According to FAO in 2012, Brazil is the biggest producer of mate in the world with 513,256 MT (58%), followed by Argentina with 290,000 MT (32%) and Paraguay with 85,490 MT (10%).

Despite that fact, mate or chimarrão in Portugese, is not really a national drink in Brazil - only three southern states Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná consume this beverage in large quantities. Brazil also is the main producer of Uruguayan yerba mate, because the small area of latter is dedicated to cattle and farming.

Brazilian yerba mate, or erva mate as they call it, is very distinctive in almost every aspect. First of all Brazilians prefer not to age their it at all - usually erva mate is quickly dried and packaged to preserve the fresh grassy taste and bright green color. The other distinctive feature is the extremely fine cut of erva mate - combined with neon green color it really resembles the matcha green tea. Different cut and aging means different approach to drinking chimarrão - it is done with cuia and bomba. Bomba is a regular bombilla straw, but with much finer filtering system to prevent clogging and noticeably longer. Why longer? To fit in cuia - a calabash gourd with wide opening, usually much larger in size and volume than typical Argentine gourds. The thing is that aging of yerba mate usually results in more rich, long, and multidimensional flavor profile, so fresh mate that has not been aged usually is more mellow and simple, requiring a larger quantities of product to be used in a single ceremony to get a full-flavored beverage.

Barão De Cotegipe
Barão De Cotegipe Tradicional

Barão De Cotegipe Tradicional

This erva mate can literally be a breath of fresh air for materos that are starting to feel bored by more common Argentine, Paraguayan and Uruguayan mates. It would be interesting enough for both regular chimarrão drinkers and materos who mainly drink other regional cuts of mate and want to freshen up their palate with something more exotic and different. Barão Tradicional is a wonderful example of what world of Brazilian mate has to offer, and another proof of how diverse is this beautiful beverage.


Laranjeiras
Laranjeiras Tradicional

Laranjeiras Tradicional

Fresh, green and simple - it’s not a chimarrão for every day, but if you are drinking mostly Argentine or Paraguayan mate Laranjeiras Tradicional can be somewhat fun, just for a change of pace. But that over-the-top simplicity, and unpredictable difficult cut can easily lead to frustrating experiences, so it’s hard for me to recommend this erva mate. If this is the only available erva mate for you - go for it, otherwise - there are more interesting and enjoyable Brazilian brands on the market.