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Recent Tasting Notes
Couldn’t resist trying Mateina’s new RTD flavour!
Though perhaps a tiny bit watery tasted and a little mineral/metallic, I thought that overall this was very fresh and summery feeling and there was a lot about it that I enjoyed. Namely, the grapefruit definitely skews pink grapefruit which I think is the best grapefruit flavour out there. It was also neither cloying and too saturated or bitter/pithy – just the perfect balance of playful and hydrating flavour that is highly sippable over the coarse of a full can. The guava was pretty mild and definitely not the flavour focus but I thought it did add a fun tropical nod and maybe a little more complexity. They could have probably gotten away with just calling this grapefruit flavoured, though…
My hope for this was the mint would hide the petrichor quality of the mate. It didn’t. Instead the two flavors came together and made this super medicinal and just not for me. With that said, it did give me a touch of energy so yay for that! And thank you Roswell Strange for sharing this with me but alas mate and I are still not friends.
My tea twin, Roswell Strange, who has greatly surpassed me in all things tea knows two things about me: (1) I don’t really like mates and pu’erhs and (2) I will try almost anything someone shares with me at least once. So in December when she exploded my cupboard, there were some mate and pu’erh samples snuck in…much to my dismay. However, tastes change and if you don’t try you don’t know so thank you Roswell Strange for forcing me out of my comfort zone and having me explore all the things!
Alright, that was basically ramping up to I drank this…and I don’t like it. I was getting real sleepy around 3 and wanted to get some work done so I figured mate would be a great caffeine boost. Alas, this tastes like mate which to me is like the wet ground of a rain forest. Well, what I imagine the wet ground of a rain forest would be. And, it is a touch soapy. Really not for me.
Last of the RTD options from Mateina!
I liked this one too – I think it’s perfectly spot on for the name. Interestingly, this is a flavour that Mateina also carries in LLT format and I tried that one at the MTL tea festival. Now, I would never expect an RTD to taste exactly like its loose leaf equivalent but I like when I get a link between the two/can feel the connection. In the case of this tea, I think the flavour of the RTD far surpasses the flavour of the LLT.
It’s nice because a lot of the time hibiscus is sort of used to replicate a generic “berry flavour” because of it’s tartness – it’s one of those weird brain/placebo things that works for most people. However, I definitely don’t think hibiscus tastes like berries; so what I really appreciated about this RTD is that I was getting those really sharp, tart high notes from the hibiscus but I could also distinctly taste a different note that was more of a sweet, jammy berry flavour. In fact, the overall dynamic of this tea just really strongly reminded me of DAVIDsTEA’s Queen of Tarts blend – it was that same really bright, intense hibiscus married with a red berry and blackberry type of sweetness. All the while still maintaining that taste of yerba mate in the undertones, and most prominently in the finish.
I think this was really well done – I’m probably not predispositioned to reach for this type of flavour profile in general, but anyone who enjoys hibiscus or berry drinks would likely really love this one.
Another of Mateina’s RTD line up…
I liked this one a lot, and I think it’s the most unique/adventurous of the line up. Peach is a fairly commercial flavour, but I was thinking about it and I can’t think of the last time I saw Peach and Passionfruit as a flavour combination – it’s different and twisted enough to stand out among all of the other peach flavoured teas/drinks out there in the RTD world. It’s also completely different than anything that they’re carrying as part of the LLT line up, which I thought was interesting!
I do admittedly think that this flavour tastes the least like yerba mate of the three, but that same flavour profile I was getting from the Lemon Original (earthy, grassy, a little smoke/minerality) is still present here so it’s not totally lost – just softer. The peach is very sweet and juicy; very “peach puree” in terms of vibe. There’s a bit of tang though, and a tropical vibe that leans more into those passionfruit flavours – the combination works together REALLY well.
Everything about this one feels approachable to me, familiar but still kind of fun and innovative, not too sweet or tart, and not abandoning the yerba mate roots/tea base. This is probably my favourite of the three flavours, and I would 100% purchase this one again!
So, my first exposure to Mateina was at the MTL Tea Festival last year where I got to try an assortment of their teas – and I actually ended up purchasing two of them as well. I thought they were a pretty company, and I had a good impression of them overall.
Last week, while grocery shopping, I stumbled upon their new RTD line up and I couldn’t resist buying a can of each flavour to try out! I’ve been drinking them with my lunch at work this week, and I have to say that I’ve been really impressed.
I am definitely the customer base for a yerba mate or guayusa based RTD for energy/focus, and I’ve tried a solid assortment of different brands now but they usually aren’t great. Too earthy, bitter, muddy…
These ones are actually impressively good though.
This is the “Original” flavour, which is a straight forward yerba mate with lemon. Very safe; very commercial – but super well executed. The lemon is really bright and fresh; like a lemonade with the perfect balance of sweetness and puckering tartness. The yerba mate is smooth and slightly earthy, slighty grassy – not covered by the lemon but not muddy or bitter/too strong. A tiny hint of went smokiness, which is a flavour that I find inconsistently present in yerba mate – just with my personal tastes.
Lemon is not an RTD flavour I often gravitate towards, but this is nice and would definitely be an option for me.
Geek Steep S2E25 – The Music of John Williams
This is the tea that I picked for my pairing of The Raiders March from Indiana Jones’ Raiders of The Lost Ark.
This may be controversial to say, but I’m not even really a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies – though don’t get me wrong, they are good movies. However, despite that this composition ALWYAS makes my list of top scores. Not just by Williams but, like, in general.
While this song obviously conveys a feeling of adventure, I think for me it more speaks to a sense of optimism and excitement for the future. I think of it kind of a symphonic “hype song” if that makes sense. So I wanted my tea pairing to really be in line with, yes, that kind of jungle/archeological vibe that is so paramount to the Indiana Jones series but also this feeling of bright eagerness and joyous adrenaline for whatever is coming next.
Queue this yerba mate blend! For years now I have equated the taste of yerba mate and guayusa to reminding me of “the rainforest” and so I think there wasn’t ever going to be a more perfect tea base for this musical pairing. It works with the movie and that association, but also just has a general feeling of being fresh and out in nature. The particular nail in the coffin for why this blend specifically was the fact it has this really great, natural and vibrant fresh tropical orange top note that fits that happy/joyous pre-adventure energy feeling I wanted.
I’m very pleased with how this combination came out!
Once strained I mixed this cold brew with a ginger beer, which made for a nice sweet and zests bright orange flavour with a bit of a spicy kick to the finish and the nice smoky green mate notes coming through in the finish. I liked it a lot prepared this way; it was a nice fun spin on this more simple (but strong) blend!
Finally busted out my mate gourd and steeped myself up some mate to enjoy over the course of a morning the more traditional way! It felt really good to be using some oft neglected teawate, but at the same time…
Jesus, I forgot how intense/strong a gourd of mate is when prepared the traditional way and I’m not really all that used to it. I think I drank like a litres worth of tea made this way, just from topping up the gourd as I was drinking it (like grandpa style for mate) but it was so strong that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as expected. It was even kind of soapy tasting!? But the citrus notes were nice! I think I either just need to use a modified prep method or just push myself enough times that I get more used to the taste.
Or a combination of both, maybe…
Montreal Tea Festival – Tea #14
This was the second blend that Mateina was sampling at the festival – and it’s actually the one in their line up that I had sort of expected to like the most so I was excited to try it. I’m not sure if it’s because I thought I’d like it (so my expectations were higher) or not, but I didn’t find this flavour very good. I mean, it did taste distinctly like mate in the same way that the menta did – smooth but lightly smoky grassy/herbaceous taste with some minerality. It even had a hint of mint to it as well – there is actually mint in this blend too. However, berry or hibiscus!? Nah.
The sample did have a slight pinkish tint to it, not as intense/robust as hibiscus often is but enough present to know that it was in the blend. I just didn’t taste any tartness/berry at all though, so I honestly can’t say it was well executed. I’m glad I got a chance to try it – I may have blind bought this one otherwise and I think I’d have been disappointed if I had…
I don’t know that I expected this cold brew to be bad but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be quite so good. The infusion was really murky/muddy with tons of sediment because of how fine and dusty this yerba mate blend is. However, the taste was cooling and refreshing with an overall sweet and crisp mint note atop a slightly smoky and more herbal/grassy yerba mate profile.
Made this as a morning cuppa yesterday for that early day boost/pick me up. The dry leaf smells pretty spearmint heavy, but in terms of taste this is more a balance of grassy and smoky (and maybe just a bit bitter) yerba mate with peppermint. It’s kind of weird because peppermint is usually pretty relaxing for me and I don’t generally want to feel relaxed when I’m drinking yerba mate/a stimulant blend. The peppermint is also more of that muddy European tasting peppermint; less menthol/crispness.
However it was still a nice cup overall!
Montreal Tea Festival – Tea #13
There were two yerba mate booths at the festival that we saw, this one and one carrying yerba mate RTDs (more on those later) – and I found both really interesting! I own a traditional mate gourd, and I like mate a lot but I’ve probably only used my gourd a total of three times in the four or five years I’ve owned it!? You use a decent amount of mate when brewing in the gourd, so I can’t really use it when I only buy like 25-50g of mate from a company to try out. But really, the main problem is that I haven’t found a good yerba mate to buy where I haven’t had to purchase something crazy like a minimum of 750g of it! Yerba mate isn’t very dense – that’s a whole lot of mate!! And I don’t know where the hell I’m gonna store it, it’s not like I’m drinking mate daily…
So, I was really hoping to find at least one mate here I could pick up, since they were selling in 220g increments – which seems like the perfect amount! This was one of two blends they were sampling hot; I got a chance to try both of them and of the two I preferred this one. It’s got a bit of that smoky grassy/herbaceous mate note, but ultimately I found it very smooth and the mint, while subtler than anticipated, was nice and crisp/refreshing. I like the idea of a nice mint/mate combo to start off the morning with, so based on the sample I tried I did actually end up picking up this flavor – along with a third flavour that I didn’t get a chance to try but that smelled fucking INCREDIBLE.