An ode to Guaraná

Some things become symbolic of a time that seems so far away – the scent of coffee beans that reminds you of your favorite café, the music that reminds you of Friday nights in a colorful Italian village or the smiling face of that friend you met on an adventure.

I have never been a big soda drinker, but I have rarely craved something more than a can of Guaraná on a humid night in Rio de Janeiro, the cold of the can mixing with the heat of the night to create beads of condensation dripping down my palm. An indescribable flavor – coming from the guarana fruit native to the Amazon basin, it is not like anything you’ve ever had before. And it is not like anything you will ever have again.

During my time in Brazil I drank Guaraná at as many meals as I could. My roommate and I bought liters of it to keep in our room, playing tetris with the mini fridge. Water, coffee, or Guanará – there was nothing else down there for me. Okay, the occasional caipirinha as well, but you get my point.

Guaraná for every meal! I knew that when I went back to the United States, it would be virtually nonexistent, so I made sure to drink my fill.

I still think about it. The refreshing flavor with a tinge of sweetness. I miss you, Guaraná, almost as much as I miss my time in Brazil. But you’ve become a symbol of my time wandering the streets of Catete, of Rio de Janeiro, of Brazil. I am wistful for the day I will once again sit on the shores of Ipanema and bring you back into my life. Saudade, my Guaraná, my Rio.