How is Yerba Mate Processed?
Men have developed different techniques to process Yerba Mate.
Physical efforts have decreased but quality, flavor and aroma had remained
the same for over 200 years.
The drying process has two steps, "sapecado" and "secado". Sapecado is dehydrating the leaves. This process is achieved through fire. It only takes 20 to 30 seconds. This is done to stop the natural oxidation and fermentation process of the plant. If the heat that is used is excessive, the leaves will have a yellow color and would affect the final taste. The proper heat is very important. In this process the leaves lose 20% of their weight.
The next process is the "canchado".
This is the process where the leaves are roughly milled right alter the
secado. Afterwards they are put in jute sacks (natural fiber) which are
marked with the date and the origin location.
The next process is called "beneficio" where the yerba mate is left to age for a minimum of six months. This is VERY IMPORTANT in order to get a top quality yerba. Organic and small farmers producers usually let this process last more than a year, sometimes even two.
The final step is the milling. Through a sifting process done by specialised machinery the aged yerba is separated from its content of twigs, leaves and sticks or stems. The yerba is then blended in the proper proportions each brand has. Some may have more sticks, leaves or powder than others. Finding the "right" yerba for you will take some time.
There are eight main types of yerba mate: Canchada - Elaborada con Palo (w/stems) - Organic - Barbacuá (Smoked) - Tostada (Roasted) - Instant Yerba Mate - Despalada o Sin Palo (w/o stems) - Flavored or Mixed with Herbs.
CON PALO : Is the yerba mate that contains no less than 65% dehydrated ground leaves and no more than 35% of
stems. Generally they are mild because of the big percentage of stems
DESPALILLADA, DESPALADA o SIN PALO (without stems) : It contains no less than 90% of finely dehydrated leaves and no more than 10% of stems. This type of yerba (very popular in Brazil) is stronger due to their larger quantity of leaves and fewer amount of stems. There is no such thing as a yerba COMPLETELY 100% WITHOUT stems even though the package says so. There will always be a very small amount that is impossible to be removed during the processing.
TOSTADA (ROASTED) : When the yerba leaves are roasted they generally have a sweeter flavor and a kind of a "chocolate" after taste. If you don´t like the bitterness of yerba mate you should try this type.
INSTANT YERBA MATE is dehydrated powder, very similar to instant coffee. Not very traditional in Argentina.
MYMATEWORLD - Yerba Mate Company / PHONE : 831 713 5578 (11 AM to 6 PM West Coast Time Zone)