If you enjoy tea you should try “Chimarrão”. Very popular in the South of Brazil, chimarrão or mate is a infused drink served inside a dried out calabash (cuia) with a metal straw (bomba) attached where you can suck the tea. Usually the straw is made of silver and surrounded by beautiful stones. In the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Chimarrão is more than just drinking tea, it’s a ritual.
The erva-mate, or “mate” in English, is a 15 meter tall tree. To make the tea, the cultivators roast parts of the leaves and branches together. The flavor is a little bitter and the temperature of the water can influence the taste. You never let the water boil when you are preparing a mate! The water needs to be very hot but shouldn’t bubble, when you hear the sound of the water heating be sure to watch the kettle carefully. Right before it hits boiling temperature, turn off the fire and infuse with the tea. In a few minutes you can enjoy your mate.
Above you can see me planning an AIB tour and drinking my delicious and hot Chimarrão. If the mate is too bitter for your taste, you can add you favorite herbal tea and honey.