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It’s 11PM. It’s going to be a long night. “What can make IHUM more bearable?”, you ask. An obvious answer: Caffeine.
Perhaps you’ll run to the CoHo and grab yourself an espresso shot. Or maybe you’ll hit up your tea-loving electric-kettle-owning dorm-mate and ask for a cup of Gunpowder Green (taken from the rack at Stern or their favorite dining hall). No matter the means of consumption, caffeine is almost always characterized by pupil dilation, an increased heart rate, and the beloved–absolutely euphoric–caffeine high.
But why not try something new? The newest caffeinated beverage craze to hit my all-freshman dorm is yerba maté. Brought upon by the Argentine culture enthusiasts within the dorm, drinking yerba is characterized by infusing a green, grassy-looking blend of the leaves and sticks of the yerba maté plant (a species of holly) with warm water in a gourd (a hollowed-out fruit). The metal straw traditionally used to drink the maté is called a bombilla. Maté tastes “earthy”, and can either be drunk bitter (maté amargo), or sweet (maté dulce). Its effects are similar to those of caffeine, although some in my dorm insist that it has a stronger “calming” effect, especially in muscles.
Maté drinking is a culture. In Argentina, Uruguay, and certain parts of Brazil, maté is consumed socially with others using the same gourd. Since maté can be infused many times, it is common to pass the gourd around in a circle. If you’re looking for a completely different way to consume caffeine, either in preparation for a long night or just to replace coffee/traditional tea, you ought to consider maté.