Embark on a journey to Paraguay and discover a revitalizing botanical infusion known as Terere. This refreshing beverage is more than just a drink, it’s a tradition that brings people together for an experience of camaraderie and friendship.
Terere is a cold herbal tea made from the leaves of the yerba mate plant, which grows in the South American country of Paraguay. It has become a symbol of friendship, hospitality, and camaraderie in Paraguayan culture and is enjoyed throughout the day by locals as a natural energy boost and to relax the mind and body.
It’s not uncommon to see groups of Paraguayans gathered together enjoying terere in the streets or in private homes. The cherished beverage is so special to the culture that it is considered an extension of family, and even official meetings and conversations are often held over a cup of terere. The tea is served in a gourd called a guampa and consumed using a metal straw called a bombilla. Aside from its delicious taste, terere offers numerous health benefits as well. It is rich in antioxidants, aids digestion, promotes mental clarity, and strengthens the immune system.
The flavor of terere can be varied by adding different herbs, fruits, or sweeteners. Most often, the main component is yerba mate, which serves as a base for a range of other herbs and medicinal plants that are added to it. These “yuyos” (as they are referred to in the Guarani language) offer distinct flavors and medicinal properties that are used to address specific ailments. Bitter and sharp flavours like wormwood and anise are often used with hot yerba mate, while softer flavours like lemon verbena, mint, and boldo are commonly used in the cold version of the drink.
In addition to the conventional ingredients, Paraguayans also enjoy experimenting with citrus fruits, which add a refreshing touch to their infusions. In addition to delivering a natural burst of sweetness, these fruity additions are also loaded with vitamins and minerals. Aside from fruits, terere can also be enriched with other herbs and medicinal plants, such as lemon grass, peppermint, and boldo, that provide additional therapeutic properties.
If you’re interested in trying terere, look for it at your local markets or specialty stores that carry Latin American products and beverages. It’s not hard to find in the United States, either, since a growing number of grocers are offering the beverage in their tea aisles. It’s an excellent alternative to cold brew coffee, iced tea, and the overly sweet and unhealthy sodas and energy drinks. Try it for yourself and let terere refresh you on your next hot or rainy day!