Updated on July 12, 2008
Marcas (Brands) of Yerba Mate: Canarias
Canarias is a strong brand of Yerba Mate. It only comes sin palo (without stems). This is currently my favorite brand yerba mate. As far as I know Canarias is an Uruguayan brand, but some of my bags have also been stamped “Producto de Brazil”. If some one knows the answer to this dilemma, let me know. (Edit: According to Rick Uruguayan style Yerba Mate is grown in Southern Brazil.) Either way it is has a distinctly strong flavor.
Canarias yields a strong bitter mate with a rich and creamy, earthy flavor permeated with a smoky finish. It leaves a very pleasant and satisfying after taste. Sipping a smoky beverage can be strange at first for the Western pallet.
This is the brand that I found my taste for yerba on. That said, I may have a bias. I also prefer to prepare Canarias hot (i.e. not terere). When I prepare terere I usually use a different brand of mate.
My mate gourd has taken on a bit of the Canarias smokiness so some of the flavor carries over in to other brands for a few gourds. Keep this in mind when you consider adding herbs or more importantly azucar (sugar) to your mate. The flavors will remain for some time. Some people prefer to keep a separate gourd for consuming yerba mate with sugar. There is a different gourd curing process to follow if you are planning to use sugar. It involves caramelizing a small amount of sugar to the inside of the gourd.
Other great information can be found on the Canarias website if you can read Spanish