Review: Mate Factor

30 01 2012

Yerba Mate, this is one of the things I really miss from home. In Argentina mate has a prominent place, it is a companion during long sleepless study nights, a ritual of friendship and good will and it is just plain awesome. Yerba mate is a bush whose leaves are used to prepare a beverage similar to tea, but with a very unique flavor. It contains a chemical similar to caffeine, called mateine, and though it has been argued that mateine does not exist and that mate contains caffeine, other studies show that the caffeine content is low and that there are different xantines in mate. Those from the south of South America, especially Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and south of Brazil, are very well acquainted with all the wonderful health benefits and energy loads that you can get from mate!

Selecting the right cup for each occasion is of importance for mate lovers!

Joshua, from Mate Factor sent me some samples to try and give my opinion. I got the original Fresh Mate, Dark roast and Chai. I took advantage of Christmas day since my friend Eduardo (also from Argentina) and my dad were here, because mate is meant to be shared. Edu was in charge of preparing the mate.

Eduardo opening the pack. Oh, the anticipation!

Upon opening the vacuum packed leaves we noticed that the leaves were very finely ground, and there were no sticks and very little powder (that is good, for mate connoisseurs), the very finely ground leaves can be a mild annoyance if you are planning to take the mate the traditional way, in a gourd and with a straw, because the leaves can go through the holes of the mate straw, however, it is irrelevant if you are planning to prepare it in any of the other many ways suggested by Mate Factor (I really liked that the package suggests how to prepare it in so many different ways!).

Unique vacuum sealed packaging.

Please, appreciate the grinding of these leaves! No sticks and low powder!

You can also see that once the water is added the mate still looks low in powder and has no sticks

This mate is not processed the traditional way, it is different than other brands because it is not aged and non smoke cured, preserving the antioxidants and keeping a flavor that I find more herbal. The aroma is sweet and mild, and the flavor is accessible, sweet and very mild. It would be the perfect mate for those that are interested in this beverage but are not quite fond of the traditional bitter flavor. The after taste is sweet and pleasant, and the leaves last many rounds of water not loosing their flavor (this is for those using a mate gourd).

Out of courtesy, the person preparing the mate takes the first one. This ensures that the "worse" mate is not given to any friend.

Dad appreciating the mate falvor.

We all agreed that it would be an ideal introductory mate for an American public, given that traditional mate is really an acquired taste and most American people frown their noses after trying it the way we like it back home. It might be like wine, you’ll start with a sweet, mildly fragrant leaf and end up with a strong and bitter one đŸ™‚ Another crowd that will find this mate agreeable is the white tea people, especially with the flavored varieties. The Mate Chai reminded me strongly of white tea, the spices were very nicely balanced and flavorful! Finally, the Dark roast had a bolder flavor and more body than the fresh loose leaves, it is suggested for people that want the coffee boost but not the crash. Whatever the reason, mate is a great treat, give it a try and let me know that you loved it!

Also in tea bags, the preparation is just like for tea, except you must not boil the water.




3 responses

30 01 2012

I’m here reading your very nice article with a mate pot by my side!! unfortunately, no friends around!

30 08 2014

This type of yerba is very desired in western brazil for tererĂ©! We love the fresh green non aged mate in brazil. for chimarrĂ£o (our hot mate) this very green mate is ground into a powder, but for tererĂ© the leaves are left big!

31 08 2014

Oi, Marcelo! In Argentina we also drink terere, some people like to add pops to it too.

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