Mate-Tea Set



Mate-Tea Set


Tea making paraphernalia


The tea set is roughly 30-50 years old and belongs to Irina’s husband. The tea set is from Argentina and it is used to make yerba mate which is a traditional Argentinian tea. Drinking mate is a social activity among family members in a household and it is a very old tradition in Argentina. Since the beginning of Argentina’s formation as a country, friends and family continue to gather for a meal and drink mate together. In Argentina, drinking mate is a daily activity and is a way for people to talk and be together. For example, a husband and wife would drink mate and discuss family affairs together.

The process for making mate includes adding a little sugar at the bottom of the container, adding the yerba leaves, and then pouring the water when it is just about to boil. A metal straw called a bombilla is used to drink the tea and the container or gourd to hold the mate is called the guampa. The guampa is traditionally made from a hollowed-out gourd. The mate tea is made from the yerba leaves and provides a stimulant similar to drinking a Coca-Cola. Some people claim drinking mate has a variety of health benefits and is a body cleanser. Yerba mate can be consumed as a cold beverage which is called tereré. The items were brought from Argentina and were not made in the United States.

People living in the South American countries of Paraguay, Uruguay, Southern Brazil, and northern Argentina drink yerba mate from morning until night. Once the rejuvenating qualities of yerba mate were discovered by the missionaries in the region, it became the region’s primary cash crop and was later privatized by various enterprises.

Irina’s husband is from Argentina and Irina is from Puerto Rico but has lived in New England for the past 45 years. The couple continues to use this traditional tea set in their home in New Britain.

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context:

Cruz, Jose E. Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1998.

Brooke, Elizabeth Heilman. “Yerba Mate, Ancient Antidote To South America's Heat.” New York Times, April 24, 1991. mate-ancient-antidote-to-south-america-s-heat.html.

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P., and Lourdes Travieso Parker. "Hispanic-Americans in the Eastern United States." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 454 (1981): 98-110.

Hancock, Ralph. Puerto Rico A Success Story. Princeton, New Jersey: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1960.

Perez, Gina. The Near Northwest Side Story: Migration, Displacement, and Puerto Rican Families. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Olmedo, Irma A. “Puerto Rican Grandmothers Share and Relive their Memorias.” Centro Journal 13, 2 (2001): 99 – 115.

Opie, Frederick Douglass. “Eating, Dancing, and Courting in New York Black and Latino Relations, 1930 – 1970.” Journal of Social History. (2008) 42 (1): 79–109.

Entry Author: Regan Miner


Unknown Craftsperson


Personal Collection of Irina Vassatt-Brites


Irina Vassatt-Brites


Accession Date: April 12, 2018


Irina Vassatt-Brites


Copyright to this resource is held by Irina Vassatt-Brites and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.


History Harvest 2018, Object #2a and #2b.


.JPG Image File




Physical Object


History Harvest 2018, Object #1a and #1b.


New Britain, CT; Connecticut; United States; Argentina; 2017; 20th century; 21st century.


Unknown Craftsperson, “Mate-Tea Set,” Latino History Harvest, accessed May 25, 2024,

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