A fairly famous Argentine yerba mate, especially popular in Europe and Poland, Aguantadora Tradicional seems like it wanted to say more but for some reason preferred to stay silent. Aguantadora tried to play safe with this yerba mate, probably to make it more accessible to every kind of mate drinker. But with that comes an inevitable compromise — if you are afraid to take any risks you risk (pun intended) to become too forgettable.
Aguantadora Tradicional greets you with fragrant and pleasantly pungent aroma. The nose is very thick and sweet, promising and interestingly tasting mate ahead. Nothing too complex in the smell of Aguantadora Tradicional — just your typical Argentine yerba mate — earthy, sweet, and very pronounced.
Aguantadora Tradicional is a con palo yerba mate, so the cut is pretty balanced as you would expect from it. There is a pretty big variety in the size of the leaves, the majority of which are ground very coarsely. Stems are in abundance, but not to the point of overwhelming the cut of this yerba mate with their presence. Powder is quite aplenty in Aguantadora Tradicional, making it a bit dustier than your average Argentine con palo yerba mate, promising some body and substantial mouthfeel.
The variety in color of the leaves here is also pretty big, giving you a nice and beautiful array of green shades to look at, ranging from pale-ish to almost brown and toasted ones, implying that the standard method of drying by heat was used during the manufacturing process of this yerba mate.
As you would expect from con palo yerba mate, there are no issues preparing Aguantadora Tradicional. Even the higher than average powder content did not create any issues with more clog-prone bombillas, like slotted bombilla.
There is a certain sweet spot when it comes to picking a water temperature for this mate though, making it a bit tricky process. In my experience, the best temperature range for Aguantadora Tradicional is between 70°C and 75°C / 160°F and 165°F . Lower than that and it is just not enough to extract flavors from this yerba mate and makes it feel like it has already reached lavado. Going higher into the 80°C / 175°F and hotter territory makes this mate taste unpleasantly acidic and tart.
Most convenient way to get ideal water temperature is to use an electric kettle or a stovetop kettle with temperature control. If you prefer traditional kettle you can use a laser thermometer or a food thermometer .
Aguantadora Tradicional is a slow burner, starting to gain momentum after about 1/3 of a drinking session. First third is very light in body and flavors are really subtle and unpronounced, which was the opposite of what I expected after the much more bold nose of this yerba mate. Not sweet at all, a tad bitter and slightly oily, Aguantadora Tradicional somewhat reminds me of an olive oil in terms of taste and mouthfeel.
After the initial warm-up this mate gains a bit in body and flavor, but not to the point of becoming medium-bodied. Still oily and not sweet, Aguantadora Tradicional is easy to decipher. Despite a fragrant nose I still hardly taste any earthiness while just a little glance of something vegetative and almost organic comes up in the taste of this mate.
While drinking Aguantadora Tradicional I struggle to comprehend for whom this mate was designed. A simple flavor profile lacks friendly and sweet flavors to make it more approachable by the beginners, and that triviality will certainly be a turn-off for long-time yerba mate connoisseurs.
After a bleak and light taste it was surprising to find a long and bold finish in Aguantadora Tradicional. It may not necessarily be enough to provide more complexity of flavors but the lingering tartness in the aftertaste of this mate makes it a bit less boring and shows a glimpse of “bravery” and potential for other yerba mates by Aguantadora.
On average, Aguantadora Tradicional lasted around 18 refills, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what you would consider lavado — the flavors of this mate were already kind of washed out to begin with. Overall, it is a moderate mate in my book.
The last thing you want while drinking mate is to constantly re-heat your water or add more ice to it. No matter if it's hot mate or cold tereré, use a vacuum bottle or a very popular in South America mate thermos with sprout.
After drinking this mate for a few weeks at different times of day I haven’t noticed any particular effects. Despite having 220mg of caffeine per average 50g serving of yerba mate, it was not enough to wake me up from a groggy state after a sleepless night, nor was it relaxing and sedative enough during the evening drinking sessions, although it did not mess up my sleep. Sometimes you just want a safe neutral mate with no particular effects, and Aguantadora Tradicional fits that bill perfectly, making it a nice all-day mate.
Special thanks to Un Mate Europe for providing Aguantadora Tradicional for this review!
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