Club-Mate completely exceeded all my expectations - this will surely be my soft drink of choice from now on. Today, the market is saturated with overly-sweetened sodas with boring chemical taste, so it is very refreshing to see something not as sweet, with natural and interesting flavor, like Club-Mate. I’m still surprised how well they managed to transfer yerba mate flavors and effects to a soft drink. If you like traditional mate or if you like soft-drinks but tired of similar and unhealthy mainstream sodas, then give Club-Mate a shot - I think you will certainly like it as much as I did.
Club-Mate is a soft drink made from yerba mate extract with high amounts of caffeine, produced by the Loscher Brewery (Brauerei Loscher) near Münchsteinach, Germany since 1924. Today it is very popular soda drink not only in Germany, but all around the world, being found in more than 40 countries, according to their website.
This particular bottle is the classic Club-Mate, that is famous for its unique taste and energizing effects. Other versions, like cola and pomegranate are available, but, of course, as a fan of yerba mate I was mostly interested in original unadulterated version of Club-Mate.
If you ever brewed mate in a glass gourd, you know that the brew has green and brown color, so it is interesting to see a gold and yellow colored beverage. Club-Mate contains lemon acid and caramel color is being used as an additive, which may explain golden hue of the drink.
When I opened a bottle of Club-Mate I immediately got the familiar smell of a dry yerba mate. What can I say - I was pleasantly surprised to have a soft drink that smells like a freshly opened bag of yerba. I also pick up some smokiness and citrusy sourness from the lemon acid.
Weird! As a long-term drinker of a traditional mate and tereré, and having had hundreds of different soft drinks in my life (which I’m not proud of), I would say that I am very impressed! Club-Mate is sweetened very slightly (5g of sugar per 100ml), which I like because you don’t feel guilty for ruining your health by drinking an insane amount of sugar. Majority of the flavor comes from yerba mate, and my guess that Paraguayan product has been used as a base for this drink - smokiness is more typical to the yerba made in Paraguay. A bit of lemon acid is also proved to be a nice touch - it is not overpowering and adds another dimension to the mouthfeel of this soda.
If I would’ve never tried traditional mate before, I would guess that Club-Mate is made from dried fruits, like apples, plums and apricots with addition of some herbs, which in fact are the inherent flavors to traditional classical mate.
I definitely noticed a surge of energy after drinking Club-Mate, and it is the same effects that you would expect from traditional mate - gradual, mind-clearing mindfulness without any jitters and crashing afterwards.