With chamomile, sage, lemon verbena and peppermint, this uncommon blend fits logically well in the somewhat modest but strong lineup of Cooperativa Liebig yerba mates. Not only Playadito Hierbas adds something new and unique to the table, it also continues the trend set by other Playadito-branded products — a great yerba mate for beginner materos, especially for those who want to dip their toes into the exciting world of compuestas.
Playadito Hierbas has a very sweet and aromatic nose. Yerba mate here smells pleasantly earthy and woodsy, as a proper aged Argentine should, and herbs add the extra layer of subtlety to the whole aroma. Chamomile is definitely the most noticeable and prominent herb in the nose of Playadito Hierbas, but I can also clearly smell zesty citrusy notes of lemon verbena and spicy peppery notes of both sage and peppermint.
I would describe the cut of Playadito Hierbas as rugged yet balanced. The composition of leaves, stems and powder is everything you would expect from a con palo yerba mate. The size of leaves and stems, however, varies greatly in size and shape, ranging from small pieces of leaf and stem splinters to a pretty big chunks and logs.
The color of this yerba mate adds to this uneven and jagged look as I can clearly see a lot of dark green and even toasted brown leaves alongside with a more pale and less burnt looking ones.
But when it comes to water temperature, Playadito Hierbas turned out to be a quite whimsy yerba mate. Don’t even try to prepare it with water that is hotter than 80°C / 175°F — you’ll get a mate that will not only taste too bitter to call it pleasant, but also will be extremely short. At 60°C - 75°C / 140°F - 165°F Playadito Hierbas gives off all of its flavor and becomes really delicious, although the colder you go, the shorter this mate becomes. If you want to get the most of what Playadito Hierbas has to offer go with 70°C - 75°C / 160°F - 165°F water.
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 .
I am always intrigued to taste various yerba mate compuestas, because I think that it is hard to pull of a harmoniously tasting blend. If yerba mate manufacturer decides to add a certain compuesta to their lineup, it means that they truly believe that this combination of yerba and herbs that they created adds something new to the table that traditional and classic varieties cannot offer.
Needless to say, as a big fan of Cooperativa Liebig yerba mates, I had my high hopes on Playadito Hierbas, and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint me at all. As the base for this blend you get the same sweet candy-like yerba mate that we all love Playadito Con Palo for, but the herbs add the complexity to its proven but somewhat simple taste.
As in its nose, chamomile is the dominant herb in the taste of Playadito Hierbas, and combined with yerba mate it adds some unique and unexpected notes of, believe it or not, coconut and milk chocolate.
The bitterness here is even more pronounced than in Playadito Despalada, due to the presence of sage and lemon verbena. The latter is not as prominent as in the nose of Playadito Hierbas — the taste of this mate is missing those zesty citrusy notes that I mentioned earlier.
Overall, Playadito Hierbas has a smooth medium-bodied mouthfeel and a great balance of bitter-sweet herbaceous notes with a few pleasant surprises up its sleeve.
The aftertaste of this mate continues the herbal theme of Playadito Hierbas; it is also pleasantly bitter, sweet and altogether delicious. Peppermint that left unnoticeable in the taste, came through in the finish of this mate, providing some cool freshness to the final chord of each sip. It was not over the top though, and generally made Playadito Hierbas feel like a very drinkable mate.
With the right temperature Playadito Hierbas is a solid moderate durability mate — during my time with this mate it very consistently yielded in 20 refills almost each time that I prepared it with 70°C - 75°C / 160°F - 165°F water. Playadito Hierbas is not as complex to offer any evolution throughout its duration, but lavado, as with most compuestas was herbal and slightly sweet even after all the yerba mate became 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.
If you’ll look up the effects of the herbs that are part of this blend, you’ll notice that chamomile, sage and lemon verbena all increase calmness, reduce stress, improve sleep and in general have a relaxing effect on the body. Knowing that and the fact that other con palo yerba mates from Cooperativa Liebig, such as Playadito Con Palo and Liebig Original had relaxing effect on me in the past, I was expecting a super serene and even sedative effect from Playadito Hierbas.
To my surprise, on the contrary, each time I started drinking this mate I felt a slight surge of energy, improved focus and concentration. It looks like Cooperativa Liebig created yerba mate that is so energizing that they wanted to balance it out with some relaxing herbs. And even though this energy was not enough to mess up my sleep as I comfortably sipped Playadito Hierbas during the evenings, this mate amazed me with the fact that it was still pretty neutral and not relaxing despite containing chamomile, sage and lemon verbena.
What are your thoughts on Playadito Hierbas? Comment below!