Gaucho-Style Erva-Mate Tea (Chimarrão)

A cula is a dried, hollow gourd, which serves as the cup for chimarrão, and the bomba is a metal straw with a filter at one end to keep out the finely ground tea. People drink chimarrão socially, and the cula is passed from one person to the next, after being refilled with hot water from a thermos.

Serves: 1Hands-on: 5 minutesTotal: 5 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 1


  • 1 cula (special gourd cup)
  • Enough erva-mate tea leaves to fill ⅔ of cula
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 bomba (metal straw)
  • 1 thermos hot (not boiling) water, for refilling cula


  • Fill the cula ⅔ of the way full with the erva-mate. Place one hand over the mouth of the cula, and turn it on its side. Tap the cup so that the tea falls to the bottom. Carefully turn the cup so that it is at a 45-degree angle. There should now be a space between the tea and one side of the inside of the cup.
  • Pour enough warm water into that space to moisten the tea (about ½ cup) and wait 1 minute for the tea to absorb the water.
  • Pressing your thumb firmly over the nonfilter end of the bomba, place the filter end of the bomba into the space, then carefully give the bomba a quarter turn/twist toward the tea.
  • Pour enough hot water from the thermos to fill the cula. Drink the tea. Refill with hot water as needed.