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What is yerba mate green and what are the differences between the traditional variety?

2023-02-27
What is yerba mate green and what are the differences between the traditional variety?

Green yerba mate has reigned supreme on the European mate market for some time now. Yerba mate green - what is it? What are its characteristics and what made it so successful? How does it differ from the traditional variety? We answer these questions and many more in today's article.

Summary:

  1. How is yerba mate made traditionally?
  2. How do Brazilians drink yerba mate?
  3. Yerba mate green - Brazilian production method
  4. Yerba mate green - properties. Green, aromatic, rich in caffeine and other valuable compounds
  5. Juicy green yerba mate - for whom?
  6. Verde Mate Green - the bestseller among green varieties of yerba mate

How is yerba mate made traditionally?

The differences between green and classic yerba mate varieties have to do primarily with the way the raw material is dried. As you probably know, it is traditionally based on briefly placing Ilex paraguariensis over a special hearth. As a result, yerba mate loses moisture and soaks up with the dry notes. Although the whole process lasts only a few seconds, it has a considerable impact on the taste and aroma. In addition, traditionally produced mate is often smoked, which also has a significant impact on the taste and aromatic qualities of the dried product. After drying, leaves and twigs of Ilex paraguariesnsis undergo a seasoning process. Some yerba mate is seasoned for up to two years! During this time, they develop intensity in flavour and aroma. An infusion based on traditionally processed leaves is characterised by its bitterness and smoky accents. This is how the vast majority of yerba mate from Paraguay and Argentina is made.

Yerba mate green

How do Brazilians drink yerba mate?

Brazil is famous for its love of yerba mate. The country, right next to Argentina, is the largest producer of yerba mate in the world. In 2019, the country produced almost 520,000 tonnes of dried product. Brazilians are particularly fond of drinking chimarrão - yerba mate ground into a fine, juicy green flour. The preparation of Brazil's most popular “chima” requires a little more effort than making a classic yerba mate infusion - you need to use a lot more dried product and arrange it properly in a vessel. You also need slightly different tools to drink this variety of mate. Chimarrão is drunk in a special calabash with thick walls and a characteristic wide collar. This type of vessel is called “cuia”. Due to the very fine texture of chimarrão, a special bombilla, called “bomba”, with a finer filter must also be used to drink it. Also popular in Brazil is yerba mate that is made specifically for drinking in a cold version - tereré. This is a medium-cut leaf, with a fair amount of twigs and a small amount of dust. The “Uruguayan” type of yerba mate, TIPO PU1, is also produced in Brazil and goes entirely to Uruguay - in this country, due to its poor economic and business background, practically no Paraguayan holly is grown and no yerba mate is produced. The dried “Uruguayan” yerba mate consists of fairly finely ground leaves and a large amount of dust, with no twigs. The plant is dried over a hearth and is usually smoked, although due to the short aging time, the smoky accents are not as noticeable in Uruguayan yerba mate as in Paraguayan variety.

Yerba mate green - Brazilian production method

With the needs of the foreign market in mind, the Brazilians developed a special method of processing Ilex paraguariensis, combining their love of juicy green and freshness with the classics and traditions of yerba mate. This is how the green variety of yerba mate was created. Instead of the traditional hearth and smoky roaster, hot air is used for drying. By drying the holly in this way, the fermentation process is stopped. Almost immediately after drying, the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis are packaged - the aging process is omitted. As a result, yerba mate retains its luscious green colour and the vegetal, herbal flavour and aroma that many people associate with freshly cut grass - much like chimarrão. Mate green, however, is not ground into a fine powder, so it can be brewed in the same way as classic mate, in any container, and drunk through virtually any type of bombilla - the coarsely cut leaves will not clog the filter.

Yerba mate green - properties. Green, aromatic, rich in caffeine and other valuable compounds

Processed with hot air instead of fire and smoke, the raw material retains all the most valuable qualities of the species. Green yerba mate is rich in chlorophyll, vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5 and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Like the classic variety, green yerba mate contains antioxidants. The properties also remain the same. Those who fear that yerba mate green is weaker - we reassure you. It has identical effects to the classic mate. After all, it is made from exactly the same plant, only the way it is processed differs. Green mate, just like the fire-dried and smoke-dried variety, stimulates, improves concentration, strengthens the immune system, supports the metabolic process, lowers cholesterol levels and slows cellular ageing. The leaves of non-smoked, heat-dried yerba mate retain their juicy green, vibrant colour. The green variety can be distinguished from traditionally prepared mate with the naked eye. The taste and aroma of the brew is also different - yerba mate green is very mild. The characteristic bitterness known from traditional varieties from Paraguay or Argentina gives way to fresh and vegetal notes with a slightly dry character. In addition, these qualities make the green mate blend perfectly with natural additives.

Juicy green yerba mate - for whom?

As we have already mentioned, the green variety of yerba mate is characterised by its mild character - it has a delicate, vegetal taste and a pleasant, fresh aroma. It is almost completely devoid of bitterness and, because of the way it is produced, it lacks the smoky accents that discourage many inexperienced mate drinkers. Many people compare it to green tea. It is therefore an excellent option for beginner mate drinkers. It allows a gentle familiarisation with the taste of “Paraguayan tea” and an entry into the magical world of yerba mate. Because it blends well with additives, it is also recommended for those who like interesting, rich compositions. It contains no dust or sticks, so it is sure to appeal to those who prefer a dried mate consisting of practically just leaves.

Verde Mate Green

Verde Mate Green - the bestseller among green varieties of yerba mate

Brazilian Verde Mate Green is the bestselling yerba mate among green varieties. The range of this most popular and recognised yerba mate brand includes more than 40 variations, mainly with the addition of herbs and fruits. The most popular blend is Verde Mate Energía Guaraná - a dose of energy in a mild version, with the addition of stimulating guarana. For lovers of fruity flavours, we recommend Verde Mate Frutos Tropicales - with the addition of exotic fruits. For those who need extra stimulation - not only energy to work, but also a boost to the grey cells - we recommend the Verde Mate Más IQ blend, with added ginseng and ginkgo biloba. Functional blends, with a specially selected composition of aromatic herbs that support the body's function, such as Verde Mate Silueta or Verde Mate Detox, are also worth a look. An interesting proposition in the Brazilian brand's offer are "tostada" variants - roasted yerba mate. Green yerba mate additionally undergoes a roasting process in a specially designed oven, as a result of which its juicy green colour turns into a chocolate brown colour and its taste and aroma are reminiscent of cereal coffee. Here, we particularly recommend the variants Verde Mate Coffee, with the addition of ground coffee, and Verde Mate Carmella - enriched with large pieces of coconut chips and natural caramel aroma. We recommend drinking roasted yerba mate with milk instead of water! Whichever version you choose, we guarantee that you are getting a top quality product in a full-size 500g pack.


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: yerba mate.
  2. Statistics: oec.world, statista.com.
  3. C.I. Heck, E.G. De Mejia, Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications, and Technological Considerations, Journal of Food Science, 2007.

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