To be honest, when I first had Canarias Serena I was so eager to taste it that I completely missed the fact that it is compuesta yerba mate. The sheer joy, surprise and “how did they do it” thoughts that I experienced after the first few sips are the true testament to this brilliantly unique and rare blend. A true masterpiece from Canarias and an exemplary proof of creativity and capability of mainstream brands.
The aroma of Canarias Serena is nothing short of fantastic. It smells both aged and fresh — one whiff is more deep and fragrant, the other is grassy and green, reminding me of any Brazilian erva mate or Meta Mate 23. That’s not a surprise given that Canarias Serena is a compuesta — passionflower, mint, lemon balm and linden flower extend this aged yerba mate with these summery, grassy and flowery notes. Of course, earthiness and woodsiness from yerba mate still plays the main role in the nose of Canarias Serena, becoming even more pronounced in contrast with other herbs.
No surprises here — being a Uruguayan yerba mate, Canarias Serena has a typical for this region P.U.1 cut that feels even more dusty than an average yerba mate from this area, probably due to the addition of dry pulverized herbs. The color of Canarias Serena is pretty pale, as it often is for an aged yerba mate, and overall very even with no signs of any burnt inclusions.
Properly preparing Canarias Serena without clogging bombilla may be a challenging task for a novice matero. Uruguayan yerba mates are not easy beasts to begin with, but the extra dustiness certainly requires at least some previous experience with yerba mate from this region and a good spoon bombilla. Meticulous molding of mountain of yerba is required after each refill — otherwise you will be stuck with a tightly clogged bombilla.
When it comes to temperature of water, Canarias Serena also proves to be quite demanding. Choose the water that is too cold, not hotter than 65°C / 150°F , and you’ll end up with mate that is not as complex and fun as it can be. Go with water that is hotter than 80°C / 175°F , and you’ll get a mate that is drinkable but nothing to write home about. In both of these cases durability will be significantly shorter than its potential. 70°C - 75°C / 160°F - 165°F is a sweet spot for Canarias Serena in my experience, yielding in a rich, balanced and long mate.
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 infrared thermometer or a food thermometer .
If you have managed to tame the beast that is Canarias Serena, then you’re in for a treat. This uncommon blend is either a stroke of genius, or a brilliant result of many trial and error attempts from blenders at Canarias. Passionflower adds grassiness and earthiness; linden flower adds floral and sweet notes; mint and lemon balm are not as obvious as in more common compuestas, but still provide some freshness and citrusy brightness.
And then the yerba mate itself. If you only had a classic Canarias Tradicional — this mate is nothing like that. I feel like the majority of yerba mate in the base of this blend is more likely to be the same as in Canarias Edición Especial, not the traditional one. Forget about those bold masculine leathery bitterness — Canarias Serena has much more in common with Del Cebador Clásica or Sara Tradicional. Milky, chocolate, bready, doughy and velvety-smooth full-bodied taste has zero harshness, zero bitterness and absolutely no acidity. Blended with aforementioned herbs, Canarias Serena is truly unique, special and absolutely incredible experience.
The aftertaste of Canarias Serena is quite subtle but still noticeable. The earthiness and woodsiness of yerba mate are gone, and only herbs are left in the finish of this mate. In that sense, Canarias Serena is a very drinkable mate that allows you to enjoy the syrupy mouthfeel while it still keeps up with the cadence of even the fastest drinkers.
If you follow my advice on the temperature, you can expect a very solid long mate — I’m talking about 30 refills on average! The flavors of Canarias Serena are distributed pretty evenly across the whole duration — this mate shows you everything that it has to offer right from the first refill. Lavado is quite similar to the finish of Canarias Serena as this mate slowly loses the bolder flavors of yerba mate closer to its end, resulting in a light and herbal warm drink that can be sipped for some time after it becomes completely washed.
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.
This yerba mate is called Canarias Serena not without a reason — it is intended to give you peace, serenity and relaxation. While I haven’t noticed any sedative effect from this mate, the calmness and contentment that came shortly after I started drinking Canarias Serena was undeniable. It is definitely not a morning pick-me-up energy bomb, but on the contrary — a perfect evening mate to help you unwind after a long stressful day.
What are your thoughts on Canarias Serena? Comment below!