Matte, is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink, particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil , and to a lesser degree in southern Chile, Bolivia, Syria and Lebanon. It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water.
Mate is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombija in some Latin American countries, a bomba in Portuguese, and a bombija or, more generally, a masassa (type of straw) in Arabic. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern, commercially available straws are typically made of stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane.
Mate is traditionally drunk in a particular social setting, such as family gatherings or with friends. The same gourd and straw (bomba/bombilla) are used by everyone drinking. One person assumes the task of server.
Typically, the server fills the gourd and drinks the mate completely to ensure that it is free of particulate matter and of good quality. In some places, passing the first brew of mate to another drinker is considered bad manners, as it may be too cold or too strong. The server subsequently refills the gourd and passes it to the drinker to his or her right, who likewise drinks it all (there is not much; the mate is full of yerba, with room for little water), without thanking the server; a final gracias (thank you) implies that the drinker has had enough.
The ritual proceeds around the circle in this fashion until the mate becomes lavado, typically after the gourd has been filled about 10 times or more depending on the yerba used (well-aged yerba mate is typically more potent, so provides a greater number of refills) and the ability of the server.
Some drinkers like to add sugar or honey, creating sweetened mate.
In Lebanon, matte is widely consummed in El Shouf area, and drinking matte is part of old traditions.