Producer: Guayakí Sustainable Rainforest Products, Inc.
Grown: Organic USDA
Type: Unsmoked > Secondary Air Dried
Region: San Mateo, Brazil
Body: Light / Medium
Cut: Classical Argentine
Cycle: Short / Medium
Water Temp: 175ºF / 70ºC
One of the first brands I purchased upon returning to New York after 3 years in Argentina, Guayakí, along with Eco Teas, has helped introduce me to the North American mate market, which, coincidentally, is mostly comprised of those two companies — at least when it comes to local brands in the States (excluding importers and distributors of multiple South American brands).
At the moment of this writing, in 2017, there remains less than 10 notable yerba mate companies locally established in the States, just to give you an idea of how young mate still is around these parts.
Guayakí mostly produces bottled and canned yerba mate drinks. Their secondary products are of loose-leaf mate: Traditional and San Mateo, the latter which we’ll discuss today.
On a social mission to provide 1000 living wage jobs in South America along with conserving 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic Rainforest, Guayakí’s mission is awesome and necessary, especially in a time when the forest is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Any purchase will go towards serving a noble campaign. For that, I appreciate this company.
Sourced in in Brazil, you’ll experience a soft and calm yerba, with rich chalky mineral notes. It’s well balanced, bready, doughy, and quite easy on the palate. No doubt, a stable and smooth, low-octane mate that is well suited for someone that can’t deal with the eponymous mate bitterness many of us have come to love and appreciate — if you’re seeking a burst of green, snappy, high-energy mate, this won’t be your brand.
Understandably, this mate was designed for the burgeoning North American mate palate, but it’s quite limited in depth and complexity, leaning heavily on the creamy, muted characters of many Brazilian mates.
On the nose, there’s pleasant cookie dough, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls, translating to subtle fruity flavors within the body, best appreciated with water in the range of 150–170ºF / 73ºC. If you want to boost the energy and flavors for a richer experience, try water in the 180ºF / 82ºC range.
For lovers of lighter and softer mates such as Amanda Traditional and La Hoja, along with creamy malt found in Sara Extra Suave, Canarias, and Del Cebador, this brand fits into that category nicely. For my taste, it lacks a “distinguishing pop!” factor; for others, that may be precisely what you need in your life — smooth stability.