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I never have been able to confirm that the essential ingredient of mabi/mavi is precisely the same as that used in mauby.

In the former case, does the bark come from Colubrina arborescens or - in fact - from Colubrina elliptica? And does that make any difference (to the flavor)?

If both recipes make use of the same botanicals, is it possible that they're using different parts of the plant, i.e. bark-only in one case, and whole stems in the other? Or: older wood vs. young shoots? Etc. etc.

The two drinks are so vastly different, I'm not convinced it's simply a question of proportions. What do you think?

Dave Cook

I'm convinced only of my preference. Unfortunately, the Dominican and Puerto Rican street vendors who've been in a mood to talk never seem to be the same folks who actually make the mabi. And, in past years, restaurant staffers from elsewhere in the Caribbean have confirmed that mauby is "the same." But, perhaps I phrased my questions poorly, offering the staffers an easy conversational out; I certainly didn't press the point about the difference in taste.

Thanks for not letting me simply skate by; regarding mabi and mauby, I'll keep on my toes!


The truth is: I can't seem to get to a solid footing on the matter either, having run into similar responses. You meet people who've indeed never tasted 'the other' beverage personally, but are content to declare its dis/similarity to theirs anyway. Often, a tacit assertion of national distinctiveness will color the conversation, obfuscating facts further (if there were any to be had).

Absent someone volunteering their lab for some good, ol' chemical analyses, it remains a slightly-irritating open question.

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