I discovered mate in undergrad. More accurately, my friend introduced me to mate in undergrad, but I was the one who went gung ho with it and got the gourd (which led to the embarrassing revelation I had no idea what a gourd was) and the metal straw. I went to undergrad at Southern Oregon University, in Ashland, which had a really hippie culture; I got the mate in bulk at a food co-op. Long before–or at least a year before–Guayaki Yerba Mate showed up. In addition to that food co-op, Ashland also had the mythic Market of Choice. As far as I know, Market of Choice is an Oregon only thing–you can get a Coca Cola and you can get organic tempeh. Perfect for when you want to be healthy but also not. That store was where I first got the Guayaki. I think the food co-op changed over, but maybe not. There was at least a year when mate wasn’t mass produced. I think the coffee shop at the student union had it too. And chai, which I didn’t try until many years later. There’s something very soothing about mate. I’ve now got a silicon gourd (because 2016) and, of course, it’s Guayaki brand. But it’s far more a comfort beverage than coffee, which might need its own beverage post. Though I think I already did one.