Piporé Hierbas Serranas expands an already impressive lineup of Piporé yerba mates with an herbal blend, which is mild and pleasant, though it feels a bit too safe and boring. If you have tried compuestas from other Argentine brands, you’ll unlikely to find anything new here, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Tea enthusiasts, for instance, sometimes drink simple herbal teas instead of aged and rich pu-erhs; when I am not in the mood for something complex and contemplative — this is the type of yerba mate that I will be most likely reaching for.
You can definitely tell that this is a compuesta just by smelling this yerba mate. Herbal and medicinally-sweet aroma of Piporé Hierbas Serranas creates a very welcoming first impression and reminds me of popular herbal teas that often include mint and lemon verbena. Speaking of mint — despite being a very mint-forward blend, this compuesta smells really balanced and does not hide the spiciness of peppermint and rosemary-like notes of pennyroyal behind the inherently bold and cool aroma of mint. Combined with earthy and woodsy notes of yerba mate itself and zesty bitterness of lemon verbena, Piporé Hierbas Serranas introduces itself as a very delicious and exciting yerba mate.
When talking about compuesta, it is always interesting to see how the manufacturer decided to blend herbs with its yerba mate. In that regard, Piporé Hierbas Serranas is no different to most of the mass-produced compuestas on the market, such as Cruz de Malta Boldo y Menta or Sinceridad Naranja — mint, pennyroyal, peppermint and lemon verbena were added to this yerba mate in a dry and pulverized form.
Due to the addition of those herbs, the cut of Piporé Hierbas Serrana is a bit dustier than an average Argentine yerba mate, and is on par with other compuestas, such as Cruz de Malta Hierbas Serranas, which shares with it both its name and its compound. Though still dusty, the cut of Piporé Hierbas Serranas is a bit more “Argentine” than Paraguayan-like compuestas from Cruz de Malta, with a more saturated color and medium-sized cut of leaves and stems.
Despite the dusty cut of this yerba mate, I find Piporé Hierbas Serranas to be very easy to prepare. This compuesta hits that sweet spot, where extra powder is not too overwhelming to clog your bombilla, but is enough to make the mountain of yerba more pliable and easy to maintain.
When it comes to temperature of water, Piporé Hierbas Serranas proves to be a very forgiving yerba mate, and tastes absolutely fine no matter if the water is 60°C / 140°F or 85°C / 185°F . Personally, I like it more on the colder side, at about 60°C - 65°C / 140°F - 150°F , because it seems to have a little bit more balanced taste and longer durability, compared to higher temperatures.
As with all compuestas, I tried Piporé Hierbas Serranas in the tereré form, but unfortunately it was so weak and tasteless with ice-cold water that it’s hard for me to recommend it for a cold-brewed mate.
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 .
Just like with its nose, Piporé Hierbas Serranas has a friendly and welcoming taste. It is mild and light-bodied, slightly bitter-sweet and — surprise — very herbal. While sipping Piporé Hierbas Serranas, I often found myself thinking that it doesn’t taste like yerba mate at all — to those who had any herbal teas in the past, this mate will certainly seem very familiar.
Earthy and woodsy notes of yerba mate disappeared completely, while minty, spicy, herbal and medicinal notes took the foreground of Piporé Hierbas Serranas. Lemon verbena is also missing in the taste of this mate, and made it even more identical to Cruz de Malta Hierbas Serranas in terms of its flavor.
So where does that leave us? Some people call yerba mate an “herbal tea” (which it isn’t), and I think Piporé Hierbas Serranas is the closest to that kind of definition. It tastes more like an herbal tea than a mate, though I can’t deny that these herbal flavors of Piporé Hierbas Serranas are quite balanced and it definitely makes a pleasant beverage.
The aftertaste of Piporé Hierbas Serranas is also very mild and almost nonexistent. There is not much flavor in the finish of this mate, and I am mostly left with some slightly bitter and herbal lingering notes after each sip, which makes Piporé Hierbas Serranas a very drinkable, even if somewhat uninteresting mate that can be finished quite fast if you have a high drinking cadence or if you feel thirsty.
That naturally brings us to the durability of this mate. As I mentioned earlier, if you use 60°C - 65°C / 140°F - 150°F water for Piporé Hierbas Serranas, this mate will last you longer, about 20 refills to be specific, which makes it a moderate durability mate. The difference between colder and hotter water is pretty significant — I wasn’t able to get more than 15 refills from Piporé Hierbas Serranas at higher temperatures.
Since this mate has a pretty mild taste already from the first refill, the shift to lavado was not sudden or in any way rough. At those times when I still had some hot water left in my thermos, I found that Piporé Hierbas Serranas was pretty enjoyable for at least a few refills after 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.
I like it when mate has such effect as Piporé Hierbas Serranas. In the morning it was reasonably energizing and invigorating, giving me a clear and focused state of mind, while in the evening it was neutral enough to not give me any troubles falling asleep. Overall, I would still consider it to be more energizing than neutral, especially keeping in mind that I probably have a stronger than average caffeine tolerance and more sensitive people might not want to risk drinking Piporé Hierbas Serranas in the second half of the day.
What are your thoughts on Piporé Hierbas Serranas? Comment below!