Chimarrão Switching: Moving the Bomba

Preparacion chimarrao

To mark the addition of Barão Organic to the UruShop website, I want share with you a special technique for getting the most out of your chimarrão. 

barao organic Chimarrão

Long time readers of this blog might be familiar with our excellent guide to preparing chimarrão; if you are new to this style of mate then do consider going back and reading it first before you continue.

Un-aged Brazilian erva mate, or chimarrão, is considerably more difficult to brew than its Argentine and Paraguayan cousins, mainly due to it being ground much finer. This means that clogging the straw , or bomba in Portuguese, is far more likely, so make sure to take extra care when prepping!

Yerba on one side of our chimarrão

Making the Switch:

After you have been drinking your chimarrão for a while you will notice the flavour start to deplete. If you had reached a similar stage with a coarser cut yerba, you would most likely begin to gradually pour water over the compacted mate “mountain”. The purpose of this would be to expose all the remaining leaves to moisture until the mate is completely saturated, meaning all the mate’s flavour can be unlocked.

With chimarrão, however, this is not so easy. Because the mate mountain is much more densely compacted, pouring water directly onto it tends to cause run off, resulting in somewhat of a mess! To get to that wonderful reserve of dry erva hiding away at the base of your mountain, you’re going to need to transfer the bomba to the other side of the pile, and here’s how it can be done…

Step 1:

Carefully remove the bomba out of the mate mountain.

Preparing the chimarrao

Step 2:

Take a small spoon or kitchen knife and gently prize away the wall of dry mate from the opposite side of the gourd, moving it across to where the bomba had previously been sitting.


Step 3:

Get a piece of cardboard large enough to cover the opening of the gourd, place over the top, and shake the gourd downwards against the card keeping your hand firmly on top. This is similar to what you would do when first prepping the chimarrão. 


Step 4:

Use the knife or small spoon to compact a new wall of mate. Add some cool water and soak for a few minutes until most of the water has been absorbed.

Preparacion chimarrao
chimarrão adding the water

Step 5:

Get your hot water and fill up the water hole. Next take your bomba and insert it into the liquid with your thumb covering the mouthpiece. The straw should be sitting with the mouthpiece facing towards the mate mountain, with the length of the straw sitting against the mound.

chimarrão ready!

chimarrãoStep 6:

Drink, refill, repeat. With any luck this method won’t clog the straw and you’ll be able to enjoy your chimarrão for much longer!

Had success with this method? Run into problems? Get in touch,

Here are some of our recommendations for brewing chimarrao