Soft mate sounds like boring mate, but don’t be fooled by the label of Piporé Suave. This yerba mate is actually quite the opposite of being boring — a whiff of freshly opened bag and a first sip would prove you that. What Piporé Suave is, is a unique Argentine yerba mate that does not smell nor taste like any other Argentine yerba, and provides such a rare relaxing effect, which all combined shows you how diverse and one-and-only yerba mate can be.
The aroma of Piporé Suave is very unusual for an Argentine yerba mate. It smells very green and grassy, closer to a fresh Brazilian erva mate, rather that an aged Argentine yerba. The nose of Piporé Suave is strong and very summery — besides the fresh-cut grass I get sweet and zesty citrusy notes, raw and moist wood, non-roasted peanuts and raw green hazelnuts. The aroma of this yerba mate very much reminds me of Meta Mate 23, and makes me really excited to see how these vegetative and chlorophyllic notes are going to transfer to its taste.
With such a fresh and grassy nose, I was expecting to see a very saturated and green cut of Piporé Suave. While it is certainly greener than an average Argentine yerba mate, the cut still looked pretty standard for Argentina — definitely aged, still quite pale, with a lot of olive green tones and lots of inclusions of darker toasted leaves.
Piporé Suave has a con palo cut, which is the most popular cut of yerba mate in Argentina, so no surprises here as well. The balance of the cut is really great — leaves range from small to medium, stems are also there but do not overwhelm with their size, and powder is present in a way that does not make Piporé Suave dusty, but adds fluffiness, airiness and stickiness to the cut.
I could not find any distinct info about aging or drying of Piporé Suave, so judging by its cut I assume that it has not been different to any other Piporé yerbas. What I noticed, however, is the huge amount of seeds in the cut of this yerba mate, which makes me think that such a distinct and erva-like aroma has something to do with the time of year when yerba for Piporé Suave was harvested.
When it comes to the temperature, this yerba mate in my experience is better suited for water that is on the colder side — 60°C - 65°C / 140°F - 150°F will get you the best balance of flavors and durability. I find that with 70°C - 75°C / 160°F - 165°F water Piporé Suave is still relatively good taste-wise, but the durability suffers by a noticeable margin. And with 80°C - 85°C / 175°F - 185°F water this mate is still drinkable but less balanced and even more short.
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 .
With the fresh grassy nose and aged pale cut, I was really intrigued by how Piporé Suave would actually taste. First few sips are confusing — green, raw, sweet notes are interspersed with bitter, woodsy and dry fruity. One sip you think it tastes like any other Argentine con palo yerba, the other sip is totally different and takes you far away from Argentina all the way back to Brazil.
After about 5 refills Piporé Suave finally settles down, and those notes start to play together in harmony. As a matter of fact, this mate taste neither like a traditional Argentine con palo yerba, nor like any Brazilian, Uruguayan nor Paraguayan.
I get notes of grass, bitter chlorophyll, olive oil, raw peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds; slightly burnt whole grain cookies, milk and chocolate. This distinctive flavor combination with syrupy and smooth yet light-bodied mouthfeel creates a really unique tasting mate, making Piporé Suave a great example of how diverse and unrepeated this drink can be.
The milky chocolatey notes take all the attention in the aftertaste of Piporé Suave. The significant bitterness found in the taste of this mate completely disappears in its finish, but overall, the aftertaste of Piporé Suave is so bleak and short that there is nothing really to tell you about. Together with smooth light body though it makes Piporé Suave a very drinkable mate that can be sipped at fastest cadence.
If prepared with correct temperature for this yerba mate, Piporé Suave can yield from 23 to 25 refills, which almost makes it a long mate but still falls into a moderate durability category. This mate also has a noticeable evolution, starting with an aforementioned first 5 confusing refills that shift into a more predictable but not less interesting taste profile in the middle of a drinking session, followed by a gradual washing out and a light, grassy and slightly bitter 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.
Suave yerba mate means that it is meant to be soft both in terms of flavor and its effects. And soft it is — Piporé Suave is one of those rare relaxing mates that you not just can, but would want to drink exclusively in the evening for its sedative and calming properties. I have a theory that it has something to do with the correlation between the time of year when yerba mate is harvested (which can be known by the amount of seeds found in the cut of the yerba mate), and the caffeine content in its leaves. Other yerbas that are full of seeds, like La Merced Barbacuá and La Selva Tradicional, however, have completely different effects which contradicts my theory.
Anyhow, Piporé Suave still provides the mental clarity and tons of health benefits, like any yerba mate should, but relying on it as a coffee substitution after a sleepless night would be a mistake on your part. Afternoon is also a good time to enjoy Piporé Suave, but simply due to the scarcity of relaxing yerbas, my personal choice was to reserve this mate for my evenings, when I can benefit from its ability to improve my reading comprehension, but also safely go to sleep shortly after.
What are your thoughts on Piporé Suave? Comment below!