Last week I wrote about the importance of tereré in Paraguayan culture. This week, I want to share how you can make tereré at home!
And, if you’re not curious enough about it from last week or you just want to learn more about Paraguay, check out this super fun music parody video which is made by an American and an Argentine and gives some great images of what tereré looks like in action. The video also shows some great shots of Paraguayan life like the capital, Asunción and a waterfall that happens to be near the village where I lived called Salto Cristal.
I spent two years in Paraguay so I do write about it a lot! If you want to know more about Paraguay, or try Paraguayan food, you can check out:
- Chipa (Paraguayan Cheesy Bread)
- Mbeju (Savory Paraguayan Pancakes)
- Mate Dulce (Paraguayan Hot Chocolate)
- How Paraguayans Celebrate Christmas
And now, without further ado, let’s drink some tereré.
How to Make Tereré
Disclaimer: Please, please don’t share one straw with others during COVID. Tereré drinking is best a solo activity for now 😦
Ingredients & Tools
- Yerba mate – this is the loose yerba mate leaves. My favorite brand for tereré is Kurupí with mint and boldo (a plant native to South America). I like this site for browsing your options. This is different than the yerba mate tea packets that you sometimes see in stores in the US. Not the same thing.
- Ice, and lots of it. I use a full tray of ice cubes. In Paraguay they sell small plastic bags full of one huge chunk of ice which is quite effective.
- Thermos or pitcher with a spout – This will store the water and you will pour it into a smaller cup. Does it have to be a thermos? No, but the best termos have a spout and some insulation to keep the water cold as you drink it. Anything you have that meets that criteria will do.
- Guampa – the guampa is a cup filled with the yerba mate leaves. You drink out of this cup. Although they do make tereré-specific cups in Paraguay, any cup can be a guampa. The best ones are small and thin, and have some insulation so it doesn’t get too cold or wet on the cup itself.
- Bombilla – this is a filtered straw that is used to separate the water from the tea leaves. You can’t drink tereré without it.
- Yuyos – this translates literally to “herbs” but these are optional flavors for your water. I’ve had mint, dill, rose petals, lemon slices, and more. This is the mixology part of making tereré – with different brands of yerba leaves and water flavors, the combinations are endless.
- Fill the thermos with at least one tray of ice cubes and then fill with water. If you’re going to use yuyos, add those now.
- Fill your guampa 2/3 – 3/4 full with the dried yerba leaves, enough to cover the filter of your bombilla.
- If you’re sitting in a group (which you aren’t, because COVID!), one person is the server. The server fills the guampa with water, and passes it to the first person on their right. That person drinks the contents of the guampa before passing it back to the server. Continue counterclockwise. The server should keep offering tereré to each person, in turn, until they say “thank you” which signals they are done.