Dual nature is what makes Selecta Tradicional so unique — it shares characteristics of both Paraguayan and Argentine yerba mate. Despite being pretty good as a tereré, Selecta Tradicional is one of those rare Paraguayan brands that is probably even better with hot water. If you have never had a Paraguayan mate and want to start exploring Paraguayan brands — this could be your perfect candidate.
The smell of dry Selecta Tradicional is very similar to Kurupí Clásica — it is distinctively Paraguayan with dominance of dried plums; woody and oaky, sweet, a little bit smoky and spicy.
Typical Paraguayan cut of Selecta Tradicional again is similar to Kurupí Clásica — a lot of powder and stems. The only difference I noticed is the coarse cut of the leaves — it resembles the cut of some of the Argentine yerba mate brands, like Rosamonte or Piporé.
As I mentioned in my Kurupí Clásica review, in general, Paraguayan yerba mate is designed for tereré. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot drink it with hot water — some people even prefer to enjoy strong and pronounced flavors of Paraguayan mate that way. Still, tereré version is without doubt much more easier in preparation. No need to worry and measure water temperature — just throw some ice into a cold water, pour it into your guampa and enjoy tereré.
The cut of Selecta Tradicional should give you no problems in the guampa — you are free to use any bombilla that you like.
As with all Paraguayan yerba mate, when you drink it hot the key is not to overheat the water — 70°C / 160°F is more than enough and water that is hotter will, in my opinion, ruin mate such as Selecta by making it too bitter and strong. However, you might want to go lower than that, as low as 60°C / 140°F because due to the dual nature of this mate that I will explain in details a bit later, lower temperature water can unveil a whole different set of flavors.
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 laser thermometer or a food thermometer .
The flavors that you get from cold Selecta Tradicional are very pleasant — slightly sweet and sour, spicy and very herbal. It has no bitterness at all and has all characteristics of a light body.
Hot water delivers the taste of Selecta Tradicional very differently compared to a tereré version of this yerba mate. To be honest with you — it doesn’t taste like Paraguayan mate at all! Hot Selecta has a typical Argentine mate taste — dry grass, hay and a bit of compost, not smoky at all, bready and doughy, sweet, slight notes of caramel and vanilla. This mate reminds me of Piporé Con Palo, and in my opinion the hot version of Selecta Tradicional is much better than tereré from the same yerba mate. In terms of the mouthfeel, hot Selecta leans more towards the medium body.
In the finish Selecta Tradicional tereré transforms from sweet and mellow to a bitter but not repulsive aftertaste, kind of similar to very hoppy IPAs. It is also a lot less herbal and more oaky, pro rata to its smell.
Hot mate has a pleasant savory finish that still has a lot more in common with Argentine mate. Despite that, some of the Paraguayan properties find their way into the aftertaste of Selecta — it finishes definitely more woody and bitter than it tastes.
On average, tereré from Selecta Tradicional lasted me for 20 refills, which I consider a moderate duration. However, I usually expect a bit longer duration from tereré, because cold water extracts flavors slower than hot water, so 20 refills, to be honest, is quite disappointing.
Hot water was able to extract flavors from Selecta Tradicional for about 25 refills. It’s still a moderate duration, but I was pleasantly surprised.
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 have yet to discover a tereré that would not be refreshing and cooling, and Selecta Tradicional is not an exception. Few sips — and hot sweaty day turns into vigorous and productive. Not every Paraguayan yerba mate brand manages to deliver its effects so quickly as Selecta Tradicional, and I appreciate that fact a lot.
You can definitely notice slight increase in energy after drinking hot Selecta — it seems that this yerba mate is more caffeinated than average Argentine yerba mate. But overall the effects are rather weak so don’t rely on this mate after a sleepless night.
What are your thoughts on Selecta Tradicional? Comment below!