Brazilian Iced Tea Recipe – Chá Mate Gelado

A Rio de Janeiro classic, Brazilian Iced Tea, or Chá Mate Gelado in Portuguese, is perfect for summer to sip at the beach, by the pool, at the park or anywhere. Learn to make this classic drink recipe four different ways. These refreshing flavors will transport you to a white sandy Brazilian beach!

Brazilian Lemonade Recipe and Passion Fruit Juice are two other refreshing Brazilian drink recipes to try!

overhead image of brazilian tea with ice and a lime wheel in a glass from above

Brazilian Iced Tea Recipe – Chá Mate Gelado, a Rio de Janeiro beach cultural institution

Oi, Gente!!

As a girl from Rio, I can safely say: very few things are as carioca as mate gelado e biscoito globo at the beach. In fact, for locals, this iconic brew could even be considered, arguably, more popular than coconut water.

Seriously, mate culture at Rio de Janeiro beaches has become an institution since vendors started selling it at the beach in the 1950s.

If you haven’t been to Rio, picture this: the sellers put the drink into huge metal containers that can hold close to 50 liters and carry them on their shoulders. And they carry two containers, one on each shoulder — one has the mate and the other one has the fruit syrups for you to choose from.

You read that right. They carry two large containers on their shoulders. On the beach. Under the Rio de Janeiro sun. Everyday. That’s commitment to providing refreshing beverages to the masses right there. No matter how hot it is.

You can spot the orange wearing mate sellers easily. Not just because they’re wearing orange, or because they’re carrying metal tins under their arms but because they’re yelling: “Olha o Mate!!! Alô, Mate!!!” You really can’t miss them.

side angle of two glasses holding brazilian tea with ice cubes and lime, surrounded by ice, limes and lime juice on a white surface

Different flavors and styles of Chá Mate Gelado

There is more than one way to enjoy a good cold mate.

Once the seller comes to you, you make your mix. They hand you an empty cup and open the spout, then pour the mate until you say stop.

These are your typical options:

  • Classic plain mate, which is already sweetened.
  • Mate com limão, which is mate mixed with mate with sweet lime juice.
  • Mate com maracujá, which is mate mixed with sweet passion fruit juice.
  • Along the São Paulo coast, you may even find it mixed with sweet pineapple juice. I’ve never tried this one, but it sure sounds great!

If all you want is mate, just fill your cup, but if you want a mix-in, you can control how much sweet fruity syrup/juice you add to your drink.

You can even choose to mix both juices, if the seller has them both. That’s a thing!

And don’t forget to ask for the chorinho, which is the extra pour of mate they give you as you sit there and sip, sip, and sip while you’re coming up with your perfect blend of juice and tea — they’ll pour you this “treat” pour, the chorinho, up until they leave.

Please note that this drink does have caffeine, but with lots of ice, a mate will help you stay hydrated in a summer day.

Ingredients:

collage of two images showing brazilian iced tea ingredients in their packaging and then on a cutting board in bowls

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remember!

  • Chá Mate Brazilian Iced Tea — you can easily purchase it online on Amazon, or at any Brazilian supermarket near you.
  • Granulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this is our sweetener.

Variations:

  • Lime — you’ll need more sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice from about 8-10 limes, just depending on how large they are and how juicy.
  • Passion Fruit — you’ll need more sugar and fresh passion fruit. We’re looking at about 4-5 small purple passion fruits, roughly. You may be able to get away with frozen pulp that you can get at your local Target, Walmart or grocery store. It’s a hit or miss depending on where you live, but you can also try Latin stores and your local Brazilian market, too.

How to make Brazilian Iced Tea

collage of two images showing how to make brazilian iced tea from above

Real talk: making tea is literally boiling water and steeping the tea, but there are a couple secrets to making the perfect mate at home.

The first has to do with bitterness and the second with sweetness — so read on through!

We start by measuring the sugar and and the water into a pan. Place this over medium high heat, and stir the sugar gently until it dissolves.

When the sugar has dissolved, add the tea and keep an eye on it.

When the water begins simmer, turn off the heat and don’t let it boil. Let the tea steep for just about 10 minutes and strain. That’s it! This helps prevent the mate from turning bitter.

If you overboil, or let the tea sit in the water steeping too long, you’ll extract too much tea flavor for the amount of water we are using, and it will taste bitter or “too strong.”

collage of two images showing brazilian tea in a carafe and the tea being poured over ice in a wine glass

As for the sweetness, this goes for this entire recipe: Your tea, your rules. Adjust the sugar where you see fit to your liking.

The important thing is to make sure the sugar dissolves so you get the smoothest tea drinking experience.

I tend to make my tea less sweet because I usually add lime or passion fruit syrup, which also sweetens it.

The more you make, the closer you’ll get to your preferred ratios.

As you tinker with the sugar, just keep that in mind, and also remember you’ll be drinking your Brazililan Iced Tea with ice, which will dilute the drink as the ice begins to melt.

How to Make Mate com Limão – Lime Syrup

collage showing two images of measuring sugar into a bowl surrounded by lime juice and pouring lime juice into a measuring cup

To make a mate com limão like the ones from the vendors at the beach, we just make a simple syrup, let it cool, and pour in lime juice with some additional water.

That’s it!

Then you use that to flavor your Brazilian Iced Tea to your taste.

Just add a little bit or a lot to a glass with ice and top with your Chá Mate Gelado and enjoy!!

How to Make Mate com Maracujá – Passion Fruit Syrup

collage showing two images with sugar in. a bowl surrounded by passion fruit and then the sugar being poured into a measuring cup with passion fruit

Please note that this passion fruit version is the same process as the lime version. However, the ratios are slightly different in the recipe given the difference in sweetness between lime and passion fruit.

Just make a simple syrup, let it cool, and add in the passion fruit pulp and water.

Then you use that to flavor your Brazilian Iced Tea to your taste.

Just add a little bit or a lot to a glass with ice and top with your Iced Brazilian Tea and enjoy!!

Some people even mix the lime and passion fruit syrups together, then pour it on top of their tea — you do you!!

overhead of two wine glasses of brazilian iced tea garnished with lime wheels, surrounded by crushed ice and more limes on a white surface

Other refreshing drinks to make any day feel like summer:

Looking for a cocktail to brighten up your day? We can never get enough of this Margarita Pitcher, as well as Batida de Coco – Brazilian Coconut Cocktail.


overhead image of brazilian tea with ice and a lime wheel in a glass from above
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Brazilian Iced Tea

A Rio de Janeiro classic, Brazilian Iced tea, or Chá Mate Gelado in Portuguese, is perfect for summer to sip at the beach, by the pool, at the park or anywhere. Learn to make this classic drink recipe four different ways. These refreshing flavors will transport you to a white sandy Brazilian beach!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Aline Shaw

Ingredients

For the Lime Syrup

  • 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice from 8-10 limes
  • 2 cups of water

For the Passion Fruit Syrup

  • 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of passion fruit pulp
  • 1 cup of water

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and the water over medium high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Next, add in the chá mate and stir to combine. When the water begins to simmer — please don't actually let it boil because that could bring on bitterness from the tea leaves — turn off the heat and let it steep for at least 10 minutes.
  • Strain and cool.
  • Serve cold and over ice, if desired.

For the Lime Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
  • Let it cool, then add in the lime juice and the water.
  • Add that to taste to your prepared chá mate, and serve over ice with lime garnish, if desired.

For the Passion Fruit Syrup

  • In a saucepan, combine the sugar and the water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
  • Let it cool, then add in the passion fruit pulp and the water.
  • Add that to taste to your prepared chá mate, and serve over ice, if desired.

Saúde!!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1cup | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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