A less well-known brother of the Uruguayan classic, Del Cebador Sabor Intenso is more like an identical twin to Del Cebador Clásica. Apart from the nose, there is nothing intense or significantly different to it, which can be both good and bad news. Personally, I was expecting something equally great but still different and distinctive so this similarity disappointed me. But don’t let it distract you from the fact that it is still an amazingly good yerba mate that is highly recommended, especially if you are new to Del Cebador brand in general.
Compared to Del Cebador Clásica, this yerba mate definitely smells more bold, smoky and tobaccoey. There is some bitterness as well as saltiness in the aroma of Del Cebador Sabor Intenso. Some sweetness can be also noticed, but it is not candy-like and more akin to a rich dry fruit fermented umami sweetness with a really strong presence of prunes or even dry plums, the salted ones, like saladitos or li hing mui.
Del Cebador Sabor Intenso has a slightly non-typical Uruguayan cut. It still conforms to a P.U.1 standard, it is still very powdery, but the cut of the leaves in this yerba mate is pretty coarse compared to other Uruguayan yerbas.
The color, unlike Del Cebador Clásica, is more vibrant, but still kind of pastel olive green, indicating to me that it has been aged for quite a while until most of the chlorophyll has dissipated or fermented. There are still some darker and even toasted brown inclusions popping up here and there in the cut of Del Cebador Sabor Intenso, which does not come as a surprise considering the obvious smokiness found in its nose.
Being a Uruguayan yerba mate, Del Cebador Sabor Intenso imposes certain requirements to its preparation. Dusty and powdery cut requires a proper spoon bombilla that not only is less likely to get clogged, but also is a must-have tool for molding the mountain of yerba. However, the coarser cut of the leaves in Del Cebador Sabor Intenso makes it not that hard to prepare to call for the big guns, like Brazilian bomba.
When it comes to temperature, Del Cebador Sabor Intenso proves to be a forgiving yerba mate — it opened up equally fine at any temperature from the typical range for mate ( 60°C - 80°C / 140°F - 175°F ). To me though it felt a tiny bit better at a hotter side of the spectrum — 80°C / 175°F water makes Del Cebador Sabor Intenso just a tad more potent and flavorful in my opinion.
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 laser thermometer or a food thermometer .
To my surprise, it was really hard for me to find any differences in taste between this mate and Del Cebador Clásica. Smoky and salty nose promised a similar experience that I anticipated and looked forward to. In my head, Del Cebador Sabor Intenso was bound to be like a fresh ocean breeze in the world of malty and doughy Uruguayan yerba mates.
Out of context, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the taste of Del Cebador Sabor Intenso. Everything that I wrote in my review of Del Cebador Clásica can be used to describe the taste of this mate as well. Smooth, creamy, bready — Del Cebador Sabor Intenso is anything but intense. Notes of oolong tea, hot chocolate and latte coffee create a delicious dessert experience that begs to be complemented by some sweet pastry, but makes me wonder why did all those smoky and briney notes disappear.
With zero bitterness or astringency, Del Cebador Sabor Intenso is probably a little less sweet and a touch more vegetal than its brother. Delicious full-bodied rich flavor is everything that we all like about Uruguayan mate, it’s just a little sad to me that it is so similar to Del Cebador Clásica and brings virtually nothing new to the table.
A very mild, but not tasteless finish makes Del Cebador Sabor Intenso very drinkable yet giving you an option to ponder and contemplate the flavors of this mate. Again, there are almost no differences between both Del Cebadores — a pleasant green tea-like aftertaste leaves a slightly bitter and grassy feeling in the back of the tongue that doesn’t last too long after the sip.
When it comes to the duration of drinking, Del Cebador Sabor Intenso maintains the high standard set by the classic version and boasts an impressive 30 refills, which is a very solid long duration. This mate proved to be exceptionally consistent, almost always landing exactly on that 30 refill mark without any significant deviation. Lavado was gradual and even surprised me with an unexpected nuttiness that was definitely not present in the taste before it 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.
Much like its brother, I haven’t felt any noticeable effects from drinking Del Cebador Sabor Intenso, apart from a general improvement of my well-being that is a given for any kind of mate. It was fine and completely neutral no matter if it was morning or evening, making Del Cebador Sabor Intenso a nice and safe all-day mate.
What are your thoughts on Del Cebador Sabor Intenso? Comment below!