A great example of what flavored yerba mate should be like — fun and friendly enough to appease novice materos, but not too overloaded with flavoring to repulse more conservative drinkers. Do not overlook Sinceridad Naranja if you are opposed to a thought of flavored yerba mate — I bet it can pleasantly surprise you and prove that flavored mate can actually be pretty good and satisfying, whether you like it hot or cold.
Surprisingly, the smell of orange is not prevalent — it is very subtle and does not overpower the aroma of yerba mate. On the foreground Sinceridad Naranja still smells like an aged Argentine yerba mate — earthy, plummy and fragrant. Woodsy and bold, it leaves an impression of a quality yerba first, with an interesting orangey twist somewhere in the background.
Sinceridad Naranja has a very balanced-looking cut that is pleasant on the eye — leaves are coarse and chunky and make up the most of this yerba mate; stems are small to medium in size and are not really present; powder on the other hand is really noticeable, almost making Sinceridad Naranja look like a Paraguayan yerba mate, that is usually known for a relatively high amount of dust.
There are no visible inclusions of orange zest or peel in the cut of Sinceridad Naranja — the flavoring is present in dry form which adds to that dustier appearance of it.
Color of Sinceridad Naranja is nice and vibrant for aged yerba mate — bright green and very uniform with just a couple of toasted leaves — which can be explained by the drying process that Montecarlo Cooperative uses for Sinceridad yerba mates, where it only has a short and quick contact with fire and is not smoked in hot premises afterwards.
Being an Argentine yerba mate, Sinceridad Naranja should not cause any issues with preparation — the coarse cut of leaves makes it easy to handle and while an increased amount of powder may clog some bombillas, like spring bombilla or slotted bombilla, it also aids with molding the mountain of yerba and aids as a sort of binding agent.
When it comes to the temperature of the water for hot mate, I found that anything up to 75°C / 165°F is fine for Sinceridad Naranja. Despite the fact that the manufacturer recommends using 80°C / 175°F water, in my experience water that is hotter than 75°C / 165°F will make this mate start to taste bland and uncomfortably bitter.
Tereré from Sinceridad Naranja is as easy to prepare as from any other yerba mate. All you need is some cold water and ice to keep it cool in the thermos. The orange flavor of Sinceridad Naranja pairs really well with some yuyos, so if you have something like fresh mint or maybe even boldo I highly suggest to crush it and add it to your iced water. However, for the purpose of this review I kept my tereré as pure as possible and have not added anything to it.
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 .
Despite being somewhere in the background of the nose, orange comes forward and takes the spotlight in the taste of hot mate. It is bright and, well, orangey, but to my pleasant surprise it was not the artificially-tasting orange that you usually find in soda or hard candy, but a very natural, slightly bitter and oily orange. In other words, it tastes more like orange zest than the actual orange juice.
The bready, doughy yerba mate flavor of Sinceridad Naranja is not masked by the orange flavoring in the hot mate, but rather accentuated and enhanced by it. This marriage of flavors feels very organic and natural and swings you from bright, light, fresh, citrusy, grassy and hay notes to more bold, woodsy, slightly malty and cookie flavors very smoothly, with zero traction and rough spots.
Tereré is also a great, if not greater, way to deliver the flavor of Sinceridad Naranja. Obviously very orangey but not to the point of it being overwhelming, while still keeping the earthy and moderately bitter notes of yerba mate. Oily, zesty and bitter orange flavoring is a perfect alternative to making tereré using orange juice instead of water, which is usually a bit too sweet or too tangy, and does not allow to enjoy the complexity of the yerba mate. Overall, Sinceridad Naranja is a very palate-friendly and delicious yerba mate that can be a good first-time tereré for someone who has never had it. The relative simplicity and friendliness of the flavors arguably plays in favor for this yerba mate and to me seems intentional from the manufacturer, prioritizing fun, fruity and herbal flavors to earthy and camphor notes found in more complex yerba mates.
The aftertaste of hot mate made from Sinceridad Naranja is very “logical”, for the lack of a better term. It is moderately bitter and oily, like an essential oil of an orange, slightly sweet, well-rounded and a tad earthy, and serves as a nice ending to a not overly complex but exciting drinking experience.
When it comes to tereré, the orange is the first thing that hits your tastebuds, but it is also the first thing that disappears, so the aftertaste of Sinceridad Naranja is not that much different from most of the regular tererés. The finish is pleasantly bitter and, to my surprise, packed with more flavor than the actual sip of this tereré. Earthy and hay notes from yerba mate are coming through much more vibrantly in the aftertaste of Sinceridad Naranja along with some new and subtle spicy and fragrant notes that I was not able to pick up earlier, like cinnamon, coriander and fennel seeds. A much more interesting finish definitely makes it up for a seemingly simple and flavored yerba mate and will be very welcomed by the experienced connoisseurs that are looking for more complexity.
On most occasions hot mate lasted me for not more than 15 refills. Sometimes Sinceridad Naranja managed to reach 20 refills before becoming lavado, but it was too rare to call it a moderate mate — Sinceridad Naranja is a short mate in my book. Speaking of lavado — during my drinking sessions I constantly noticed that this mate becomes washed and tasteless really unexpectedly and abruptly, so you never know when it will be your last refill. I prefer a more gradual weakening of the flavors so this fact was a bit disappointing to me.
Tereré from Sinceridad Naranja is more consistent than a hot mate when it comes to duration — it almost always lasts for around 20 refills, which falls into a moderate duration category. Lavado approached gradually and smoothly and tereré started to become less and less intense and flavorful around the middle of its lifecycle.
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.
Drinking Sinceridad Naranja hot never produced any noticeable effects in my experience with this mate. On one hand, it does not have enough “kick” to invoke the maximum energy mode, but on the other hand it was safe and smooth sailing that is comfortable enough to enjoy at any time of day — Sinceridad Naranja is an all day hot mate.
Tereré is a different story — Sinceridad Naranja is very refreshing when enjoyed cold, like you would expect. It makes you feel revitalized and clear-minded, which makes it perfect for hot summer mornings and afternoons, especially during the weekdays when you need to be extra sharp. However, I would recommend to avoid drinking this tereré in the evening — in my experience the energizing vigor that Sinceridad Naranja gives you can last for a long period of time and can cause some troubles with falling asleep even if you are not drinking it super late.
Special thanks to Un Mate Europe for providing Sinceridad Naranja for this review!
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