Chimarrao – Erva Mate: The Green Tea Of Brazil

It’s wild, unbroken and undomesticated. Erva mate or Chimarrao, pronounced “shee-mah-HOE”, and also known as Erva mate is the Portuguese for the traditional Yerba mate. Yerba mate has its legacy amongst the ancient Aymara natives, Quechua and Guarani people. The herb is native to South America and it’s used to make the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. In fact, yerba mate is consumed six times more than coffee in these countries. Discover more on Yerba mate at

Chimarrao - Erva Mate

Chimarrão – Brasilian Erva Mate

The herb is popular all over the world but is mainly known as Chimarrao in Brazil. It’s used as a beverage for its stimulant, depurative and diuretic properties. There are other names for Chimarrao – Erva mate, Paraguay tea, St. Bartholomew’s tea, Terere in Africa, and Jesuit’s tea. It depends on in which part of the world you are.

The Chimarrao Culture

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The same case applies for taking Chimarrao. The tradition of sipping the mate is different from one country to the next. In Uruguay, the locals walk around with a thermos for the beverage. There are plenty of hot water stations around where they can refill it, In Argentina, they serve a toasted version of the Erva mate and serve it alongside pastries for breakfast or take it as a beverage in the afternoon.

Chimarrao in Gourd with Bombilla

Brasilian Erva Mate in Gourd with Bombilla

The Brazilians have their unique way of preparing their mates – they use large gourds or calabashes. The traditional gourd is mostly found in the states of Santa Catarina, Paraná, the Rio Grande do Sul, and in parts of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso. Each region has its own yerba mate – it depends on the particle size. The Brazilian Chimarrao – Erva mate is also different from that of Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay in that it has no stems.

The mate is taken using the bomba (bombilla in Portuguese). It’s a metal straw can be purchased either separately or as part of a complete mate set. It has a filter attached to the lower end to prevent consumption of the leaf fragments.

When on your trip to Brazil, you may want to experience traditional Brazilian mate. Here are some tips for you: never wipe the mouthpiece of the bomba before drinking. Your hosts and other people in the circle may get offended. In addition, never touch or rearrange the bomba. Remember to always respect the order in which the gourd will be passed around.

Health benefits of Chimarrao

It’s naturally caffeinated, which makes it an excellent alternative to coffee. In a Chimarrao serving, you’ll get about 27 mg of caffeine. Coffee has 85mg, while black tea has about 40mg. Chimarrao also contains compounds like theophylline and theobromine which naturally energize you and improve your mood. It does all this without causing jitters and you won’t experience any crashes later. Chimarrao provides long lasting and balanced energy and focus. In case you’re watching your caffeine intake, ensure you check the caffeine amounts specific to the product you’re purchasing.

Ilex Paraguariensis

Erva Mate leaves

Chimarrao increases stamina, which explains why it’s a top choice among Brazilian athletes. It’s packed with over 20 vitamins and nutrients that help the body to process and assimilate food, and stay energized. These include the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B5). They keep your muscles and skin healthy. In addition, they improve the lush in your hair and enhances its growth. It promotes hair growth by renewing the hair follicles that are already growing. This results in thicker, fuller and healthier looking hair.

Vitamin A improves your eyesight, boosts your immune system and enhances cell growth, Vitamin C is great for your skin health and promotes the repair of damaged tissues. This makes it a great addition to your fitness and workout nutritional regimen. The minerals include potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, sulfur, selenium, phosphorus, and even zinc. Each of these is beneficial in its own way. For instance, potassium promotes your heart’s health, and magnesium enables your body to synthesize proteins faster. Speaking of proteins, Chimarrao provides your body with up to 15 amino acids, which are the building blocks of every single protein in your body.

According to WebMD, drinking tea containing Chimarrao three times daily for 40 days will lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol for people with high levels of lipids (fats) in the blood. In addition, Chimarrao – Erva mate can
lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Chimarrao comes with powerful antioxidants and polyphenols that are beneficial to you in a number of ways. For instance, polyphenols boost the immune system and improve your overall health and wellness. There are also studies that show it improves sleep and reduces allergies. The antioxidants also slow down the aging process in cells, enabling you to look younger for longer. It reduces the rate of cell degeneration, thus strengthening your body against injury. The antioxidants also prohibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

How To Store Chimarrao

The right storage ensures that it will remain fresh for as long as possible. In fact, it can go for 1-2 years if placed in the right conditions. It doesn’t really spoil, but it will get stale if you leave it exposed to weather elements for long periods of time. It’s best
to store it in a cool dark place. You can keep it in an airtight container that is completely dry. In addition, store it away from other items like spices and coffee that can leach their flavors into the mate.

How Does It Taste?

It varies depending on the regions where it was grown, the cultivation practices and the brewing techniques that you’ll use. Generally, it has an earthy, vegetal, herbaceous flavor. It brings the feeling of a fresh rainforest onto your palate. Some people will call it bitter-sweet. Some producers will have roasted the leaves and twig, which gives it a roasted flavor.

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