Tereré – mate made cold

I’m totally obsessed with yerba mate. Not only do I like drinking it, but I LOVE to see people with their mate gourds drinking it.  I constantly am on the lookout for people with their gourds.

guy selling nuts and drinking mate

We’ve been invited to drink it with others several times now.   When this happens I am so torn.  I’m always dying to drink mate with Argentinians but, I can’t drink hot stuff.  It burns my throat, lips, tongue.  I can’t even fake it and just pretend to take a sip. When you are handed a gourd of mate, it’s polite to drink the entire gourd, no matter that you might be setting your throat on fire.   I always go home from mate drinking with a mouth so burnt I can’t taste anything for a week.

So, when our friends Nati and Frankie suggested a picnic in the park, I was super excited for several reasons.

1. Nati and Frankie are really cool and fun to hang out with.  Moving around always makes us the new kids on the block, and my poor Spanish makes me the dumb new kid on the block. So it’s really fun to have friends.

2. Frankie is from New Jersey and Nati is from Paraguay but spent a lot of time in the US, so the picnic would be conducted in English.

3. There was a rumor of guacamole filled deviled eggs.  Not a traditional dish of Argentina, but you can’t eat steak at every meal.

4. Nati was going to show me how to make tereré which is cold yerba mate, something that is very popular in Paraguay.

First, we ate the eggs (among other things).  To say guacamole filled boiled eggs are good is like saying there is a little bit of meat eating going on in Argentina.   They rank right up there with dulce de leche (the best food in the entire world).   If there is such a thing as guacamole-deviled egg rehab I will soon be checking in.   These things were addictive.

Then after eating we got down to the business of making the tereré.   Preparing tereré is similar to preparing yerba mate except you use cold water instead of hot.  First, Nati filled my gourd with the yerba.


I really like the kind that comes with stems and twigs.

this is the brand I like.

I’ve read online how the bombilla (fancy metal straw) has to go in a certain way.   Nati showed me how you put it in when the gourd is half full.


For sweeteners you can do several things. You can drink it without sugar. You can add sugar, or you can add stevia. Nati had bought stevia in it’s natural form at the market and we added that.   It was sweet but not refined sugar.   Then she also added chamomile but explained that you can add any other herbs you want.

Then we added cold water.   In Paraguay the water is usually ice cold, but since I didn’t have a cooler the water was sort of room temperature. But,still about 100 degrees cooler than boiling hot water.

And then we did something that would strike terror in most Americans. WE ALL DRANK FROM THE SAME STRAW!  That is the way you drink yerba mate.   Drinking yerba mate hot or cold is a social thing. Sharing the gourd and straw is part of the mate drinking.   The head mate maker fills the gourd then passes it to someone. That person drinks the entire gourd hands it back, the head honcho fills it again passes it to the next person etc.  There is no Purell. There is no sterilization, there is no switching out straws.  Everyone shares the same gourd and straw.


Here’s the thing.  You drink this with friend and family. It’s not like some stranger off the street is going to hand you a mate .    If they are friends and family, you’ve already cheek kissed them and shaken their hand. You already shared germs. What’s a little shared mate drinking?   And, I think if people are sick they don’t partake.  We were at a picnic and someone said they had a cold, so they didn’t want the gourd passed to them.

Sheryl rockin the mate, not the new bangs

So tererè is my new favorite drink. It goes down really easy on a hot day. It’s really fun to drink with friends, and it tastes really good.  The only problem is that I now drink a lot of tereré but haven’t given up my coffee habit.  It’s not a problem until 3:00am when I’m wide awake and have no idea why.  Then I remember that I’ve had several cups of coffee and several gourds of yerba mate during the day.

Here’s a video of us drinking it.    It was little boring, like watching people drink coffee, so I added music to liven it up.  Now it sounds like we’ll be passing the mate to Benny Hill next.





14 thoughts on “Tereré – mate made cold”

  1. Argentina should hire you to be the spokesperson for Yerba mate, and Paraguay for terere!

    Next time I see some in a specialty store, I’m going to buy a bag, regardless of cost. You make it sound so good.

    How come these beverages haven’t caught on in the U.S.? Maybe you’ll introduce them to the U.S. public…

    1. The funny thing is that Tully’s did try selling yerba mate a few years ago. They sold the beverage in the stores mixed with a lot of sugar and then you could buy the gourd and straw as well, but then they went on clearance right away, so not big sellers. I think you’ll really like yerba mate. It’s so good! Tazo has a mate tea, although it’s totally different than the actual full on yerba.

  2. I think I might consider sharing a gourd and straw with you but only because the straw is metal. Knowing you a paper straw would be all wet. Love you both – miss you.

    1. You’re not worried about backwash? I could have some sort of drool cloth I could use to wipe off the metal straw between drinks. You know I’m bringing mate with me to Chicago, so get ready for some mate drinking.

  3. I’ll has some yerba mate leaves waiting for you when you come to Charlotte. You can be our yerba mate barrista and show us how to make it. Good friends, good mate, good life on the road.

  4. I cant wait to taste some, someday. What is the recipe for the guacamole deviled eggs? They sound fantastic too. Do you drink the mate with the eggs?

    Great blog

    1. The eggs are so simple. You just boil the eggs, take the yolk out, mix the yolk with some avocado and minced onions. I would add cilantro. We can’t find fresh cilantro here, but that would make them even more insanely delicious. Then you just put the avocado yolk mixture back in the boiled egg whites. We ate first, then drank the terere, although I think they would have gone well together.

    1. You might have just hit on a million dollar invention. A straw “protector” would be perfect for the germ-a-phobes who don’t want to share.

  5. Love the music. Nice choice. I totally want one of those eggs. Maybe you can get the recipe or not if it is just guacamole and hard boiled eggs. The Mate sounds interesting too.

    1. The eggs are so easy, just boil eggs, take out yolk, mix yolk with avocado and minced onions, put back into the egg whites. They are SOOO good.

  6. Did you hear that Brenda made the eggs for Hong’s poker party? She was inspired by your post. I almost made the same. They were good.

    1. I think i could eat a dozen of those eggs every day. They are so good. I want Brenda to do a egg cookbook of all different things to put in boiled eggs. She has all these good filling ideas. We should have an egg party when we get back.

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