Paraguay's special potion
Wondering what the Paraguayans are drinking out of that decorated container when watching the soccer or cheering for their team ?
When I ran into the 'friendly five', Rudy, Robbie, Keith, Bert and Stephanie' - a group of enthusiastic Paraguay fans parading down on Commercial Drive with their flags and flask, I was curious.
They're drinking yerbe-mate. It's Paraguay's traditional non-alcoholic drink. Made from the yerbe plant, the herbs are used to make either a hot or cold beverage.
"In Paraguay, you have to drink liquids or you're dead," says Bert Marin. "It's cheap and available."
When I asked Robbie, what it was he was holding, he said, "It's a social tea." Bert added, "It's popular because mate is communal. People get together and drink together," as he takes a sip from the metal straw, "That is what is important. You share your matte with your family your friend. It's a very intimate thing. "
The 'friendly-five' stand in front of me and I witness them share the love of their country's soccer team and a flask of yerbe-mate.
The herbs from the yerbe are steeped, not boiled like black tea. To filter out the herbs, they sip it through a metal straw called a bombilla. Variations of different herbs can be combined for a different taste.
Bert insists that we go out for a yerbe-mate, but warns that the first time I try the mate, it may taste a little salty, but it's something you get used to.
If you interested in sipping yerbe-mate like the Paraguay fan, it's the perfect drink before noon during the World cup soccer matches. It has caffeine just like coffee and according to Bert it, "Takes away your hunger."
Just a warning, you might have to share since it's a communal drink.
Yerbe-mate is also a popular drink in many South American countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.
I wonder if Paraguay's Christian Riveros has a flask in his bag.
For a different variation called Mate dulce, you add milk, cocoa and sugar to the yerbe leaves.
About the Author
Coreena Robertson (Vancouver)
Coreena Robertson is a seasoned sports producer and experienced sports broadcaster who loves to cover sports at both the community and professional level. She has interviewed high profile celebrities and sports stars such as LeBron James and the late Paul Newman, but also loves hanging out at the local pitch.