Headliner of Canarias yerba mate products, Canarias Tradicional is muscular and bold. Earthy and dusty, it can appeal to experienced mate drinker who is looking for unexpected and altering taste, but can be untameable beast for new matero. For me personally, Canarias Tradicional is not an everyday mate, but I don’t think you can call yourself a mate aficionado until you try Canarias.
Canarias Tradicional has very bright and strong smell, much more pronounced than any Argentine yerba mate. Aroma of this mate consists of typical mate notes, such as prunes, wood and hay. Canarias Tradicional is dried with smoke from burning wood and I can definitely sense that slight smokiness, although, the smoke is not very overpowering in the nose of this mate.
Canarias Tradicional is a classical example of Uruguayan yerba mate with a very fine and powdery cut. Leaves and stems are grinded into the fluffy and even product that reminds of a Brazilian erva mate. No wonder, because even though Canarias is an Uruguayan yerba mate brand, they outsource their production to Brazil.
Unlike erva mate, Canarias has a much less saturated color, which comes from much longer aging process - the manufacturer claims that Canarias tradicional is aged for 4 to 6 months to develop its unique flavor and grayish color.
Canarias Tradicional is usually the first Uruguayan mate for many people, and many of them tend to struggle with preparation of this mate. The powdery nature of Canarias makes it very easy for beginners to clog their bombilla, so you need to know what you are doing when drinking Uruguayan mate.
The general idea is to know when and how to use your bombilla. You need to use the physical properties of powdery yerba to your advantage, because when it gets wet it turns into cement-like mass. If you will never mold the mountain of yerba it will completely surround and clog your bombilla and it will be almost impossible to drink this mate. If you will disturb it too often then you will have a mouthful of small yerba particles on every sip.
So, in my experience, it is better to mold the yerba in a first few pours, make sure that one of the sides of the mountain is completely wet, push the yerba against the wall, tuck it with your bombilla to create a water pocket and then drink with comfort. Repeat after you start to feel that it’s hard to drink mate. Ofcourse all the tucking and pushing is much easier to to with a flat bomba or a spoon bombilla.
Nobody said that it’s going to be easy, guys! Knowing how to use your bombilla is a true display of skill by the cebador, and learning that skill is very much worth it, trust me.
I was completely blown away by the taste of Canarias Tradicional. No other Argentine yerba mate will give you such a variety and surprise moments as Canarias. The taste of this mate changes with each pour and create a very colorful analogies in my head.
It starts of with very masculine flavors. They are not bitter and at first seem to be inedible but they match surprisingly well. Call me crazy, but it feels that you are tasting a car somewhere in the countryside - I can sense hay and grass, dirt and soil on the rubber tires of this car, metal, engine oil and gasoline, leather seats and the smell of exhaust. It is a very weird combination but for some reason it is not off-putting at all.
As I continue to drink Canarias Tradicional, those flavors start to disappear and other subtle flavors come on top to replace them. It starts to feel as if I’m drinking hot chocolate, both in taste and texture of this mate. Due to it powdery cut of Canarias Tradicional it feels very syropy and thick in mouth, and most prevailing flavors are cocoa and milk. This is definitely a full-bodied mate.
As you may have noticed, I haven’t said anything about water temperature yet. And that is because it took me some time to figure out the relationship between taste of Canarias and water. In my experience, it all comes down to whether you want more earthy flavors or more chocolate taste. The higher the temperature (75°C - 80°C / 165°F - 175°F) the more earthy your Canarias will be. Go lower than that to unlock cocoa and milk flavors.
Most convenient way to get ideal water temperature is to use an electric kettle with temperature control like this one. If you prefer traditional kettle you can use laser thermometer or simpler food thermometer.
As I said earlier, Canarias Tradicional has absolutely no bitterness and tartness, so the aftertaste is pretty mild and pleasant, with remainders of unsweetened chocolate and milk. However the slight presence of those masculine flavors is still there.
The ever changing nature of Canarias Tradicional makes it quite hard to determine when this mate becomes lavado. I like when Canarias becomes mild and chocolatey, so for me the duration of this mate is medium to long - somewhere between 20 and 25 refills.
The last thing you want while drinking mate is to constantly re-heat you water or add more ice to it. No matter if it's hot mate or cold tereré, use a vacuum bottle or a thermos.
I was expecting a very strong energy boosting effects from drinking Canarias Tradicional, but didn’t quite found it much invigorating. It feels almost calming and relaxing, but it will still keep you awake if you drink it in the evening, so I would recommend to drink it in the morning or in the afternoon.