Another sweet yum by Cooperativa Liebig — this time more subtle, delicate and fragile, like the first flower in the beginning of the spring. Complex, light, sweet and floral flavors will reward patient and skillful cebadores and definitely will be approved by novice drinkers who haven’t yet developed a palate for more bold and earthy mates.
Liebig Original, much like its cousin — Playadito Con Palo — has very sweet and pleasant smell. It’s really tempting and inevitable to draw parallels between Liebig Original and Playadito, since they are made by the same manufacturer, but there is a reason why these yerbas produced under different branding.
Liebig Original smells very floral, there are absolutely no harsh notes in the nose of this yerba mate. You won’t find any tobacco, hay or wood, just a dozen of different sweet aromas — flowers, fruits, honey, cereal, jam, pastry — I can continue this long list, but you get the idea.
There is not much to say about the cut of Liebig original — it is an average con palo yerba mate. The average cut of leaves, the average amount and size of stems, and the average amount of powder — overall it is a balanced cut, but nothing really to write home about.
Liebig Original is a very delicate yerba mate that requires a very low (for hot mate) temperature to really shine. I experimented a lot with different temperatures for this mate and came to conclusion that the best water to prepare Liebig is somewhere in range between 55°C and 60°C / 130°F and 140°F . Such low temperature will not burn off the intricate flavors of this mate, but on the flip side you’ll need to steep it a bit inside a gourd for probably around 15-20 seconds. The reason is simple — lower temperature water needs more time to extract flavors from the yerba. I recommend you to use this information as a starting point and experiment yourself to try and find the balance between water temperature and steeping time that would yield in the mate that you enjoy the most.
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 don’t use a very hot water with this mate, then you’re in for a treat — all those sweet floral and fruity tones that are present in the nose of Liebig Original transfer brilliantly to the taste of this mate. Also, to my surprise, it gaines some body in the process — at first I thought that Liebig Original was going to be a very light-bodied mate, but the more I was refilling it with water, the more it shifted towards the medium body.
The flavors of Liebig Original also change from mellow, almost akin to white tea, to more bold, pronounced, a bit tart and reminiscent of a green tea. It’s still a very naturally sweet taste that in many ways is similar to Playadito Con Palo, but not as consistent, in a good way. Aged for 18 months, this mate surprises with wider variety of flavors and that volatility, for the lack of a better term, creates a very interesting taste profile for Liebig Original.
The aftertaste of this mate is surprisingly different to its taste and creates a much needed balance to the overall mouthfeel. The sip of Liebig Original ends up with a bitter and hoppy finish, and combined with sweet floral and fruity flavors, it creates an experience that remids me of a crisp IPA, believe it or not.
Unfortunately the magic of Liebig Original doesn’t last for long — I never managed to get more than 15 refills from this mate, which falls into a short durability category. On the upside, these are delicious 15 refills, that could be convenient for quick and delightful session when you don’t have time to sip mate for hours.
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.
What are your thoughts on Liebig Original? Comment below!