This mate essentially is an interesting twist on Taragüi Sin Palo — same cut, same drying and aging methods, with only difference in a harvesting time, which supposed to make Taragüi Vitality even more energizing than its twin brother. The idea behind this blend stays the same, this time even more clear and obvious — complexity of taste is sacrificed for a stronger effect. But is it different enough to justify its own name and package?
When I open the bag of Taragüi Vitality I am greeted by familiar smell that I learned to like and appreciate — after exploring a diverse world of yerba mate and trying dozens of different brands and blends, opening new bag of Taragüi is like returning back home. Aroma is strong and bold. Tobaccoey sweetness is very prominent and makes nose of Taragüi Vitality very pleasant and distinctive.
The looks of the cut of Taragüi Vitality instantly reminds me of Taragüi Sin Palo, to the point that it almost looks identical to it — same despalada cut with medium-grind leaves, no stems and absolutely no powder. Color is very uniform and has a pleasant olive green shade. Due to the absence of powder Taragüi Vitality feels very loose, again, similar to Taragüi Sin Palo.
Such conformity between these two yerba mates made me very curious, so I reached out to Taragüi on their Facebook page, in order to find out what are the differences between Taragüi Vitality and Taragüi Sin Palo, or is it the same yerba mate but just under different branding. Taragüi were very quick to respond and told me that Taragüi Vitality has the same formula as Taragüi Sin Palo, meaning that drying and aging of these two yerba mates are identical, as well as the composition of the cut, but the raw material for Taragüi Vitality is harvested exclusively during summer, which ensures a higher natural concentration of caffeine of at least 30% more in Taragüi Vitality, compared to regular Taragüi Sin Palo.
The spoon bombilla is a must when it comes to that kind of cut. Other types of bombillas will get easily clogged and you’ll need a flat surface of it to constantly mold the mountain of yerba — as I pointed out earlier, the lack of powder in Taragüi Vitality significantly lowers the grip of this yerba mate, and without continuous scraping and tamping it is really easy to create a swampy mess and ruin your experience.
During my review of Taragüi Sip Palo I found that temperature of the water is pretty much irrelevant, and Taragüi Vitality is the same in that regard. It seems that this mate was created to be more accessible for beginners that may not have proper equipment to prepare mate traditionally, and who may use overly hot water while preparing it in a french press or even a coffee machine. If preparing Taragüi Vitality traditionally, it is safer to use a standard 70°C / 160°F water and not worry about burning yourself.
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.
It is hard to expect a rich array of flavors when manufacturer tries to make yerba mate more forgiving to temperatures and preparation methods — Taragüi Vitality lacks some depth in the taste department and it is obvious from the first sip. Earthy notes of tobacco and wood play dominant role, along with some sourness and a very faint coffee note, but without any other flavors they just feels flat and unfinished. Taste of Taragüi Vitality is strikingly different from its nose and not in a good way - some sweetness and fruitiness in my opinion would balance the earthiness of this mate and would make it more interesting. Same as Taragüi Sin Palo, this mate is bitter and strong, yet light-bodied and watery — Taragüi Vitality is easy on the mouth, despite being somewhat astringent and heavy at first.
There is not much I can write about the finish of Taragüi Vitality — it is pretty simple and not pronounced, yet a bit bitter with dominating tobacco note. Aftertaste doesn’t last long and pretty much replicates uninteresting taste of this mate.
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.
Taragüi Sin Palo impressed me with its strong energizing effect, so I was expecting at least the same from Taragüi Vitality, knowing that it contains 30% more caffeine. I was not disappointed — Taragüi Vitality reminded me how invigorating this drink can be. Long lasting and well-distributed energy made me noticeably more productive and focused without the crash afterwards. I cannot say if I felt exactly 30% more energized, as Taragüi claims, but it definitely is one of, if not the most energy-boosting yerba mate on the market.