A unique and recognizable, Kraus Traditional is not afraid to go its own way. Organic and non-smoked, this yerba mate has a character that sets it apart from the majority of other Argentine brands. Complex enough for seasoned materos, with smooth and pleasant taste that will appeal to beginners - Kraus Traditional simply gives you no reasons not to like it.
Kraus Traditional has a relatively fresh nose for Argentine yerba mate. It smells like a rainforest - very vegetal with a strong note of decomposing leaves. But don’t think of this compost smell as something nasty - if you ever walked in a thick wet forest and enjoyed its smell, you will find the nose of Kraus Traditional to be very pleasant and full of nice aroma.
Kraus Traditional has a typical Argentine con palo cut - balanced between leaves, stems and powder. However it is noticeable that this balance is shifted towards leaves - there are not much stems in the cut of Kraus Traditional and they are generally more thin and short than average. Powder is also a bit underrepresented, making this yerba mate somewhat close to some despaladas, like Piporé Sin Palo.
Kraus Traditional has a nice swamp green hue to it, with almost no burnt leaves - Kraus is using their special air drying system without combustion and smoking, making it not only more safe to consume, but also developing the unique flavor profile that we’ll talk about later in details. Also, this yerba mate is organic, hence the name, if that is something you are concerned about.
With Kraus Traditional I usually like to use a bit colder water than usual - around 60 to 65°C (140 to 150°F). Hotter water, like 70-75°C (160-170°F) is also fine, but I noticed that more raw and subtle flavors that make this mate interesting are more pronounced in the water that is a bit on a colder side than usual.
Generally, when using colder water you want to steep mate a bit in a gourd, and Kraus Traditonal is no exception - 10 to 15 seconds should be enough.
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.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, Kraus Traditional boasts some interesting flavors that you don’t want to miss - non-roasted hazelnut, raw sunflower seeds and fresh compost make this mate similar to Cruz De Malta, while still maintaining its own character and uniqueness.
Kraus Traditional also reminds me of a classical green tea, more than any other mate before - all thanks to very appropriate and balanced bitterness and astringency.
The mouthfeel of Kraus Traditional has some thickness to it, making it a nice medium-bodied mate. It is also, for the lack of a better term, a savory mate - it is hard for me to explain exactly why, but it is really delicious to sip Kraus Traditional.
There is not much I can say about the finish of this mate - it is very short and light. Kraus Traditional doesn’t “sit” in your mouth for too long, almost as if it wants you to take another sip of it immediately after the previous one. “Don’t be distracted by anything else, just drink me!” - if Kraus Traditional could talk, I bet it would say something like this.
After I drank through the whole bag of Kraus Traditional I haven’t managed to put my finger of what kind of mate it is in terms of duration. Sometimes it was a short mate, sometimes the taste lasted for a very long time. It’s hard to define in which category falls Kraus Traditional, but it usually was more of a long mate than short, averaging at 20-25 refills, which is a solid medium duration. Don’t get discouraged if your first couple of Kraus Traditional sessions ended too quickly - this mate may pleasantly surprise you later.
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.
Even though Kraus Traditional noticeably energized me, I enjoyed drinking it in the evening too without any negative consequences. In my opinion it is a great everyday-everytime mate that did a good job at both bringing my mind to a more focused state and keeping me calm and relaxed.