My name is David “Mate” Askaripour, and what can I say: I love mate! I heard about mate briefly in 2008 while living in California, but never became acquainted with this magical drink until April 2009 when I first came to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to learn Castellano (Spanish).
I remember the first time I sat down in a circle with some local folks to try some mate. It was my first night in Argentina — the night I lost my mate virginity — and a few nice girls offered me mate. I tried it and found it to be “decent.” Within several months, I was continually exposed to mate and invited to sit down in what I call “mate circles,” where people eat cookies, drink mate, and share their minds and hearts with each other — “the exact opposite of sitting down and watching television.”
By 2010 I had purchased my own gourd (mate), bombilla, and yerba (herb) and had begun drinking mate daily. While visiting New York for several months, I started drinking mate while filming my usual youtube videos of me talking about life n’ such. People began to ask me “what is that metal cup you’re always drinking from?” So I began to teach the world everything I knew, and was continually learning, about this ancient infusion from South America.
Mate companies throughout the United States began contacting me and sending me monthly samples of their yerba to try out. I began reviewing different sorts of mate and talking about mate as a symbol — more than a drink.
By 2011, my position in the mate world gained traction and I started a website (this one!) all about yerba mate. I continued educating the world about this lifestyle and experience, through videos, articles, and in-person mate circles.
During my third tour in Argentina, living there (2011) for over a year — on and off — getting first hand experience and education of what mate was all about.
By 2012, still in Buenos Aires, I started a workshop to teach foreigners about mate: history, health and benefits, mate and creativity, how to prepare, and the philosophy of mate. I’m also in the process of writing a book about mate being more than a drink — an experience.
In mid-2012 I decided to return to New York and begin selling yerba mate, starting with close friends in my neighborhood, then creating an online store. In February 2013 Circle of Drink was profiled in the popular Argentine magazine, Para Ti. The article spoke about the development of yerba mate in the United States and the wide influence that Circle of Drink is having on the mate community.
May 2013 brought the publication of Mateology, the first comprehensive book on yerba mate written by an American.
For five years now, my life has been strongly steeped in yerba mate. It’s become a part of who I am. I’ve become a sort of “mate guru” to mate drinkers, newly exposed to this drink from my educational efforts, and I’m happy to fill the role the world has placed me in. Mate is my life, and our story has just begun.