Fresh, green and simple — it’s not a chimarrão for every day, but if you are drinking mostly Argentine or Paraguayan mate Laranjeiras Tradicional can be somewhat fun, just for a change of pace. But that over-the-top simplicity, and unpredictable difficult cut can easily lead to frustrating experiences, so it’s hard for me to recommend this erva mate. If this is the only available erva mate for you — go for it, otherwise — there are more interesting and enjoyable Brazilian brands on the market.
I like the nose of Laranjeiras Tradicional a lot — it is very green and fresh, as you would expect from Brazilian erva mate. Fresh-cut grass, chlorophyll and peas — Laranjeiras Tradicional has a very similar, almost identical nose to other erva mate I reviewed — Barão De Cotegipe Tradicional. Slightly sweet and compost smells are also present in the nose of this erva mate.
Laranjeiras Tradicional has very typical Brazilian cut — leaves are ground very finely, almost to a consistency of a flour. Stems are also chopped in Brazilian style — very big, thick and long. Laranjeiras claims that there are at least 70% of leaves and no more than 30% of stems in the cut of this erva mate, and visually it pretty much seems to be the truth.
The most difficult part of drinking any chimarrão is to correctly prepare it, and Laranjeiras Tradicional is no exclusion. Proper cuia and bomba are a must before trying this chimarrão. Unfortunately, Laranjeiras Tradicional presented more challenges that I was expecting from Brazilian erva mate during its preparation. While having no problems with Barão De Cotegipe Tradicional, this erva mate was very unpredictable — one bad move and you have a swampy gooey mixture of erva and water, that is completely undrinkable. Sometimes it was fine, though, but I wasn’t able to get consistently well-prepared chimarrão from Laranjeiras Tradicional.
On the package manufacturer suggests to use a water that is not hotter than 70°C / 160°F , and I will agree with them. I haven’t noticed any difference with a hotter water, while colder water doesn’t seem to be enough to extract mellow grassy flavors of Laranjeiras Tradicional.
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 .
As I mentioned earlier, this chimarrão has very mellow and light taste that partially translates from from the nose of this erva mate. As a non-aged Brazilian erva mate it is silly to expect rich and complex flavors, but Laranjeiras Tradicional is really an extremely simple on the palate even for chimarrão. It is light-bodied and tastes literally like a hot slightly sweet grass.
The aftertaste of Laranjeiras Tradicional disappointed me, because it doesn’t have all that freshness that you would expect from Brazilian chimarrão. Instead, the compost notes that I picked up in the nose of Laranjeiras Tradicional dominate the finish, making it quite unpleasant.
It should come as no surprise that I never managed to get a decent durability out of Laranjeiras Tradicional — on average already weak flavors of this chimarrão disappear anywhere between 10 to 15 refills. It is still not completely clear to me what does the duration of drinking depend on, because, for instance relatively more complex Liebig Original, that has been aged for 18 months also has a short durability. I guess this mystery and variety of experiences that a single plant of yerba mate can offer is why we love this magical herb.
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 spout.
Energizing effects of Laranjeiras Tradicional are very noticeable, but they are not as smooth as effects of some of the Argentine or Uruguayan yerba mates. Laranjeiras Tradicional is closer to a coffee — and once again this solidifies reputation of chimarrão as more energizing drink than aged mate, that delivers its kick more quickly. I would not recommend to drink Laranjeiras Tradicional in the evening — this chimarrão is suited better for quick morning or early afternoon sessions.
What are your thoughts on Laranjeiras Tradicional? Comment below!