Mate has been a staple beverage throughout Brazil since before the arrival of the first Europeans. Early natives harvested, and later cultivated Matte, in some cases developing rituals for its consumption. Nowadays, Mate is normally consumed in a special hollow gourd sipped through a stainless steel straw, frequently elaborately decorated and quite beautiful, passed from person to person.
The refined method in which Mate is consumed starkly contrasts with the way in which Indian Chai is normally enjoyed. In India, Chai Wallahs, or sellers, ply their trade in dusty truck stops, bus terminals, packed passenger trains, you name it. The tea is blended with an array of spices, prepared in great cauldrons with fresh whole milk, and ultimately served in small clay cups that patrons will often simply discard in the street. No trip to India is complete without a cup or two!
Bring filtered or spring water to 212°F. Add 1 tsp of tea leaves to an 8oz cup. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and let steep 5 minutes.