina...?
Hey! ¡No es un micrófono!
The reason why we don’t want you to hold on to the mate for too long, first is if you’re in a big group, the others have to wait for too long before they have their mate. And then the other thing is that, the longer you wait, the colder the leaves get, so it messes up the temperature and, you know, it’s just not maybe worth it.
It’s not a microphone.
No, it’s not a micrófono.
Muy bien amigos! We really hope that you like it and you try it. Thank you so much for watching. Muchas gracias! Enos vemos en la próxima clase. Adios!