La Selva Tradicional

Yerba Mate Review

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If you came for a classic Uruguayan experience, you won’t get it with La Selva Tradicional. What you’ll get is a distinctively unique yerba mate that will show you that Uruguayan yerbas do not always follow the same recipe. La Selva Tradicional carves its own path, proving that Uruguayan yerba mate can have a variety of cuts and flavor profiles and demonstrating the true depth of yerba mate from this region without compromising on its recognizability as a Uruguayan mate.


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First look


The aroma of La Selva Tradicional is mild, sweet and a bit woodsy. Behind the notes of sawdust and wood, I can smell a hint of fruity and berry notes that are not only sweet, but also tad sour. I’m getting raisins, dry plums and apricots. When I’m deeply inhaling the aroma of this yerba mate I can also smell something green, grassy and herbal in otherwise very fruity, aged and charmingly fragrant nose La Selva Tradicional. I really like the complexity and pleasantness of the aroma of this Uruguayan yerba mate that actually doesn’t really smell like a typical malty Uruguayan yerba, such as Canarias or Del Cebador.


Another area where La Selva Tradicional does not immediately present itself as Uruguayan yerba mate is its cut. Not only that it’s much coarser than the likes of Canarias Edición Especial or Sara Tradicional, it also contains a lot of seeds in addition to stems, leaves and powder. I am yet to figure out how yerba mate seeds impact flavor, durability and effect, but to me it definitely looks intentional and makes me suggest that La Selva Tradicional was harvested during its blossom.

The color of leaves in La Selva Tradicional is quite saturated for an aged yerba mate, and ranges from light olive green to a darker toasted brown, indicating a standard drying method by quick fire and hot air.

La Selva Tradicional


Due to its dusty yet coarse cut, La Selva Tradicional is reminiscent of Paraguayan yerba mate, which makes it easier to prepare than the majority of Uruguayan yerbas. Leaves are large enough not to clog most of the bombillas and powder is more than plentiful to make the mountain of yerba more pliable and easy to mold.

Temperature-wise, La Selva Tradicional does not like water that is too cold. Anything between 70°C and 85°C / 160°F and 185°F is great for this yerba mate, although it displays different characteristics depending on how hot you make your water. Lower than 70°C / 160°F , and La Selva Tradicional becomes too mellow and boring for my liking.

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 .


La Selva Tradicional finally shows her Uruguayan heritage when I take a sip of this mate. Not as doughy and syrupy as Del Cebador Clásica or Rei Verde Export, it still is as bold and as full-bodied as you would expect from a Uruguayan mate.

To my pleasant surprise, that fruitiness found in the nose of La Selva Tradicional translates really well into the taste of this mate. It is also slightly tart, again, akin to Paraguayan yerba mate; moderately bitter and sweet enough to balance it all out. Believe it or not, even a grassy and chlorophyllic note also comes through in the taste of this mate. Overall, La Selva Tradicional leaves a very honest impression — it does not mislead you, it tells you what it is from the first whiff, and you can expect to taste everything that you smell in the bag.

Important thing to point out is that La Selva Tradicional tastes slightly differently depending on the temperature of the water. At 70°C - 75°C / 160°F - 165°F the taste of this mate is more mild, soft and creamy, and is closer to Del Cebador Clásica or Sara Tradicional. Milky and chocolatey notes come forward at this temperature, making it more friendly to the majority of people and yerba mate novices.

At 80°C - 85°C / 175°F - 185°F La Selva Tradicional loses those flavors and some balance in favor of more bold and masculine notes, such as clay, leather and paper. At higher temperatures La Selva Tradicional becomes bitter and stronger, reminding me more of Canarias Tradicional.

The bottom line is that you need to consciously choose the temperature of the water for this mate according to your preferences in taste. But the cool thing about La Selva Tradicional is that it gives you that rare luxury of choice which makes it easy to recommend this yerba mate to any matero.


The aftertaste of La Selva Tradicional again pleasantly surprised me with complexity and presence of unexpected flavor notes. The grassiness is more prominent in the finish of this mate and blossoms into something more than just some chlorophyllic notes — I get bitter-sweet, medicinal, herbal and even camphor notes, usually found in compuesta yerba mate. It actually makes sense, given the background in herbalism that La Selva S.A. company has. A hint of cherry pit and chamomile rounds up this rich and beautiful finish of La Selva Tradicional.


Taste is not the only thing in this mate that is affected by the temperature of the water. As I went through the whole 1kg bag of La Selva Tradicional and experimented with different water temperatures, I found that the hotter you go, the more refills you can expect from this mate. Water that is around 80°C - 85°C / 175°F - 185°F will yield in a long mate — 25 to 30 refills, sometimes even beyond that. Colder water gives a shorter, though still impressive durability — 20 to 25 refills on average.

As an honest mate, La Selva Tradicional shows everything that it has to offer right from the first refill, thus displaying no evolution in its taste. But I think that it suits this mate, as this straightforward honesty gives a great first impression and lets it build a deep connection with you as soon as you take that first sip. After around 20th refill La Selva Tradicional starts to gradually wash out, which is also quite pleasant, grassy and herbal even after it becomes completely lavado.

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.


Both mornings and evenings spent with La Selva Tradicional were pretty neutral in terms of its effect. There is not much to expect in that regard, apart from the inherent health benefits of mate — don’t count on La Selva Tradicional to wake you up on a groggy morning nor don’t expect it to sedate you during anxious evenings. Try to think about it in a positive way — you won’t get unwanted jitters from this mate, and it is safe to enjoy it no matter the time of day.


What are your thoughts on La Selva Tradicional? Comment below!

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La Selva Tradicional

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