I would describe the aroma of this yerba mate as very vegetal with a little sourness. Floral notes and a very unique smell of dried berries — it almost doesn’t smell like yerba mate at all!
Cruz de Malta Tradicional is a traditional Argentine con palo yerba mate and the cut of it reflects that. The leaves are ground unevenly, so you can see huge coarsely cut chunks along with small pieces. The amount of stems is medium as well as their size. Good amount of powder rounds up interesting cut of this yerba mate.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any official information about the process of drying and aging Cruz de Malta Tradicional. That would be interesting to know, because it has a very pretty kaleidoscope of different shades of green — from dark and almost brown to light and bright.
What’s interesting about the preparation process of this mate is the temperature of the water. On the package manufacturer recommends to use 70°C - 80°C / 160°F - 175°F water, but I have to disagree with them. I found that even 70°C water ‘burns’ and destroys subtle flavors of Cruz de Malta Tradicional and trust me, you don’t want to miss those! In my experience 60°C - 65°C / 140°F - 150°F is ideal for this mate.
Most convenient way to get ideal water temperature is to use an electric kettle with temperature control like this one . If you prefer traditional kettle you can use laser thermometer or simpler food thermometer
Wow, the taste profile of Cruz de Malta Tradicional is very unique. Wild and bright, at the same time it is mild and calm. Bitter and tart but smooth at the same time.
As the nose of this yerba mate, the taste is also a bit sour and berry. It’s not light and fruity though, with some heavy earthy and even compost notes. Slightly sweet and very well-rounded, this is a medium-bodied mate with full body attributes.
Despite the fact that I’m absolutely in love with rich and saturated taste of Cruz de Malta Tradicional, I think my favorite thing about it is its aftertaste. In my opinion even the most deep and delicious mate can be ruined by shallow and bad finish, but luckily this is not the case with Cruz de Malta Tradicional.
Aftertaste of this mate is long and pronounced but what’s most interesting is that other new flavors start to unravel in the mouth. It’s woody and berry at first and becomes pleasantly tart after a while and ends up with strong and tasty flavor of raw fresh hazelnut. I haven’t tasted this flavor in any other mate, so drinking Cruz de Malta Tradicional creates a really unique and memorable experience.
On average Cruz de Malta Tradicional lasted for amazing 30 refills, which makes it one of the longest Argentine mates. I have to remind that Cruz de Malta Tradicional reached those heights when it was brewed with temperature of 60°C - 65°C (140°F - 150°F). When I tried to brew it with manufacturer’s recommended temperature it became lavado significantly quicker, after around 20 refills. It’s not that bad, but in my opinion 60°C - 65°C is better both in terms of flavor and duration of drinking.
The last thing you want while drinking mate is to constantly re-heat you water or add more ice to it. No matter if it's hot mate or cold tereré, use a vacuum bottle or a thermos
In my experience Cruz de Malta Tradicional is a good “all day every day” mate due to its long drinking duration, mild effects and interesting taste profile that never gets boring. It was nice to drink it at any time of day, be it the morning when I needed to wake myself up, or in the evening before going to bed. I drank it mainly throughout the day because usually I don’t have that much time (remember, 30 refills!) in the morning or in the evening.