Mate emoji proposed: Could expand beverages category

A mate emoji has been proposed to the Unicode Consortium, giving users a new way to describe the South American drink.
A mate emoji has been proposed to the Unicode Consortium, potentially giving users a dedicated symbol to describe the South American beverage.

In an extensive 40 page document, Florencia Coelho and other authors describe the necessity of a dedicated mate emoji. 

Mate is a caffeine rich beverage that has found popularity in South America and some parts of the middle east. The drink is prepared using yerba mate leaves.

The proposal starts with the history of the mate drink complimented by a cut out image of the components of the beverage. The document suggests that countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile and Syria will all make significant use of the emoji - due to their respective history with the drink.

Import and export information is broken down, showing the yerba mate leaves to be heavily distributed across the world and showing further potential interest in a mate emoji. Cultural influence is also shown in the document - one image shows Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi enjoying a drink of mate.

The proposal then proceeds to acknowledge the cultural significance of mate within each of the various countries where the drink is popular. 

Search data is then displayed - and the mate emoji term is compared to other popular hot drinks like tea and coffee, with mate performing to a high standard and in some cases, beating the competition significantly. 

Social media trend data also shows promise and interest in a mate symbol, with multiple mentions on the various social media platforms.

In terms of sequencing, the fact that drinking mate is often associated with relaxation could open up new possibilities in conversation. One example shows the mate emoji alongside the croissant to suggest breakfast.

The mate symbol could be added to an upcoming emoji release - but this would ultimately be decided by Unicode if they deem that such a symbol adds value to the existing emoji lineup.
Beth Walker 17 September 2018

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