Mate (Spanish: [ˈmate], Portuguese: [ˈmatʃi]; sometimes spelled maté in English though not in Spanish or Portuguese), also known as chimarrão (Portuguese: [ʃimɐˈʁɐ̃w̃]) or cimarrón (Spanish: [simaˈron]), is a traditional South Americancaffeine -rich infused drink , that was first consumed by the Guaraní and also spread by the Tupí people . In the last centuries, it became particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay , as also in Paraguay, the Bolivian Chaco, Southern Chile and Southern Brazil . It is also consumed in Syria , the largest importer in the world , and in Lebanon .
It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis, known in Portuguese as erva-mate) in hot water and is served with a metal straw from a shared hollow calabash gourd . The straw is called a bombilla in Spanish, a bomba in Portuguese, and a bombija or, more generally, a masassa ( straw ) 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, or also cabaça (the name for Indigenous-influenced calabash gourds in other regions of Brazil , still used for general food and drink in remote regions). Even if the water is supplied from a modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mates or cuias.
The mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba, "erva" in Portuguese, which means " herb ".