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Sitting somewhere between Del Cebador Clásica and Canarias Tradicional in terms of taste, Sara tradicional is an interesting yerba mate that definitely has its own place in a Uruguayan lineup. And while the hardcore fans of fine and dusty yerbas may find this particular one a bit too safe and smooth, at the end of the day it is hard to be disappointed by Sara Tradicional, as it offers something that other yerba mate brands from Uruguay cannot provide.
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Opening up a bag of Sara Tradicional I am immediately greeted with aromatic and strong, but not overly pungent satisfying aroma. It is very fragrant and sweet, woodsy, doughy and malty, as majority of Uruguayan yerba mates. The individual notes are sharp and pronounced in the nose of Sara Tradicional, but at the same time are really soft and overall very pleasant.
As a traditional yerba mate from Uruguay, it has a familiar P.U.1 cut, which means that it consists of at least 90% dried pulverized leaves and no more than 10% dried finely cut stems. It certainly looks and behaves as a P.U.1 cut with a decent powder content and almost no visible stem particles. The grinding of leaves is a bit uneven but still is pretty fine, creating a nice fluffy feel to the cut of this yerba mate.
What really interests me in the cut of Sara Tradicional is its color. As pretty much every Uruguayan yerba mate on the market, it was sourced in Brazil, and despite being aged it seemed to retain more of that bright vibrant and deep olive green hue, indicating its potency and freshness. Compared to other popular Uruguayan yerba mates, like Canarias Tradicional and Del Cebador Clásica, the cut of Sara Tradicional definitely looks more saturated and dark. I was not able to find any information on aging of this yerba mate, but my guess is that is was not aged for too long — probably no more than a few months.
When it comes to preparation of Uruguayan yerba mate, it always helps to use proper tools.
Unsheathe your finest bombillas!
You’ll need a nice
spoon bombilla with a good filtration system or even a
bomba to enjoy this mate without struggles.
As usual, don’t forget to thoroughly shake your gourd upside down, so the finer particles will end up on top, while coarser ones will aid the filtration on the bottom of your vessel.
Let this yerba bloom in the room temperature water a bit longer than usual, make sure that it is fully absorbed as it makes yerba more malleable and predictable during first few refills.
Mold the mountain of yerba fairly regularly to create a nice separation for water.
Temperature-wise, I found that Sara Tradicional tastes the best in relatively colder water, between
60°Cand65°C/140°Fand150°F. Hotter water makes this mate less complex and less balanced, and hides some of those delicate flavors that can be picked up in the colder water.
First sips of Sara Tradicional make me instantly recognize a Uruguayan in this mate without any doubt. It has that signature thickness, syrupiness and maltiness to it that is a nice palate cleanser for irregular Uruguayan mate drinker.
The other thing that captures my attention is the freshness of Sara Tradicional. As I suspected while looking at the cut of this yerba mate, its freshness cannot be left unnoticed. Despite being obviously aged, it still maintains that chlorophyllic “green” taste, usually found in Brazilian erva mate, like Barão De Cotegipe Tradicional or Laranjeiras Tradicional.
Medium to full-bodied, this mate sits somewhere between Canarias Tradicional and Del Cebador Clásica in terms of taste. Not as complex and bold as Canarias, not as sweet and dessert as Del Cebador, but more green and fresh than both of them, Sara Tradicional creates a unique and memorable experience within the framework of Uruguayan heritage and traditions. Milky and smooth, with zero bitterness and smokiness, it almost tastes like green tea, while still keeping its inherent earthiness, slight plumminess and almost viscid mouthfeel.
The freshness of Sara Tradicional continues in the finish of this mate, rendering it pretty mellow and short in duration. Quickly fading aftertaste makes me want to take another sip of Sara Tradicional, leaving and impression of a light and very drinkable mate, despite the fullness of its body. That dissonance plays really well for this mate, as it doesn’t exhaust the tastebuds as much as other Uruguayan yerbas.
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Bleak aftertaste made me worried about the durability of Sara Tradicional, but needless to say I was very impressed with this mate — it constantly took more than 30 refills to wash out Sara Tradicional. This is a long durability mate that doesn’t offer a lot of variety between the first and last refill, but manages to keep a very steady and consistent taste throughout the whole duration. Sara Tradicional became lavado gradually and it was slightly sweet and pretty pleasant to drink even in the washed state.
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,
or a very popular in South America
Nothing much to say here — Sara Tradicional has never managed to produce any noticeable effects for me. Since you are drinking mate you can expect a slight bump in clarity and awareness, but it is pretty standard and not over the top. This can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on what you want from mate. Personally, I really enjoy such “safe” mate like Sara Tradicional during the day, when I don’t need neither morning pick-me-up nor calming and unwinding effects that other mates are able to offer.
What are your thoughts on Sara Tradicional? Comment below!
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Pronounced [YER-bah MAH-teh] (or [SHER-bah MAH-teh] in Rioplatense Spanish). Also known as Ilex paraguariensis, a holly plant natively grown in South America, particularly in Northern Argentina, Paraguay and Southern Brazil (the term erva mate is used there more often). Yerba mate is used to make a beverage known as mate in Spanish, or chimarrão in Portugese. Oftenly, the term yerba mate is used to describe not only a plant, but also a final product of grinding, drying and aging the plant. Wikipedia article
Short for Padrón Uruguayo 1, or Uruguayan Standard 1 — one of three common standards of yerba mate cut in Uruguay. Yerba mate that is marked as P.U.1 consists of not less than 90% of pulverized dried leaves, and not more than 10% of finely ground dried stems. P.U.1 is the finest cut out of three. Most popular type of cut in Uruguay.
Pronounced [MAH-teh]. Traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink, very popular in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Brazil (the term chimarrão is used there more often). It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in the gourd. Sometimes the gourd itself is referred to as mate. Wikipedia article
When mate is prepared traditionally, a mountain of yerba is yerba that is located inside the gourd in form of slope, that is exposed to hot water while drinking. Proper mountain of yerba will be always half-dry and half-wet, which results in more balanced and long mate. On the opposite side of mountain is the water hole.
Pronounced [ER-vah MAH-tshee]. Yerba mate in Portugese. In general, term erva mate is used to describe a Brazilian type of yerba mate, which has a distinctive fine cut and almost no aging, which contributes to its very bright fresh green color. Erva mate is used to prepare chimarrão — Brazilian version of mate drink.
Characteristic, used to define the tactile feel of mate in the mouth, similar to other gourmet products, like wine or coffee. It includes the mouthfeel of the drink, its thickness and weight. Cut of yerba mate, drying methods and aging all contribute to the body of mate. Usually, body can be described as light, medium and full — the more thick and dense mate feels in the mouth, the more full body it has.
Spanish adjective which means washed. Used as a term to point out that all the flavors “washed away” from mate and it becomes tasteless. The more refills yerba mate can take before becoming lavado, the longer durability it has.