At first, it may seem that Rosamonte Despalada is a plain and boring yerba mate, and partially it is true — it won’t necessarily blow your mind. It is exactly what you would’ve expected from a sin palo yerba mate, including an uncomplicated pleasant bitter taste, and most importantly a potent energizing effect. Materos who prefer more balanced cuts may safely pass this yerba mate — you won’t miss anything unique or special — but despalada fans and former coffee junkies will find here a very well-executed sin palo yerba mate that can become their perfect no-nonsense everyday morning drink.
The aroma of Rosamonte Despalada is quite unusual for an Argentine yerba mate. Despite the trademark Rosamonte barbacuá drying method, I can barely smell any smoke in the nose of this yerba mate. Rosamonte Despalada has a quite oily smell, akin to an extra virgin olive oil with its bitter savory notes. Earthy and plummy notes remind me that it is a yerba mate and play nicely with oily notes, even if they are slightly subdued. Overall, I would say that Rosamonte Despalada is somewhere in between Rosamonte Tradicional and Rosamonte Seleccion Especial when it comes to the aroma.
As it is clear from its name, Rosamonte Despalada is a sin palo yerba mate. Although it is not completely stemless, this yerba mate conforms to the Argentine despalada standards, which allows no more than 10% of the overall cut to consist of stems. Similar to other Rosamonte products, this yerba mate also has a pretty coarse grind of leaves, which is becoming a signature Rosamonte thing. When it comes to powder content, Rosamonte Despalada is closer to the traditional rather than special selection version — it is quite powdery, although not nearly as dusty as Uruguayan yerba mates.
Aged for an impressive 12 to 18 months, this yerba mate unexpectedly retains a lot of color — majority of leaves have a deep and saturated olive green color, with rare and inevitable inclusions of darker and toasted brown leaves.
In my experience, sin palo yerba mates tend to be a little tricky when it comes to preparation due to the unbalanced cut. Luckily, this is not the case with Rosamonte Despalada. It has enough powder to aid in building and maintaining the mountain of yerba, but not so much that it starts to clog your bombilla. Spoon bombilla, although preferred, is not required — I was able to enjoy Rosamonte Despalada with my slotted bombilla and even spring bombilla.
Temperature-wise, this mate requires some precision if you want to get the best and balanced taste and longest possible duration of drinking out of it. I found that Rosamonte Despalada works best with water that is about 70°C to 75°C / 160°F to 165°F . Too cold, and this mate becomes too weak and short; too hot, and it turns overly bitter to be considered pleasant and balanced.
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 .
Normally, I am not a huge fan of sin palo yerbas, but taking a first sip of Rosamonte Despalada, I was really surprised with how balanced it tasted. If I took a blind guess, I could’ve mistaken it for a con palo yerba mate — considerable bitterness here is balanced really well with its sweetness. I get notes of olive oil, tobacco and black tea; there is also something herbal and woodsy in the taste of Rosamonte Despalada that I cannot quite put my finger on. As with its nose, it is quite hard for me to detect any significant smoky flavors in the taste of this mate.
Behind that strong but pleasant bitterness hides a relatively simple mate — Rosamonte Tradicional and Rosamonte Seleccion Especial are definitely a little more complex. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop Rosamonte Despalada from being a very pleasant and delicious everyday mate that nails the bitter-sweet essentials and has some solid medium body to back it up.
Bold and satisfying bitterness of Rosamonte Despalada fades away surprisingly quickly in the aftertaste of this mate, which makes it very drinkable and will be especially appreciated by the fans of mates amargos such and myself — usually, you’ll need some time between sips to cleanse your palate for another bitter mouthful, but with Rosamonte Despalada you can enjoy the strong bitter taste of sin palo mate at the fastest drinking cadence.
On average, Rosamonte Despalada lasted from 20 to 25 refills, just a little shy of becoming a long mate, but more than enough to put it into the moderate durability category. Due to the simplicity of its flavors, it was foolish to expect any kind of evolution from this mate, but it I liked the fact that I got a completely full taste right from the first refill without having to wait for it to “warm up”, for the lack of a better term. Reaching to the end of its lifespan, Rosamonte Despalada gently washed out and lavado was light, herbal and quite delicious on its own.
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.
Sin palo yerba mates have a loyal following because of their reputation as energizing and potent infusions. Many former coffee drinkers found a perfect compromise in sin palo yerbas, such as Playadito Despalada or Taragüi Sin Palo. And while there are exceptions to that rule, Rosamonte Despalada also proves to be an energizing yerba mate — you can expect a powerful yet gradual energy influx in addition to all the health benefits. In that sense, Rosamonte Despalada is a great morning mate, so much that I suggest you to not even try to drink it in the evening, as you may experience serious troubles with your sleep later in the night.
What are your thoughts on Rosamonte Despalada? Comment below!