Paraguay consumes an unbelievable 24 lb of tea per capita per year.
The favorite tea of this South American nation is Yerba Mate which they popularly call Tereré.
The annual tea export of Paraguay is 5-6 million pounds.
History of Tea in Paraguay
Tereré has been the national drink since ancient times much before it was officially declared so by the modern Paraguay society.
The indigenous Guarani were using Yerba Mate to prepare their infusions for centuries and this tradition continued even after the Spanish colonization.
Today, Tereré is the nation’s most popular beverage, massively consumed among Paraguayans of all ages.
Tea Culture in Paraguay
Tereré is an iced tea made by soaking the dried Yerba Mate leaves in cold water in a large recipient.
It consists of 2/3 Yerba Mate and the rest are medicinal herbs such as lemon verbena, mint, saffron crocus, lemon balm, spikesedges, ajenjo, pererina, ginger, and other herbs.
After being soaked in cold water, the liquid is poured into a gourd with a metal straw and shared in a circle with friends and family.
Literally, every person in Paraguay knows how to prepare Tereré and doesn’t leave the house without the gourd and thermos of iced Yerba Mate.
This tea is sipped throughout the entire day, creating an ancestral tea ritual out of every moment.
Tereré is also consumed with lime juice in some parts of the country and lightly sweetened with organic sugar cane.