What is your favorite drink during a hot summer day? A soda, a cold beer, or maybe a mojito? Those are all great options, but maybe you want to try something new. Something that is healthy and energizing. Well, I’ve got just the right thing for you. Read this recipe and learn how to make tereré, traditional iced yerba mate tea from Paraguay!
What Is Tereré?
Yerba mate tea is a South American drink prepared from dried and ground leaves of a tree called Ilex paraguariensis. It is a healthy and energizing drink with a nice earthy flavor. Tereré is the traditional Paraguayan cold-brewed version of yerba mate tea.
The main difference between preparing hot yerba mate tea and tereré is that tereré is brewed with ice-cold water. In addition, other ingredients are often added to enhance the flavor of this refreshing beverage. Fruit juice and herbs, such as mint, are the most common ingredients.
How to Make Traditional Paraguayan Tereré
In Paraguay, the traditional vessel for consuming tereré is a guampa, a mate gourd made from a bull’s horn. The most common recipes include fruit juice and herbs, but you can also use many other ingredients to suit your preference. Continue reading to find out how to make a traditional Paraguayan tereré!
The most important ingredient for making tereré is, of course, ground yerba mate leaves. You can use any yerba mate product for making it, and I recommend trying different ones to find the best option to suit your taste. One of my absolute favorite brands for making tereré is an organic Paraguayan mate called La Rubia. Another great option is Meta Mate 23, a wild-harvested yerba mate from Brazil.
In addition to loose leaf yerba mate, you also need cold water and ice cubes. Instead of just cold water, you can also use a mixture of water and fruit juice. One of my favorite ways of preparing tereré is to first make a mix of cold water and other ingredients.
Here is to prepare the mix for brewing tereré: use half of the amount of cold water with the other half consisting of freshly squeezed orange (or pineapple) juice and lime juice. Then add some fresh mint leaves and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least a few hours. This will produce a mixture that has a very refreshing and fruity taste with some natural sweetness!
Ingredients needed for making tereré:
- Loose leaf yerba mate
- Cold water
- Ice cubes
- Lime juice
- Fresh orange (or other fruit) juice
- Mint leaves (or other herbs)
All you need for making a tasty tereré is a glass and a bombilla. Bombilla is the traditional metal straw that is used for drinking yerba mate tea. I prefer using a spoon bombilla because it doesn’t easily let particles through and into your mouth when sipping the drink.
Instead of a glass, you can also use a yerba mate gourd. In this case, I recommend using a gourd made of glass or metal. If you use fruit juice when making your tereré, and make it in a wooden or traditional calabash gourd, the taste of fruits may remain in the gourd. Some of this taste would then be released when you are preparing hot yerba mate tea with the same gourd.
Equipment needed for making tereré:
- Bombilla (a metal straw)
- A glass or a yerba mate gourd.
Making a delicious and refreshing tereré is actually quite simple. When it’s ready, you can sip your tereré by yourself or with a group of friends, passing the glass from one to the other.
This is how to prepare your tereré:
- Fill your glass (or gourd) about half full with loose leaf yerba mate.
- Cover the glass with your palm and turn it sideways so that the yerba mate will be on the other side.
- Place your bombilla on the side of the glass where there is empty space. Add a few ice cubes.
- Pour the prepared mixture of water, juice, and mint (or just cold water) into the gourd, but don’t fill it all the way. Let it steep for just a moment, to increase the amount of flavor.
- Enjoy your tereré! Avoid moving the bombilla while drinking it, so that the particles don’t go inside. When there is no more liquid, fill it again with cold liquid. You can keep on refilling it until the yerba starts to lose its taste.
Different Versions of Iced Yerba Mate
In addition to preparing tereré, the traditional iced yerba mate tea from Paraguay, you can also try different brewing methods. Go ahead and experiment with whatever methods or ingredients come to your mind!
One of my favorite ways of preparing cold yerba mate is the following:
- Pour just a little bit of cold water into a french press. Add some loose leaf yerba mate. Mix it so that the yerba gets wet.
- Add hot water (about 160 Fahrenheit or 70 Celcius) so that it’s almost full.
- Let it steep for a moment and then push the plunger down.
- Pour the hot mate tea in a pitcher.
- You can make some more mate with the same yerba by pouring more hot water into the french press. Make as much hot mate as you want and store it into pitchers.
- Add some lime/lemon juice and honey into the pitcher and mix. Let the drink cool down and then place it in a refrigerator.
This way you will have a large amount of ice-cold yerba mate ready to be served. You can serve it in a glass with ice and a slice of lemon or lime. If you are having a party, you can even add some vodka or rum. The energizing effect of mate tea combined with alcohol will be sure to get the party started!
Tereré – Cold Brewed Yerba Mate from Paraguay
Now it’s time to make your tereré, are you ready? If you don’t have a bombilla, you can first try the version with a french press. You can also try the french press method with cold water, just let it steep for some time so that the flavor gets properly infused.
What if you don’t have a french press either? Don’t worry, you can basically use a kettle or any other type of container. You just have to pour the tea through a strainer before drinking it.
Instead of using plain yerba mate, you can also try a ready-made mixture of mate and other herbs, such as Pajarito mint & lemon yerba mate.
After trying this recipe, please tell me how you like it! Also, if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below.