Chimarrão, the traditional loose tea drink of the south.
Natives to Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul are big drinkers of this hot tea. Recently we were talking with some friends from Rio Grande do Sul and they shared that even during the church service the drink is passed around!
The cup is made from a dried fruit from tree called Crescentia cujete L. (It belongs to the family Bignoniaceae.)
The straw is called a "bomba" that has a filter at the bottom to strain out the loose tea particles.
You fill the cup with the loose tea and pack it to one side of the cup, inserting the straw on the oposite side and adding hot water to the side with no tea.
It is a social drink. Everyone drinks from the same cup/straw. You drink your cup full and then pass it on. I asked how no one gets sick and they say it is either the hot water that kills the germs or the fact that the straw is generally stainless steel. Nevertheless, sickness it not a preoccupation with this drink.
Sharing Chimarrão is a sign of hospitality and friendship in the south. Tuesday night a new friend from Rio Grande came over and so we shared some Chimarrão. It was the first time Rachel had drank it. While the three of us were studying Lies Women Believe and the Truth that sets them Free (Nancy Leigh DeMoss), we each drank about 3 cups full. Drinking, refilling and passing it on.