Selecta Premium

Yerba Mate Review

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8 minutes to read

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After having such a positive experience with Selecta Tradicional, I expected nothing less from Selecta Premium. I am happy to say that it not only matched, but exceeded my expectations in pretty much every area. Heavy smokiness may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or should I say mate cocido), but if you enjoy barbacuá yerbas, you will absolutely love Selecta Premium, maybe even more than its traditional sister. Still great with both hot and cold water, still exhibiting some Argentine qualities despite being Paraguayan yerba mate, Selecta Premium is an absolute must-try even if you’re not a tereré drinker but consider yourself a mate aficionado.


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First look


The first thing that comes to mind when I smell Selecta Premium is barbecue sauce. The aroma of this yerba mate is sweet and very smoky, creating this delicious combo that smells different to Selecta Tradicional. It is also very tobaccoey, which combined with BBQ sauce-like qualities reminds me of a dark fired Kentucky tobacco. I also get a lot of cigar tobacco, which is woodsy, cedary and spicy. There is also that yerba mate earthiness, leather, hay and sawdust in the nose of Selecta Premium. Overall, it is not a complete 180° from Selecta Tradicional, in terms of its aroma, but more of a build up on top of the foundation set by its traditional sister yerba, with more layers and depth, the majority of which is brought up by the significant smokiness of Selecta Premium that is not found that much in regular Selecta.


No surprises here — the cut of Selecta Premium looks distinctly Paraguayan, with lots of small-sized stems and decent amount of powder. Compared to Selecta Tradicional, it looks a little more saturated and green, but don’t expect much vibrancy from an aged yerba mate. Speaking of color — the cut of Selecta Premium looks very uniform with little to no brown inclusions, despite being scorched and dried by fire. To me, that indicates the more rigorous selection process of leaves, stems and powder, which is to be expected from a premium yerba mate.

Selecta Premium


Preparing hot mate from Selecta Premium is not a trivial task, but also not a hard one. It all comes down to the significant powder content in this yerba mate — as long as you have proper tools and techniques it will not cause any troubles in the gourd. Spoon bombilla in my opinion is a must for Selecta Premium, as it will help with both extra filtering, compared to, say, spring bombilla, and also will help with maintaining the mountain of yerba. As a Paraguayan yerba mate, Selecta Premium is already stronger and more potent compared to an average Argentine yerba, so the last thing you want to do is to make this mate unbalanced. Keeping a good solid mountain will help you make Selecta Premium balanced and will prevent any clogging issues that may arise from the large amount of power in its cut.

When it comes to water temperature, I find that Selecta Premium likes lower to medium range — anything from 60°C to 75°C / 140°F to 165°F will give you a delicious and balanced mate. I especially liked Selecta Premium with 70°C to 75°C / 160°F to 165°F water, as it gave me more refills and overall felt like having more evolution of flavors, but more on that later. 80°C / 175°F and hotter yielded in a much more unbalanced mate that is not only too strong and bitter, but is significantly more short and therefore not recommended.

As for tereré, it is exceptionally easy to prepare from Selecta Premium. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about temperature, as you’ll use ice-cold water for it. Extra dust will make it easier to build and maintain the mountain in slippery guampas and stainless steel gourds that are most often used for tereré.

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 .


Selecta Tradicional was the most non-Paraguayan mate from this country that I have tried so far, so naturally I was very excited and curious about tasting Selecta Premium. And it very much lived up to my expectations! With Selecta Premium, what you smell is what you taste. It starts very smoky and tobaccoey — as in its nose, I get BBQ sauce, oak, cigar tobacco, but also dry plums and prunes. The bitterness is there, but it is very tame and is not out of place, as it may often seem with Paraguayan mate. Besides the smokiness and tobacco, I see a lot of resemblance with Selecta Tradicional. This mate is not as doughy and caramel as the regular Selecta, but certain Argentine-like aspects are definitely present in the taste of Selecta Premium. Hay, touch of compost and some spice — not much vanilla here but a more peppery and cinnamony flavor profile. Throughout the drinking session Selecta Premium evolves from more bold, smoky and Paraguayan notes into what I already experienced with Selecta Tradicional — sweet, bready and Argentine-like, with a solid medium body backed up by that abundant powder in the cut of this yerba mate.

Tereré from Selecta Premium was absolutely delicious and amazing. In accordance with hot mate, it is as smoky as it smells, which quickly flourishes into something much more. Sweet and bitter, I get lots of herbal and floral notes, such as jasmine and rose. I also get oak and cedar, along with some grass and fresh hay. Tobacco is not as prominent as in hot mate, but is still there, providing some serious earthiness and ruggedness to the taste profile. The flavors of this tereré are not weak at all, and I genuinely think that this is one of the most flavorful yerbas for cold-water brewing, if not the most flavorful. No steeping in cold water is required for Selecta Premium, apart from the last third of a drinking session where it gets closer to lavado. Slight astringency gives the mouthfeel of this tereré some body and reassures me with the potency of the flavors of Selecta Premium.


Despite being more strong and assertive upfront, I found Selecta Premium to be more mild and calm in its aftertaste, compared to its regular sister. The finish of hot mate is sweeter that the taste, and surprisingly to me, most of the smoke and bitterness fade away and make room for woodsy and hay notes. The aftertaste doesn’t last too long though, making Selecta Premium a pretty drinkable mate.

The finish of tereré is also quite faint and makes drinking Selecta Premium with cold water easy without getting tired of it or wanting to cleanse the palate with some plain water. It is also less smoky than the taste and is sweeter as well, with some fruity and berry notes coming up after a few seconds as I swallow the sip of this tereré. There is almost no bitterness in the aftertaste of a cold-brewed Selecta Premium, and overall it is very pleasant and light, although still flavorful.


As I mentioned earlier, you get the longest durability with water that is about 70°C to 75°C / 160°F to 165°F . However, my experience with Selecta Premium in that regard was a bit scattered — I never managed to get the consistent number of refills when I brewed this mate with hot water. Sometimes I got 22 refills, sometimes it was 25, and on several occasions I even got past that to reach an impressive 27 refills, getting into a long durability territory. Still, more often than not, I reached lavado before the 25 refill mark, making it a very solid moderate durability mate which can surprise you with occasional long drinking sessions. As you already concluded from the taste report, Selecta Premium definitely displays an evolution of flavors throughout the duration of drinking, making it fun and interesting. Transition to lavado was gradual and smooth, and I enjoyed sipping on Selecta Premium for a few refills after it has washed out when I still had some water left in my thermos.

Tereré from Selecta Premium also had pretty decent durability, although not as impressive as hot mate. On average, I was able to get about 18 refills from this tereré, which still fits into a moderate durability category. Lavado of the tereré from Selecta Premium was also gradual and enjoyable, and although I did not observe the same evolution from it as I experienced with hot mate, it was still quite fun to drink.

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.


Strong and bold taste does not always translate into a potent and kicking effect. Selecta Premium is a good example of such thing — although I certainly observed the slow and gentle flow of energy, as well as gradual clearance of mind, it was never over the top or even remotely jittery. I really welcomed such an IV drip-like effects in those mornings when I had enough sleep and did not need a pick-me-up kind of yerba mate, which Selecta Premium is most likely not. In the evenings, this mate was neutral enough to not interfere with my sleep, making it a good and reliable all-day mate.

Tereré from Selecta Premium, as you would expect, is super refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed sipping it during hot summer days, and the energy this tereré provided along with all the health benefits was as smooth and gentle as it was with hot mate, making it safe to drink cold-brewed Selecta Premium no matter if it’s morning or evening.


What are your thoughts on Selecta Premium? Comment below!

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