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Tereré – cold yerba mate for hot days!

2023-05-26
Tereré – cold yerba mate for hot days!

There is nothing better than enjoying a freshly poured hot yerba mate.... But what if the burning sun is getting on our nerves and we don't like the idea of getting too hot? How do we survive high temperatures on summer days? The answer is hidden under a three-syllable term: tereré! How to make cold yerba mate? Find out all about it on our blog!

Summary:

  1. What is tereré?
  2. Tereré in Paraguayan style
  3. How to prepare tereré? Recipe for delicious, cold yerba mate
  4. Tereré ruso – what is it?
  5. The best yerba mate for tereré
  6. Accessories for tereré

What is tereré?

Tereré is nothing more than cold brew yerba mate. It originated in Paraguay and is most popular there. No wonder. The small country in the heart of the continent is famous for its hot, tropical climate. Thermometers there show up to 47°C on the hottest days of the summer season! Pouring cold water over mate tea is also popular in the north-east of Argentina and southern Brazil. This is where it is hottest. In the face of the scorching heat, few people fancy warm brews. With help comes the perfect remedy in the form of iced yerba mate.

Tereré in Paraguayan style

Yerba mate drenched in ice-cold water straight from the spring was already drunk hundreds of years ago by the Guarani Indians. Such a drink gave them energy, brightened their minds and reduced the feeling of hunger, at the same time cooling their bodies perfectly in the unbearable heat. The tradition was taken up by modern Paraguayans and has become so deeply rooted in their culture that tereré has become the national drink. The last Saturday in February has even been declared National Tereré Day! What’s more, in 2020, the international organisation UNESCO included the Paraguayan tradition of drinking tereré on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In Paraguay, ice-cold yerba mate is drunk by everyone – young and old. They drink it in the morning to stimulate and during the day to cool down. They take a large tereré thermos slung over their shoulder with them to work or school, to meet up with friends, for a walk or on a trip. They drink cold yerba mate using guampa – a special tereré vessel. It is traditionally made of buffalo horn or hoof, although nowadays ceramic, metal or palo santo wood guampas are used just as often. Paraguayans add ice cubes, chunks of fresh fruit – usually citrus – and fresh herbs to their cold tereré. Herbs for tereré are called “yuyos” there, which can be purchased at virtually any market. Paraguayans also often mix the cold water with juice squeezed straight from the fruit, and sometimes replace it completely with frozen juice.

Ho to make cold yerba mate?

How to prepare tereré? Recipe for delicious, cold yerba mate

How to make tereré? It's as simple as preparing yerba mate in its traditional hot form. The leaves of Ilex paraguariensis release their properties brilliantly in hot water, but also when exposed to low temperatures. In order for the noble plant to "share" them more readily, the water needs to be very cold, even icy – around 1-5 °C. The preparation of cold yerba mate is similar to traditional brewing. Just fill the calabash with the dried product (we recommend using about 50% more yerba mate than usual). Before pouring water into your mate gourd, add a few ice cubes to keep the temperature of the drink low for longer. The drink will also take longer to "steep". In order to enjoy the fine, distinctive flavour, leave the calabash for about 5-10 minutes. Cold yerba mate goes well with herbs and fruit. It is worth enriching it with pieces of citrus fruit, pieces of refreshing watermelon or juicy peach or leaves of fresh mint. The effect of long-lasting refreshment is guaranteed!

Tereré ruso – what is it?

In the 1930s, the Gran Chaco region was the scene of a bloody armed conflict between Paraguay and Bolivia. Many volunteers from the Soviet Union fought on the side of the former country. Unaccustomed to the tropical climate, the soldiers could hardly stand the oppressive heat. However, the refreshing cold yerba mate was too bitter for their untrained palates. The compromise solution turned out to be a slight modification. Instead of water, the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis were poured with frozen juice – usually orange juice. The drink appealed to the Russians. It was also quickly recognised by the local population. To commemorate the unusual circumstances of its creation, it is still referred to today as "Russian tereré" or "tereré ruso" in Spanish. Cold yerba mate drenched in juice rather than water was also drunk by Ukrainian immigrants who settled in the Paraguayan state of Itapúa in the first half of the 20th century. How can you make tereré ruso for yourself? It's simple! Pour dried yerba mate into a container – we suggest which types are best later in this article. Throw in a few ice cubes and pour some pre-frozen juice – orange, apple, peach, strawberry or passion fruit juice. Experiment and find your favourite flavour. Russian tereré is ready! The recipe is trivially simple, isn't it?

The best yerba mate for tereré

Virtually any type of dried product is suitable for cold brewing. Both the coarser-cut and the finer-cut varieties of yerba mate. The dusty Paraguayan mate, but also the green Brazilian erva mate, which is practically free of dust and twigs, works well. It is worth trying different types to find the one that suits us best. Many manufacturers offer ready-made blends dedicated to cold preparation. They are usually based on herbal and fruity additives that add a unique aroma and flavour to the composition. We have had the opportunity to test many such blends. We have selected some of our favourites for you. All of them are available in our online shop. Which yerba mate is best for tereré? Try out the different options and decide for yourself! We suggest where to start:

  • Verde Mate Tereré
  • Although Brazilians are not as crazy about tereré as the Paraguayans, in the range of Brazilian brand Verde Mate you will find a variation dedicated to cool infusions. It is worth looking out for, not only because of its rich composition, which is not found anywhere else. Verde Mate Tereré contains, among others, goji berries, pineapple cubes, orange peel, lemongrass and mint leaf. When cold water is added, the result is a remarkable fruity mix!

  • Guarani Menta Limón
  • The renowned Paraguayan producer has not forgotten about cold yerba mate lovers! The smoky bitterness of the dry product is perfectly combined with the sour accents of lemon. The mint introduces a hint of soothing refreshment. Guarani Menta Limón is the perfect way to cool down on hot summer days!

  • CBSé Pomelo
  • CBSé Pomelo is a delicious Argentine yerba mate, enhanced by the natural aroma of grapefruit, which goes particularly well with cold versions of tereré. A great blend with an exotic note noticeable in taste and aroma!

  • Rosamonte Tereré
  • A well-known Argentine brand also has something for the heat. Rosamonte Tereré has no added flavour. However, the dry product is prepared in such a way that the yerba mate optimally releases its valuable properties on contact with cold water or icy juice.

Accessories for tereré

When choosing the right product and additives to prepare the cold version of yerba mate, it is important not to forget the right accessories. As with the hot version of yerba mate, an essential tool is the bombilla, which will separate the grounds from the drink. Alternatively, cold yerba mate can also be prepared with a regular tea brewer or a french press for coffee. As far as the vessel is concerned, it does not really matter what the tereré is prepared in. A traditional mate gourd or guampa will be a reference to the culture of the South Americans, but you can also prepare cold yerba mate in a regular mug, glass or – in true hipster style – in a jar! It's also a good idea to get a tereré thermos, into which you can pour ice-cold water, throw in ice cubes and pour over mate repeatedly until it loses its flavour. This is a great option for holidays – to take on the go! We particularly strongly recommend the 3-in-1 terere “kit” that is the Yerbomos 5.0. This is an amazing accessory that combines the functions of mate gourd, thermos and bombilla. A great gadget that makes life easier!

As you can see for yourself, yerba mate is also perfect in hot weather! We hope our article has given you lots of tasty inspiration. We also recommend that you have a look at our shop’s offer. We have collected many products that will refresh you even on the hottest days of summer!


Source of information:

  1. Qué es el tereré, la bebida paraguaya reconocida como patrimonio inmaterial de la humanidad, BBC News, 2020.
  2. M. Sanz, Paraguay festeja el Día Nacional del Tereré, bebida símbolo de su identidad, Ultima Hora, 2015.
  3. Wikipedia: Tereré.

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