Mate (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmate]), also known as chimarrão (Portuguese: [ʃimaˈʁɐ̃w̃]) or cimarrón, is a traditional South American infused drink, particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern states of Brazil, and the bolivian chaco. It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (llex paraguariensis, known in Portuguese as erva mate) in hot water.
Mate is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd. The straw is called a bombilla in some Latin American countries, a bomba in Portuguese, and a masassa in Arabic. The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern commercially available straws are typically made of nickel silver, called Alpaca, stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa, while in Brazil it has the specific name of cuia. Even if the water comes in a very modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias.
As with other brewed herbs, yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture. A modern bombilla design uses a straight tube with holes, or spring sleeve to act as a sieve.
"Tea-bag" type infusions of mate (mate cocido) have been on the market in Argentina for many years under such trade names as "Cruz de Malta" and in Brazil under the name "Mate Leão". This is considered a completely different drink, and is never drunk on "cuias" or called "chimarrão", nor is it associated with the "gaúcha" culture.