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For The Love Of Maté and Community


As part of our 1st annual media tent programming, we brought in a few Guayaki Yerba Maté team members to do a traditional yerba maté gourd ceremony, plus a discussion of some behind the scenes work of their brand. We learned so much, all while drinking their delicious tea surrounded by friends.

After a show of hands, every single person present for the ceremony had consumed maté before (and by the looks on everyone’s faces, many many times). This traditional ceremony, however, would be a first for most all in the room.

The ceremony began with an explanation of the traditional roles and procedures of drinking yerba maté. As the “cebadora” or the facilitator of the tea ceremony, her role would be to make sure the water is the correct temperature, and to refill the gourd with a fresh serving for the next partaker.

There are 3 main things to know when participating in a ceremony:

  1. Drink all the liquid
  2. Don’t stir the straw
  3. Pass it back to the cebadora when you’re finished with your serving

In countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, they drink mate all day long, every single day. They share it with strangers on the street, they share it with family members.

Tea is a very general term. It usually refers to steeping dried herbs or flowers in hot water. Turns out maté is not actually tea! It comes from the Holly tree and only grows in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. The leaves and stems are naturally caffeinated. What makes it different, is that the stems contain theobromine, which is a mood-altering alkaloid that’s also found in dark chocolate. So it’s a mood boost, with lots of vitamins, minerals, and full spectrum amino acids. It’s incredibly nutritious. In Patagonia, they refer to it as ”the vegetable that you drink.”

As our friends in the media tent sat together during the continuing ceremony, we learned more about the regeneration efforts behind Guayaki’s business model. Guayaki’s goals are to restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic Rainforest and to create 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020.

Perhaps the most inspiring and informative piece of information we gathered about the company during this gathering, was that they purchased a fleet of 100 electric vehicles, and hired 100 previously incarcerated employees to distribute their product, rather than rely on fossil fuel guzzling big-rigs. This company really walks the walk, and we love them for it.

A mate ceremony serves as a wonderful reminder that sometimes we all need to slow down. Can you ever really be reminded of that enough? In particular, behind the scenes of a music festival, it can be difficult to find time to self-care. That’s not the culture WinterWonderGrass strives to create. We’re here together to be present and to take care of ourselves and one another, even behind the curtain. Endless gratitude to the Yerba Maté team members for this reminder.