Yerba mate (pronounced in two syllables, 'MAH-tae') is a traditional Argentine herbal drink, prepared in a hollowed-out gourd which is passed around in a social setting and drunk through a metal straw.
Though usually drunk hot,mate can also be served cold, usually known as "tereré". Terere is prefered by the populace in Uruguay and Paraguay. Mate contains less caffeine than coffee, but contains other vitamins and minerals that give it a stimulating effect, particularly to those who are not used to it. It is naturally rather bitter, so it's not uncommon to add sugar. The drinking of mate with friends is an important social ritual in Argentina.
The informal tea ceremony is lead by a "cebador" or server and people arrange themselves in a "rueda" or wheel. Those who like the drink bitter and those who like it sweet are clustered together to aide the server.