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Mate: A South American Chimarrão Tea Party

Apr.21.2014
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What is tea without a party?! Today we are going to explore a wonderful tradition in South America involving mate. Seen as a fortifying and stimulating herbal infusion, mate – also known as yerba mate, chimarrão or cimarron – is one of the most popular drinks in South America and is known for its signature bracing and bitter taste. In the south of Brazil, it is drank by the Gaucho people of Rio Grade do Sul as chimarrão, or cimarron.

· A Facilitator of Community ·

At a local gathering, the host has the honor of preparing the chimarrão in the cuia (a dry, hollowed out gourd) and sipping it through the bomba (a metallic straw with a filter). As a sign of hospitality, the host will drink the first serving as the initial infusion is the most bitter.

After softening the bitterness for his guests, the host will share the chimarrão. The cuia is refilled with more hot water and offered to the next person in the circle. Following this example, each person in the circle will drink to the bottom, refill the cuia and continue to pass along it along to the next person until the circle is complete. Through this wonderful ritual of sharing and serving chimarrão to one another, a deep social bond of trust and acceptance is born.

· Remember your P’s and Q’s ·

As in any social context, it’s important to remember your manners! The circle is always open for new joiners, though it is considered impolite to leave before the circle is concluded, to drink only part way through the bomba, or to decline a serving. Once in the circle, you are expected to be all in.

Help spread your own sense of community by hosting your own chimarrão party. It is hard to describe the feeling experienced from the creation of long-lasting, meaningful connections as those created through the simple act of sharing a cup of tea with another.


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