Krithika and Fabricio do Canto met seventeen years ago in India, where Fabricio introduced ‘mate’ — the earthy-tasting, caffeinated drink popular in his native South America — to his future wife. Before long the pair opened their own mate cafe in Berlin — halfway between their respective homes — importing organic, fair-trade leaves directly from the rainforests of Brazil.
The Meta Mate Bar is situated at the heart of the popular Kollwitzkiez district in Prenzlauer Berg. It’s a place where cultures blend. Brazil meets India. The cuias, or traditional wide-brimmed drinking cups for mate, were made in Bulgaria, Germany, and South America. And the mate tea itself is nectar to the city’s many computer nerds. The shop is littered with references to hackers and programmers.
Mate is the common love of Krithika and Fabricio do Canto. The two met seventeen years ago in Krithika’s home town in India. Brazilian Fabricio do Canto shared the secrets of the earthy-tasting, caffeinated drink with his future wife and immediately hit a nerve. They began ordering packages of mate in the hope that the pleasure of the tea brewed from these dried leaves would take root elsewhere.
A short time later, the two left for Berlin. It was a good compromise, they figured, as the German capital was nearly halfway between India and Brazil. Their big moment came nearly ten years later. Since 2011, the Meta Mate Bar has been providing a steady supply of high-quality mate for Krithika and Fabricio do Canto as well as the rest of Berlin.
The pair import their organic, fair-trade leaves directly from growers in the rainforests of Brazil. They offer varieties harvested under a full moon and dried over an open fire, finely-ground leaves reminiscent of Japanese matcha, and mates with a raw, smoky flavour. Several years ago, Fabricio do Canto even published a small booklet on the topic: “MateLeaks: Mate – Don’t Call It Tea.”
Guests can also purchase mate accessories such as bombas, traditional drinking straws with a built-in filter. The shop also offers an array of Ayurvedic ingredients, mate cosmetics, mate chocolate, and even LED wristbands just in case you want to sip your mate in front of the computer in the middle of the night. So how did they get the idea? Fabricio and Krithika do Canto also sell their mate at computer trade fairs and conferences.
All photos by Lena Ganssmann
Read more from our Planet Berlin series: South Embassy — High quality products from South America
Meta Mate Bar
Straßburger Str. 16 10405, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
T (030) 609 620 42
Tue-Thu + Sun 11am-6pm, Fri 11am-7pm