Brazil: Meta Mate Bar

Planet Berlin: Mate is not tea

Direct from the source

Krithika and Fabricio do Cando are more than willing to discuss the origin, production and correct terminology regarding yerba mate over a glass of the brew. In 2011, they opened the Meta Mate Bar in the Kollwitz neighborhood, featuring mate imported directly from farmers in the Brazilian jungle.

Planet Berlin: Mate is not tea

Beyond tea

It's been clear for a while: Mate is not tea! The leaf comes from a yerba mate shrub or tree that belongs to the holly genus. The drink is an infusion of dried mate leaves and is traditionally drunk throughout South America.

Planet Berlin: Mate is not tea

Sustainable development

Direct contact with farmers is just as important to the owners as sustainability. Working with the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development and stakeholders in Brazil, they have developed concepts for the recultivation of land. It's an educational project aiming to teach Brazilian students mate cultivation and processing methods.

Planet Berlin: Mate is not tea

Wild and fresh

According to the owners, Meta Mate Bar is the only dealer in Germany that sells wild mate produced by independent farmers that is fresh, hand-harvested, smoked and traditionally dried. Krithika and Fabricio do Cando also sell cuias, the traditional mate drinking vessels for mate, in their shop.

Mate, a drink that promises sleep-defying alertness, is not only revered by Berlin night owls and IT nerds. A Brazilian and Indian founded the Meta Mate Bar in Prenzlauer Berg to showcase the South American drink.

The Meta Mate Bar is situated at the heart of the popular Kollwitzkiez district in Prenzlauer Berg. It's a place where cultures blend. Brazil meets India. The cuias, or traditional wide-brimmed drinking cups for mate, were made in Bulgaria, Germany, and South America. And the mate tea itself is nectar to the city's many computer nerds. The shop is littered with references to hackers and programmers.

Mate – it's the common love of Krithika and Fabricio do Canto. The two met seventeen years ago in Krithika’s home town in India. Brazilian Fabricio do Canto shared the secrets of the earthy-tasting, caff einated drink with his future wife and immediately hit a nerve. They began ordering packages of mate in the hope that the pleasure of the tea brewed from these dried leaves would take root elsewhere. A short time later, the two left for Berlin. It was a good compromise, they figured, as the German capital was nearly halfway between India and Brazil. Their big moment came nearly ten years later. Since 2011, the Meta Mate Bar has been providing a steady supply of high-quality mate for Krithika and Fabricio do Canto as well as the rest of Berlin.

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The pair import their organic, fair-trade leaves directly from growers in the rainforests of Brazil. They offer varieties harvested under a full moon and dried over an open fire, finely ground leaves reminiscent of Japanese matcha, and mates with a raw, smoky flavor. Several years ago, Fabricio do Canto even published a small booklet on the topic: “MateLeaks: Mate – Don’t Call It Tea.”

Guests can also purchase mate accessories such as bombas, traditional drinking straws with a built-in filter. The shop also off ers an array of Ayurvedic ingredients, mate cosmetics, mate chocolate, and even LED wrist-bands just in case you want to sip your mate in front of the computer in the middle of the night. So how did they get the idea? Fabricio and Krithika do Canto also sell their mate at computer trade fairs and conferences.

Author: Carolin Weidner

Straßburger Str. 16
10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg