by AD MM
Date Added: Friday 18 May, 2018
Anna Park is a very fine yerba mate, particularly for those who like a delicate yerba, but I found that it's possible to achieve a very different, more robust flavor by manipulating temperature. This is the amazing thing about yerba mate, and one of the things that presents a challenge in reviewing, in that it is a very multifaceted herb, with complex characteristics that emerge with different methods of brewing. You can achitve a variety of tastes by adjusting temperature, steeping times, and the amount of yerba you use.
It's interesting how many people like to brew yerba at a low temperature, with some users and reviewers using water as low as 140°F. And, of course, there are those who like to cold brew yerba as well. It turns out that the various constituents of yerba mate are extremely soluble in water, much more so than with coffee or tea, which is why yerba brewed at lower temperatures and short steeping times can still be satisfying on many levels. Still, it's worth noting that one of the few studies done on antioxidant content and bioavailability of yerba that I am aware of observed that the antioxidant content was highest at 158°F.
To my taste, if you go much below 160°F Anna Park presents a very woody taste profile. I've heard other people describe Anna Park at those temperatures as having a green apple characteristic, but I don't see it. At around 160°F the flavor of this yerba opens up dramatically, with some complex, floral notes, along with a certain woody grassiness. If it's late in the evening, and you want something light, Anna Park is soothing, delicate and satisfying at 160 F.
But at 175° the flavor becomes much fuller, more robust, less woody, with notes of cinnamon. In fact, it begins to taste a bit like "Pampa", which also has cinnamon notes. It's no accident that this cinnamon characteristic appears in a number of different yerbas, because yerba mate does contain cinnamic acid.
So, to those who think they've plumbed the depths of Anna Park, and possibly consider it too light, try it at 175° Fahrenheit.
Even at this temperature, this quality yerba presents no bitterness. It's also one of the purest, most ecologically grown yerbas around.