My Mornings Start with Maté: Rosamonte Review

my mornings start with maté: rosamonte review

My love affair with maté began two years ago. I was working at a health cafe that was filled with interesting characters and interesting things. From taking Rapé in the back of the store, to hula hooping on the side of the road, to making delicious juice cocktails and to drinking spring water out of crystal-charged jugs, it was wild, mind-opening, manic, beautiful, creative, unsustainable, flowing.    

It was where I met a chef who made the most glorious superfood, raw desserts and she soon became one of my best friends. It was where I met a young farmer who grew alfalfa sprouts whom I secretly had a crush on. It was where I met parents who had a child with cancer. It was where I learnt about kombucha, sprouted essene bread, tempeh and sauerkraut. It was where I met photographers, models, businessmen, artists, do-ers and lazy minds. It was also where I met the maté man

He came to the store with funny looking mugs, metal straws and lots of green stuff. "THIS IS MATE", he proclaimed. We stared at him, dumbfounded, curious, apprehensive. "Maté? Never heard of it", I said. Little did I know what rabbit hole I was about to go down. 

And so began my obsession with yerba maté, a tea from South America. 

yerba-mate-rosamonte-review.jpeg

A shrubby, hardy tree with resilient foliage, yerba is grown in subtropical areas of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. If you walk the streets of these places you won't see people carrying throwaway coffee cups. Oh no, you'll see big thermos of water being lugged around, day after day. Jars, jugs, bottles, canisters - the people of South America are never short of water on hand. 

If you've never tried maté, chances are you're a tad confused as to why people would be hauling around massive containers filled with water all day long. I've written an intro to maté which explains where it comes from, how it's prepared and drunk (yes, there are rules and traditions to abide by!), the myths surrounding how it was discovered; (it involves an angel and a jaguar - #truth), as well as the healing properties of this magical drink (hint: it has the same health benefits of tea, energising effects of coffee and feelings of euphoria that cacao gives). Get clued up and in the know here

It was not long until I was carrying my own water bottle around with me and sipping out of a strange-looking cup and metal straw. Drinking it at work has become a bit of a fun joke - "What are you smoking?" or "Is that grass?" have been some of my favourite questions that I have been asked when I'm alone in the office kitchen. It seems that people are afraid to ask me what the hell I'm drinking when there are other people around as if they feel they will be judged.

I think that's a common way of dealing with foregin subject matter amongst us humans. Tentatively approach. Corner the person by the water cooler. Question them meekly. Run away. 

But I digress. 

We continue. In short, maté is prepared like this: 

how-to-prepare-yerba-mate

And you can keep refilling it for hours on end. I spend my entire morning filling, refilling and refilling and refilling until the flavour of the tea is lost and I'm over it. The next morning: same routine. For without maté my mornings don't feel complete. It helps me get into the right head space to work, energised and happy. So when my favourite maté man sent me some new maté gear, complete with a new wooden gourd (aka cup/mug) covered in shiny silver, a new fancy-looking bomba (aka straw made out of metal) and two packets Rosamonte yerba, I was overjoyed! Duh. 

I've only ever tried varieties from Meta MateBarão, Guayaki and Pajarito, so I was keen to get my tastebuds onto something new. 

I first had to decide between the Rosamonte Plus Traditional (the red bag) or the Rosamonte Suave (the yellow bag). Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry...

YELLO YELLOW! 

Yellow won. I carefully opened the bag, took a little sniff and prepared my gourd. The first sip took some adjustment - it was a lot smokier than what I had been drinking previously (which has been Barão in case you want to know) but after a few gulps it grew on me. 

My verdict on Rosamonte Suave

  • I acquired a taste for this very quickly and soon it became incredibly delicious and addictive! 
  • This variety is great for first time drinkers. It's bold enough in flavour but still mild with a hint of smokiness. It has an easy taste to get used to. 
  • Easy to prepare due to the large, fluffy cut of the leaves. Very little clogging occurs. 
  • Seasoned between 12 - 24 months. 
  • I was able to refill my gourd roughly 8+ times before flavour subsided.  
  • "Suave" actually means "mild", which leads me onto the next variety that I tried... 

My verdict on Rosamonte Plus Traditional:  

  • I would state that this is a great option for those who drink maté more regularly. More seasoned maté drinkers will appreciate its strong, robust taste. It's a harsher blend of the two varieties I tried, for sure. Bold, full body. Astringent tones, smoky, heavy. Definitely courage is required for this one but the brave will be handsomely rewarded with an interesting experience that won't bore the palate. 
  • Easy to prepare due to the large, fluffy cut of the leaves. Very little clogging occurs. 
  • Seasoned for 12 months.
  • I was able to refill my gourd roughly 8+ times before flavour subsided.  

Rosamonte is top yerba maté brand in Argentina and can be found pretty much everywhere from the office to home, on store shelves and street corners. They've also been around for years - since 1936! I think it's safe to assume they know what they are doing. 

 Did you know that some bombas have the family crests on them, like how Rosamonte have done with their logo. Now that's some serious commitment to the maté cause! 

Did you know that some bombas have the family crests on them, like how Rosamonte have done with their logo. Now that's some serious commitment to the maté cause! 

Will I continue to drink this brand? 

I definitely think I will - especially the Mild variety. And because of that Yerba Mate South Africa has put together a neat Rosamonte Suave Set compete with a gourd and bomba! I still think though that allegiance lies with Meta Mate and Barão at the end of the day but Rosamonte certainly brings something different to the table. And it's always good to shake things up, right? 

Happy drinking! 

¡Salud! 

PS: Don't forget to check out my previous maté article here :)