Unsmoked Yerba Mate

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Yerba maté Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Teafreak
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185 °F / 85 °C

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  • “One herbal tea that I rarely see reviewed on steepster is yerba mate. Perhaps the taste of yerba is so radically different from actual tea that most people just don’t drink much of it. Anyway,...” Read full tasting note

From Aviva

The yerba mate industry is moving towards production methods which result in less smoke exposure to the plant, thereby creating an even healthier end product. While nobody purposely “smokes” yerba mate like one would smoke a piece of meat, the traditional process for deactivating enzymes and drying the leaf sometimes results in secondary exposure to fire and smoke. While some folks enjoy a hint of smokiness, others have indicated to us they’d prefer to not have that aroma present in their brew. As a result, we’re excited to be able to offer the latter group this unique, smoke-free product!

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1 Tasting Note

62 tasting notes

One herbal tea that I rarely see reviewed on steepster is yerba mate. Perhaps the taste of yerba is so radically different from actual tea that most people just don’t drink much of it.

Anyway, before I started drinking tea, I drank a lot of yerba. I was introduced to the fantastic beverage by an Argentinian counselor at a spanish camp I attended in Bemidji, Minnesota. The counselors and the campers would often drink a round of yerba (as is customary in many Latin American countries) during the day to enjoy each others company and feel the soothing and uniting effects of the yerba.

I tried all types of different brands of yerba during this time, canarias, cruz de malta, rosamonte, amanda, la hoja, taragui, la merced, guayaki, etc. In particular, I enjoyed cruz de malta and rosamonte.

I also found a site called aviva. Whereas most yerba is grown on farms, aviva’s main yerba mate product is harvested from the forest where it grows in the shade. This gives it a much smoother taste without as much of an aftertaste that most people do not enjoy when they first try yerba.

Recently Aviva also began selling this product that I am reviewing today, an unsmoked yerba mate. In the traditional preparation of yerba mate it is typically exposed to some smoke and fire while deactivating the enzymes. In this one though they avoid that exposure giving this yerba a much less smoky taste and also a smaller after taste. It still has a very grassy taste like all yerba, but the flavor is more consistent and smooth.

I typically steep my yerba in a traditional gourd because I think it has the best taste. In a gourd I can typically resteep my yerba 15-20 times before it loses most of the flavor.

185 °F / 85 °C

Wow. This inspires me to drink yerba mate more often. I’ve been told that it’s very much an acquired taste. I don’t dislike it, but it’s definitely not something I’m used to. I may have to eventually get myself a bombilla + gourd.


@takgoti Because you can never have too many tea-preparation/serving items?


@Carolyn Exactly! And also because this is the second time I’ve heard someone say that the gourds make it taste better. First recommendation came from a friend who just spent two years in Spain.


@takgotiGlad to hear that you’re willing to give yerba another shot! Yerba mate is definitely an acquired taste, so I don’t want you to buy this unsmoked kind or the shade grown kind and think I deceived you… it still is not something that everyone would enjoy. However, if prepared correctly (and I really think a gourd is the only way to go in this regards) it brings quite a bit to the table and you can created a nice brew that is smooth, rich, and complex.

If you’re looking for a way to ease into yerba, I’d suggesting trying some of aviva’s flavored blends in either loose leaf or teabag form: http://www.yerba-mate.com/store_blends.htm, http://www.yerba-mate.com/store_teabags.htm

You can also place dried fruit peels (such as lemon or orange) in with your yerba which will take some of the edge off until you get used to the underlying taste. Some people will even steep their yerba cold with things like lemonade or sprite.


In addition, the gourd makes it taste better because similar to a yixing teapot, it retains the flavor of the yerba over time.

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