Like coffee or tea, yerba mate is one of the world's most beloved caffeinated beverages. Once dubbed a "devil's drink" by Spanish missionaries in South America only to be later hailed by capitalists and politicians as "green gold," it has a long and storied history. And no country consumes and celebrates yerba mate quite like Argentina.
Yerba Mate is the first book to explore the extraordinary history of this iconic beverage in Argentina from the precolonial period to the present. From yerba mate's Indigenous origins to its ubiquity during the colonial era, from its association with rural people and the poor in the late nineteenth century to its resurgence in the last years of the twentieth century, Julia Sarreal meticulously documents yerba mate's consumption, production, and cultural importance over time. Yerba Mate is the definitive history of this popular beverage and social practice, and it tells a fascinating story about race, culture, and how a drink helped forge the national identity of one of the world's most dynamic countries.