Some of you Stateside might have heard of of Yerba Mate as a kind of tea that is very popular in South America. Yerba Mate is from a plant which is native to Paraguay and the areas of Brazil and Argentina directly surrounding it and was originally used by the Guarani people native to the area. Most all countries of South America drink Mate as a tea brewed with hot but not boiling water. Paraguay does this as well but they also do something unique and drink it by pouring cold water over the Yerba Mate to make a drink called Tereré. Everyone here drinks this stuff and it is a source of national pride that they are the country where Tereré originated. Given this, we thought we should give it a try. Jenna, our neighbor Chaya, and I decided to buy the special glasses called "guampas" and the special straws called "bombillas" with filters built into the end of them and give the drink a shot. Jenna and Chaya are ready to try their first Tereré here. Note how the Yerba Mate is just floating in the water.
After trying it they weren't smiling quite so much as it turns out that our Tereré has a bit of a bitter flavor and is very much an acquired taste. Our guard laughed a bit when we asked him for advice on how to make the Tereré and kind of suggested that the stuff we bought sucked and we should get some better Yerba Mate. I'm dedicated to liking it and will drink it as long as I need to in order to acquire the taste. I hope to bring some home with me next July for those who are interested to give it a try! Here is me drinking my Tereré as I made the posts about flying over the Andes and our apartment.