Anna, oh Anna, where have you been all my life? It’s been over five years since we last embraced. Back then, you leavened my spirit and colored my heart, now we meet again. Glorious! Great to see you once more, my dear.
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Pillow soft, buttery smooth, fruit forward, Anna is a shining star in the ever expanding constellation of yerba mate brands. Grown in a protected nature reserve in Misiones, Northern Argentina, Anna resides in a garden of smooth, bright, floral yerbas such as Kraus Orgánica Traditional, Liebig, Playadito, and… to tell you the truth, there aren’t many others within this miniature ambit of superlight and fruity mates.
The producers are cognizant of time as an ingredient. The leaves and stems come from a two year growth period then the mate is allowed to naturally aged and develop nuanced flavor profiles for up 12 months, totaling a three year maturing period from plant to product. These years are crucial, allowing the mate to coax forth subtleties that only come in time. Such patience goes hand-in-hand with producing artisinal quality yerba.
I consider these under-the-radar gems the wines of the mate world. Just like a complex Pinot Noir or peachy-apricot Riseling can take you on a deep and mysteriously circuitous journey of soil, fruits, textures, and many bodies in between, so Anna flows.
Yerba mate is truly a gourmet experience if you haven’t realized that yet. It’s all too easy just to consider it “another tea.” But after some moments of reflection with any brand of mate, particularly a gourmet brand, you’ll see the light.
Sappy and velvety mouthfeel flirt with classical Argentine herby flavors, encased in a cedar woodiness – hints of Rioja-like rich oak play with viscous milk chocolate, soft cherry tart and sweet earthy hay. Claro, Anna obviously draws from her surrounding elements, harmonizing with the land, expressing a rustic and elegant aura. The flavors gently whisper, never shout.
Generous stems augment the natural sweetness and maintain buoyancy, allowing crispy floral notes to shine; too heavy on the powder or scant stems would’ve turned Anna from graceful to outright bold, like a robust Mission Organic.
There’s time and place for muscular and bold Argentine mate, but Anna’s soft nature works well for her. Don’t expect a long and lingering cycle. Sipping Anna is like savoring a finger of your favorite single malt. I recommend drinking from a small glass or steel gourd to protect the flavor integrity. Also enjoy a light brew with a French press or tea pot at temperatures not exceeding 170ºF.
Now find your cozy sanctum sanctorum, relax, breathe, sigh, open your heart and sip her slowly.
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