|Traditional Mate Kettle, Calabaza and Bombilla in Patagonia|
The flavour is something of an acquired taste. It has something of green tea about it mixed with a smokey flavour similar to a good Cuban cigar. While many norteños go to the Southern Cone, try mate and don't like it, weeks of travel with an Argentine hardened me to the flavour and it's now one of my favourite things to drink, competing even with coffee (for which I have some serious love). One of the best aspects is that the drink is not too strong on stimulants and the 'lift' isn't followed by a 'crash' in quite the same way as coffee; whether this is to do with the stimulant itself or the prolonged method of drinking mate, I don't know, but it helps me concentrate of an afternoon if needs be.