Yerba Mate part III: Legends

In our final installment of the yerba mate series, we highlight a few of the legends surrounding yerba mate. While consuming yerba mate, stories are shared amongst friends and are a very important aspect of enjoying the drink.

Legend of YariYerba Mate

In this legend, Yari, the moon, and Tupa, the powerful god of the Guaranies, travel to Earth together. On Earth, they turn into two beautiful women and walk through the forest. After a while they became tired and decided to head towards a nearby cottage. Before arriving, a jaguar jumped out to attack them. A nearby Guarani man shot an arrow through the jaguar, saving them and then offered hospitality in his hut to the two women. After spending the night Tupa and Yari left, and went up to heaven to decide how to reward the family. One night they guided the family into a deep sleep and while they slept they sowed light blue seeds in front of their house. In the morning Yari told the family that through their hospitality the gods rewarded them with the yerba mate plant to share with the region, the symbol of friendship. They also granted immortality to their daughter, so that she would never lose her goodness and innocence in her heart. She then taught them how to toast and drink the mate. After many years, the old couple passed and the daughter had fulfilled her ritual obligations and disappeared from earth. It is said that from time to time it is possible to see her amongst the Paraguayan fields, a beautiful blonde girl reflecting innocence.

The Tupi Brothers Legend

This well-known legend takes place in Paraguay and discusses the origins of the Guarani people. Ancient ancestors of the Guarani crossed a vast ocean from a distant land to settle into the Americas. Two brothers, Tupi and Guarani led their people throughout this journey and feuded. Their feud divided the tribe into two groups named after the brothers. The Tupi people were more nomadic and fierce compared to the God fearing, agricultural Guarani. The Guarani people looked forward to the arrival of the tall, fair-skinned, blue-eyed and bearded God, Pa’i Shume. When he did arrive, he unlocked the secrets and health benefits of the yerba mate plant to the Guarani people. While this ancient tradition is today recognized only as a legend, the truth behind the health benefits of the plant have survived.

The Guarani Legend

Like the legend of the Tupi Brothers, the legend of the Guarani revolves around the god Pa’i Shume. The legend begins with an old farmer and his daughter. The old farmer falls ill and decides that he will not move again with the tribe, that he would rather live alone. His daughter refuses to leave his side and stays with him even after the rest of the tribe moves on. As a reward to the daughter, the god Pa’i Shume disguises himself as a shaman and gives the old farmer the yerba mate plant and teaches him how to roast and prepare it. After drinking the mate, the man gains the strength to accompany his daughter to reunite with their tribe. The old farmer and his daughter then shared the secrets of mate to them. From then on the Guarani people have consumed mate and used its health benefits.

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Featured Tea Snack: Liege Waffles

Our liege waffles have a permanent home on our menu boards along with our new grilled cheeses.  Unlike breakfast waffles, liege wafflesLiege Waffles are native to Belgium and are made from a dough not a batter. Pearl sugar is incorporated into the dough, caramelizing on the outside giving a rich, sweet, dense and chewy flavor to this non-breakfast waffle.

The Background

The history of this waffle is conflicting but legend states that during the 18th century Prince-Bishop of Liege asked his chef to create him a treat that used pearl sugar. The chef mixed dough and the pearl sugar together, cooked it as a waffle and thus the Liege waffle was born.

At the Lounge

There are two different sizes for our waffles in both small and large and we have a list of additional toppings to choose from including house made whipped cream, maple syrup, Nutella, fruit loops, and more. Indecisive? We have four signature waffles to choose from with toppings already picked out including the monkey with Nutella, bananas, house made whipped cream and chocolate a chocolate drizzle to finish it off!

Pairing

Pairing teas with food always comes down to balancing flavors. Sweet liege waffles would pair best with strong, bold and malty teas. We would recommend a Lounge favorite like Assam Black Tea or Vanilla Escape Black Tea.

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Yerba Mate part II: The Ceremony

Yerba Mate derives from South America and is especially popular in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Similarly, guayusa also derives from South America and is very popular in Ecuador.  A common way to consume both yerba mate and guayusa is in a gourd ceremony.

Gourd Ceremony            yerba mate

The yerba mate gourd ceremony is a symbol of hospitality and friendship. These very social events bring groups together and traditionally stories and legends were shared at this event. To begin a cebador or a mate server prepares the mate for the group. The most important role of the cebador in preparing the mate is making sure that the mate is properly steeped resulting in a rich and smooth tasting brew. Each person drinks from the gourd through a straw filter called a bombilla. There is no rush to finish the gourd and when the recipient has had enough they say gracias (thank you) indicating that they are finished. The cebador refills the gourd as needed and it continues to be passed until the mate is lavado (flat).  The trick to drinking the yerba mate in this way is not to move the bombilla once the mate has been prepared.

Guayusa Ceremony

Similar to the yerba mate gourd ceremony, the guayusa ceremony brings groups together. For thousands of years, Ecuadorian families have woken up early and share the gourd, sharing stories and legends around the fire. Hunters would drink guayusa before nighttime hunting trips allowing them to focus and get closer to the environment around them, guayusa is nicknamed “The Night Watchman” for this reason. In our third and final yerba mate blog series, the legends and stories evolved from both yerba mate and guayusa will be explored!

It is fascinating to learn that regardless of the continent, tea and in this case tisane ceremonies are important rituals for cultures. In our busy lives shouldn’t we too take time to continue a ritual of tea.

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