maté: an important brazilian product

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Toronto Libraries]On: 20 December 2014, At: 06:41Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number:1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street,London W1T 3JH, UK

    Journal of GeographyPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjog20

    Mat: An Important BrazilianProductC. R. Cameron aa American Consul , Sao Pamlo, BrazilPublished online: 30 Jun 2008.

    To cite this article: C. R. Cameron (1930) Mat: An Important Brazilian Product,Journal of Geography, 29:2, 54-70, DOI: 10.1080/00221343008987266

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221343008987266

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  • 54 THE JOURNAL O F GEOGRAPHY VOL. 29

    MATE: AN IMPORTANT BRAZILIAN PRODUCT' C. R. CAFLRRON

    American Consul, Sao Paulo, B r a d

    Mat6 is the name given to the dried leaves of a genus of trees related to holly scattered widely thruout South America, the best species being found in the P,arana River Valley. From them is pre- pared an infusion similar to that made from the ordinary tea of China, depending for its stimulating effect, indeed, upon the same organic compound. Recently an active mat6 propaganda has been undertaken and the product is being introduced into the United States, where it comes into direct competition with ordinary tea. [The number of South Americans using mat6 is estimated at from 10,000,OOO to 15,000,000.]

    The following table shows the comparative importance of mat6 as an export from Brazil as a whole for the past five years :

    Principal Brozilion ezports in order of value, 1984.1918

    Order of value 1024 19-08 1926 1927

    .~

    1 Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee 2 Hides Rubber Rubber Cncao 3 Oil seeds Cotton Mat6 Hides 4 Cacao Hides Cacao Rubber 5 Meat Mat6 Hides Mate 6 Mat6 Cncao Oil seeds Tobacco

    ~~ ~ ~

    1928

    coffee Hides Cacao Mat6 Meat Oil seeds

    Brazil has not yet developed commercial plantations of mat4, practically all mat6 there produced being as yet obtained from the groves of trees occurring naturally in its territory. The country still has great reserves of mat6 forests. In 1925 the number of mat6 trees in the State of Parana was estimated at between 25,000,000 and 50,000,000, whereas Matto Grosso has mat6 forests (hervaes) occupying 4,653,000 acres in the southeast, and unknown areas of inferior quality further north. This area of 4,653,000 acres is, na- turally, not wholly covered with mat6 trees, but is the area of her- vaes rented by the State. The Argentine Territory of Misiones, however, is making every effort to develop its plantation math. From the very beginning of South American history Brazilian mat6 has been sent to market via the River Plate.

    'Abstracted, by permission, from an article in the Bulletin of the Pan American Union, Oct., 1929.--ED1m~

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  • Fm., 1930 MATOIMPOBTANT BRAZILIAN PRODUCT 55

    There are in Brazil about 60 species, and it was a long time before the best species of mat6 was determined, since about 20 species serve

    B O L I V I A

    ARGENTINA

    FIG. 1. MAP OF A PORTION OF SOUTH AMEIUCA, THE SHADED SECTION BEINQ THE

    Mate of some variety is found thruout the greater part of South America, but commercially important forests occur only in Southern Matto Grosso, central and western Paran&, western Smta Catharina, and northwestern Rio G r a d e do Sul, all in B d ; in eastern Paraguay; and in the Territory of Misiones and the northern part of the Province of Corrientes, Argentina.

    AREA COMMERCIALLY IMPORTANT IN M.4d -DUCTION

    more or less satisfactorily for the beverage. However, it is now generally recognized that the species known as Ilea Paraguariensis (sometimes written Zles Pccraguayensis) is the most suitable for

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  • 56 THE JOURNAL O F GEOGRAPHY VOL. 29

    making the infusion, the term congonha being reserved for other species, now considered undesirable.

    Species of Iles are widely distributed thruout the South Ameri- can Continent, from Colombia to Argentina. Ilez Parraguarielzsis is found in the basin of the River Plate drainage system, from 18" south (Bolivia and Matto Grosso, Brazil), to about 30" south (north- ern Uruguay and Corrientes Province, Argentina), with occasional occurrences on the Atlantic seaboard. The present important com- mercial forests of Ilez Paraguariensis, however, are found in south- ern Matto Orosso, central and western Parana, western Santa Catharina, and northwestern Rio Grande do Sul, all in Brazil; and in eastern Paraguay, beginning about 60 miles east of the river of the same name. The mat6 from the Territory of Misiones, Argen- tina, now comes mostly from the plantations. The mat6 tree is not usually found along the great rivers within a belt which may vary from 10 to 30 miles wide, but prefers depressions in the foothills and mountains, relatively humid, and an altitude of from 1,500 to 2,500 feet above sea level.

    The opinions as to the good qualities of mat6 held by many per- sons who have investigated the product undoubtedly bespeak for mat6 a favorable consideration an the part of the consumers of ordinary tea. Indeed, mat6 resembles tea very closely in its chemi- cal content, in the method of preparing the beverage, and in the lat- ter's gently stimulating effect upon the system. A comparatively greater quantity of mat6 leaves is used, however, than would be required of tea leaves for ordinary tea, a soup spoon of the mat6 leaves being usually employed for each cup of the beverage. How- ever, if the leaves are finely broken the quantity required is less. It is useful to append here a table prepared by Gustav Peckolt showing the general average of important chemical constituents of green tea, black tea, coffee, and mat&

    Prinoipd chemiwl cmt i tuents of green and black lea, coffee, and m t 6 , in grams per thousand

    Green tea Black tea Coffee Mat6 Grams Grams Grams Grams

    Essential oil Chlorophyll Resins Tannic substances Theine or caffeine Ashes Water, cellulose, etc

    7.. 900 6.000 0.410 0.010 22.200 18.140 13.660 62.000 22.200 36.400 13.660 20.690 178.000 128.800 16.390 12.280 4.300 4.600 2.660 2.510 85.600 54.400 25.610 38.110 175.800 283.200 174.830 180.000

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  • FEB., 1930 MATGIMPORTANT BRAZILIAN PRODUCT 57

    I n commenting on this table, Gustav Peckolt states that tea, coffee, and mat6 are quite similar in their chemical properties, mat6 most resembling coffee. He adds that from the chemical point of view the alkaloid found in mat6 is absolutely identical with that found in ooffee, tea, guaranh, and kola.

    HARVEST AXD PREPARATION OF MAT^ For China tea only the tender leaves and buds a re used, whereas

    for mat6 the fully developed leaf i,s preferred. Both the health of

    FIG. 2. HARVESTING MAT^ Tho grove in tlie illustration is a cultivated forest; that is, a natural grove with

    tlie underbrush kept down and often under pasture.

    the tree and the quality of the mat6 therefore demand that cutting should be limited to the annual period of repose during the fall and winter; that is, to the six months from May to October. Leaves cut during these months contain in their maximum development the substances which give to the mat6 beverage its flavor, aroma, and other desirable qualities. The time of gathering mat6 from the pub-

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