four gringos eating and drinking guaraná in rio de janeiro. headline: "o guaraná brasileiro"

What’s up, everybody? Do you have any idea what guaraná is? Today, we are going to learn its history, varieties and uses. Do you know what a guaraná berry looks like, or that its extract can be used as an energy drink, as a type of Brazilian soda and as a supplement? Or that there is a non-carbonated version of guaraná called guaraná natural? Let’s check it all out today!

What is Guaraná?

mature guarana berry ready for picking, which looks like human eyes
Geoff Gallice at Wikicommons

Guaraná comes from the Tupi term wara’ná, which means tree that grows supported by another. It is a typical fruit of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Guyana, and Venezuela, but it is harvested in Brazil more than in other countries.


Guaraná is most often consumed in Brazil as a beverage. But that’s not all we can make using the fruit. Indigenous groups have been using it for a long time as medicine and an energy-booster. It is one of the richest plants in caffeine, which makes up around 3-6% of the fruit. Therefore, guaraná is often used in supplements and energy drinks. But it’s also used as an appetite stimulant and drug against pain, diarrhea, depression, sexual disfunctions, headaches, stress, and a lot more.

In Brazil, it’s easy to run into people selling its powder, berry or even seeds. You can use these to make juices or tea!

Guaraná Tea Recipe

If you are wondering if you can make your own Guaraná tea at home, you can! Follow our simple recipe below for the most delicious guaraná tea you will ever have!

  • Anti-Fatigue Tea: Dilute 4 teaspoons of guaraná in 500 mL of boiling water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Drink 2 to 3 cups per day.

Legend of Guaraná

You may still be wondering: what is the story behind Guaraná? The origin of this fruit is recounted in an indigenous Brazilian legend!

A couple in the Maués tribe lived together for years without having any kids but wished that they could have at least one. One time, the couple asked the king of gods, Tupã, to give them a child so that they could find fulfillment in their lives and be happy. Tupã answered their request because he knew they were good people, and he gave them a boy. The years went by, and the boy grew to be handsome and kind. However, the god of darkness, Jurupari, envied the peace and happiness the boy would pass onto others, and decided to kill him as he picked fruits in the forest.

The sad news of the boy’s death quickly got to the parents. At the same time, the sounds of thunder echoed across the skies and lightning struck the village. The thunder and lightning were a message from the god Tupã, telling the mother to plant the boy’s eyes in the dirt. That way, a new plant would grow and spread all the boy’s kindness through its delicious fruits. At the place where the parents planted the boy’s eyes, guaraná grew. It was a plant with black seeds that looked like human eyes.

Guaraná Drink from Brazil

table with food and guaraná. headline: "eles beberam guaraná no almoço."

Beverages using guaraná are usually divided into three groups: energy drinks, sodas, and syrup drinks, or natural. Let’s learn the difference between these three:

Energy Drink: Because of its high concentrations of caffeine, you can often find energy drinks that include guaraná into their composition here in Brazil. Guaraná is a stimulant, so many people find it to increase mental and muscular efforts and reduces motor and psychic fatigue.

Guaraná Natural: Made from extract and seeds, first it is turned into a syrup which is sweet and rich. It can be sold in two forms: into bottles as a syrup to be diluted in water at your own home (which allows you to choose the concentration you want for your guaraná), and directly diluted. Some people find this type of beverage more natural, as the name says, but beware: it also contains more sugar!

Brazilian Soda: guaraná is often known internationally as the Brazilian soda; made from the fruit itself and mixed with carbonated water, this is a drink that is as famous as other famous brand sodas such as Coke and Pepsi!

As you can see in our pictures, everyone who comes to Brazil to study Portuguese ends up loving guaraná beverages! Why don’t you consider coming here to study with us as well and try it out? I am sure you will drink it in every RioLIVE! you go to!

Famous Guaraná Brands

If you ever feel like having a guaraná beverage when coming to Brazil, just ask for any of these and you will most likely love it!

That’s it, everyone! Now you know the bittersweet legend of guaraná, and all the energy and positive effects this Brazilian soda has! Are you more interested into trying guaraná as a soda or natural? Subscribe at A Dica do Dia for more Portuguese material or follow us on Instagram to see more of our school!

See you all then!
Bye, bye!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Drinks in Portuguese
Tomar in Portuguese

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