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Can and glass of Materva, showing the color of the drink
Product typeSoft drink
OwnerCawy Bottling Co.
IntroducedUnited States, Canada, Spain
Previous owners1920 – Materva Soft Drink Company

Materva is a mate-based soft drink, originally produced and popularized in Cuba prior to the Cuban Revolution. It has been produced in Miami since the 1960s by Cawy Bottling Company.


Materva is a carbonated drink made from yerba mate, a tea popular in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. Unlike the somewhat bitter tea-like mate on which it is based, Materva is sweet, with a flavor described as similar to ginger ale[1] or cream soda.[2]

Current production includes a diet version called Diet Materva.[3]


The Materva Soft Drink Company was founded in Matanzas, Cuba, in 1920. Materva became known as a "famous Cuban brand"[4] and advertising included celebrity endorsements that touted the drink's energizing properties.[5][6]

During the Cuban Revolution, the Materva bottling plant was targeted for strikes by revolutionaries, along with the Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottling plants in the country.[7] Materva was produced and sold in Cuba until 1960 when it was nationalized along with other private industry. It is no longer produced in Cuba.[8]

The Cawy Bottling Company of Miami was founded to produce the Cawy lemon-lime soda that had been popular in Cuba. The company began producing Materva in the United States in the 1960s in an attempt to diversify after the founder of the company realized that there were many large American companies already competing with lemon-lime drinks.[9][10]

Significance in Cuban and Miami culture[edit]

Materva has been described as a part of the "standard Cuban pantry",[11] and as "the old standby Cuban soda".[12] Because of its significance as a popular drink in Cuba prior to the Revolution, it is often cited as a source of "shared memories" and "nostalgia" of pre-Revolutionary Cuba by Cubans who live in the United States.[13][14][15][8]

In Miami, politicians use the drink to symbolize Cuban-ness, such as when a congressional candidate told local media in 2010 that he had spoken about Materva to President Obama during a presidential visit to the city.[16] Travel books also often recommend the drink to visitors to Miami.[17][18] In 2002, Materva was given the "Best Local Soft Drink" award by the Miami New Times.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Best Cuban and Latin American Beverage Guide". Three Guys from Miami. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  2. ^ Caicedo, Harry (2004-04-01). Conflicting Loyalties. iUniverse. p. 14. ISBN 9780595311576. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
  3. ^ "Diet Materva". Cawy Bottling Co. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  4. ^ Levine, Robert M.; Asís, Moisés (2000). Cuban Miami. Rutgers University Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780813527802. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
  5. ^ Sokol, Brett. "Havana's Real-World Don Draper". Ocean Drive. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  6. ^ Quiroga, Alberto. "And now a word from our sponsors". Havana- May 1950-Nov 1960. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  7. ^ Julia, Sweig (2002). Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground. Harvard University Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780674044197.
  8. ^ a b Torre, Miguel A. De La (2003-09-10). La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520930100.
  9. ^ Roth, Daniel Shoer (March 20, 2011). "A Cuban who popularized Materva and Jupina in the US passes (tr.)". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  10. ^ Verdeja, Sam; Martinez, Guillermo (2012-01-20). "18, "Entrepreneurs: The Pioneers"". Cubans, an Epic Journey: The Struggle of Exiles for Truth and Freedom. Reedy Press LLC. ISBN 9781935806202. Retrieved 2015-05-12. In 1962, Vicente Cossio relaunched the Cawy brands in the U.S. ... eventually expanding its offerings to include ... Materva, a yerba mate soda.
  11. ^ Roque, Raquel Rábade (2011). The Cuban Kitchen. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 6. ISBN 9780375711961. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
  12. ^ Motz, George (2011). Hamburger America. Running Press. ISBN 9780762442348.
  13. ^ Wong, Samantha. "Materva: Un Buchito de Cuba" (PDF). Johnson and Wales: Student Food Writing. p. 8 (PDF p. 11). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  14. ^ Navarette, William (December 14, 2013). "Una Habana de otros tiempos". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 12 January 2014. tr.: "To read [this book] is to remember brands of products manufactured in Cuba [list including Materva] and many others that bring us the smells of great memories to those who are older."
  15. ^ Maingot, Anthony (2014-07-30). Miami: A Cultural History. Interlink Publishing. ISBN 9781623710613.
  16. ^ Pardo, Bernadette (October 15, 2010). "Materva Con Frita". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  17. ^ Petit Futé New York 2013-2014 Dominique Auzias, Jean-Paul Labourdette 2746967529 2012 p. 207 "Les Cubains rencontrés lors de notre dernier passage nous ont assuré qu'ici on sert les meilleurs sandwichs cubains de la ville. Tout y est à point, même ce curieux soda à saveur de malte, le Materva."
  18. ^ Schmidt, Gretchen (2006). Night + Day Miami. AS Davis Media Group. p. 20. ISBN 9780977624508.
  19. ^ "Best Local Soft Drink 2002". Miami New times. Retrieved 12 January 2014.