Skip to main content

Tereré - More Than Just a Drink

After being completely spoiled with a cold front last week (80 degrees instead of 100), we're back up to high temps. In our home, we live on tereré. Tereré is the cold version of Mate Tea. Everyone in Paraguay drinks it in the summertime. Tereré was introduced by the Guarani Indians in Paraguay and the tradition has been borrowed by the Southern Cone (Brazilians, Argentineans, Uruguayans and Chileans).

Very few Paraguayans drink plain water, so tereré's crucial for hydration in this humid heat. Day wagers take tereré breaks (our version of a coffee break) at 10:00 a.m. and at 3:00 in our area. They gather in a circle and one designated person serves to each person in the "ronda". Each person takes his turn sipping their serving of the cold tea and immediately returns it to the server. It is considered bad etiquette to hold on to the tereré too long! Paraguayans definitely take tereré seriously!

You can use lemonade, limeade, orange juice, pop, or cold water with lemon to pour into the tea leaves. Most Paraguayans add special herbs to their water and crush them with a mortar and pestle, to add a refreshing flavor or medicinal value. Our friends are teaching us about each of these herbs and their uses to cure ailments. We like mint and lemongrass.

One of our cups is a cow horn, called a guampa. The other one we use is metal, to help keep the drink as cold as possible. The straw is called a bombilla and has a filter at the end of it. It can be made of silver or metal and they are easy to lose, but we wouldn't know that by personal experience!

You will see a Paraguayana carrying his/her thermos everywhere they go. Many times they personalize their thermos with their name or their favorite soccer team. Ours has a scripture verse on it, with our name (so it's not stolen), which, unfortunately, has happened, twice.

Drinking tereré isn't just an addicting ritual here, it's a sign of trust and communion. For us, drinking tereré is an important part of our day, not just because it refreshes (and stimulates) us in the heat. It is an excellent time to sit down and catch up on the happenings of each other's day. Some of our best conversations and dreams are born while sipping this delicious drink outside on the porch. Here's a picture of our son drinking tereré. He was only 18 months old in this photo. You know, after all this talkin' I'm already getting thirsty for a tereré !

Do you have some type of "break" to sit down and catch up during the busyness of the day?


  1. Great post on terere. I love the stuff but can't be bothered to make it at home, although I enjoy sharing others :)

  2. We're fairly addicted, too. I don't like the highly flavored ones, or when it's really fresh and powdery. But we love it anyway...

  3. I am too new to be addicted yet. I am still in the try to like terere phase. Abi, however, is frequently asking "mas terere?" I love the terere breaks and driving through Asuncion and seeing businessmen, teenagers, everyone carrying their thermos and wampa on the street, in their car, in the mall... everywhere.

  4. yeah, it's unbelieveble, but in every home, in every street, no matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter if u have money or if you're poor, tereré it's always there, it's the only thing what paraguayan people doesn't fifhgt for. LOL

  5. Sentimos muita falta do tereré porque aqui faz muito calor, mas o povo aqui só pensa em trabalhar e se te vêm sentado tomando tereré , pensam que você está perdendo tempo...aqui difícil conseguir uma boa erva de tereré, quando alguém vai para o Paraguay sempre encomendamos para nós...


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

September highlights. A month in Paraguay

I want to thank you for hanging out with us this past month. Every day was different. Sometimes I wish I had more of a routine. But in my missionary role, routine is not something I experience very often. Here are a few September highlights.

We traveled to Asuncion, to get some paperwork done. The trip to Asuncion generally takes six hours on a two lane road, with crazy traffic. We avoid these trips as much as possible. 

I was part of a Baptism ceremony in the Parana River. 28 people made a public commitment. The Parana Rive is the second one in size after the Amazon River.

I had a chance to continue my bible teaching at our local church on Tuesday evenings. I fill in various classes and find teaching very rewarding.
We celebrated Anahi’s 6th birthday with our immediate family. Anahi is finishing her preschool and will start first great next year

We celebrated Dominick’s 4th month. He also got his shots last week. Dominick has occupied the center of attention. He has been a great joy for …

A day like today, five years ago

April 17, 2012 was another normal busy ministry day, just like today. I spend half of that day with a group of pastors and leaders. In the afternoon, I went to pick up some documents for Anahi, in the city of Encarnacion, about an hour from our home.

We were working on a side walk for our house, so at about 4 pm I took Timothy and Anahi with me to get some supplies before our trip the next day.

That evening Julie made pizza. I played with Timothy for about an hour with the new toy we had both created. I kissed my boy good night, and prepared some stuff for the trip we were going to make next morning very early towards Asuncion.

Life was good, we were in the midst of great projects with the church, we were also serving at the radio station and managing the new bible training bi vocational center we had created the year before.

Neither one of us had the fog-est idea that this would be our last day together as a family of four, our last dinner, our last time to say goodnight and to look …