Strolling around in Concepción, a green building with a big sign grabbed our attention. Situated a few blocks from the Puerto, on Presidente Franco No. 1256 this nice mate factory (iced mate is called tereré): Yerba Mate Fortuna (since 1975) can be found.
We asked the friendly owner if we could check out the factory and got a tour and a pack of ‘mate con menta y limon’.


Mate, also known as yerba mate, is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink, particularly in Argentina (where it is defined by law as the “national infusion”), Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile and Southern Brazil.

It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) in hot water and is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombilla in Spanish, a bomba in Portuguese. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Even if the water is supplied from a modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias.

Yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture.


As this factory is not a touristic attraction, they don’t provide official guided tours. Nevertheless Oscar was happy to show us around so we got to see the whole process and the hard work.


Working in the dusty dark factory is compensated by a regularly short break to take a fresh breath in the sun and of course…. drink a mate!