04-25-2014, 10:58 AM
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I've recently been drinking more yerba mate, mostly because of Celestino's posts here. I really do like it (though I must admit that it's unlikely to displace regular tea from my kitchen).

I initially bought a bunch of Mate from Upton Teas, because that's where I usually get my teas, and it was easy to add an extra item to my purchase order. Celestino has mentioned Guayaki several times and I've been meaning to get some eventually.

Recently, I was in a health food store and saw Guayaki Yerba Mate on the shelves. The checkout lady said that they had just received a shipment and they had just been added to the shelves. In fact, they still didn't have a price for the Mate in their system and I got a pretty good deal on it, so I bought a package.

This is the stuff I bought:

[Image: temporary-1701.jpg]

When I opened the package, I immediately noticed some differences from the Upton Teas Mate that I already had. The Guayaki stuff had more powder and thick twigs in it than the Upton Teas did.

Here's a pic of the Guayaki:

[Image: temporary-530.jpg]

Here's a pic of the Upton Teas Mate at approximately the same distance:

[Image: temporary-2473.jpg]

They don't seem too different in the pics, but when you spoon up some of the dried leaves you can see the powder in the Guayaki, and it seems to be totally absent.

Here's a spoonful of the Guayaki:

[Image: temporary-1047.jpg]

And here's a spoonful of the Upton. As you can see, it's a more consistent leaf:

[Image: temporary-1770.jpg]

When the tea is brewed, the Guayaki results in a muddy tea, seen here:

[Image: temporary-1782.jpg]

This tastes fine, but looks and feels strange in the mouth. I use a fine brewing basket for my teas. A bag would result in no residue.

The Upton Mate results in a clearer tea, which tastes the same as the Guayaki:

[Image: temporary-1455.jpg]

When the tea is finished, there is a lot of residue left behind in the Guayaki cup, as you can see here:

[Image: temporary-2281.jpg]

The Upton also leaves some residue, but it's a lot less than the Guayaki:

[Image: temporary-1878.jpg]

The teas from two brands taste about the same. A spoonful of the Guayaki contains more leaves than the Upton because the leaves are more finely divided (to the point of being powder). So adjustments need to be made when brewing the teas.

All-in-all, the Guayaki and Upton teas are similar in taste, but the Guayaki that I bought is a lot more inconsistent in dry leaf look and the muddiness of the tea is a disappointment.

The Guayaki costs about $11.50 for a 16 oz bag (I paid about half that for an 8 oz bag, but I got a good deal on it - I'm pretty sure that it retails for $8 in our stores usually). The Upton Tea Mate costs about $14 for 14 oz, so the Guayaki is cheaper.

If I drank Mate all the time, I'd probably use the Guayaki and deal with the muddy tea. Since I don't, I'll restock from Upton.

39 1,750
 04-25-2014, 11:07 AM
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thanks for your interesting and thoughtful writings comparing the teas.

7 1,624
 04-25-2014, 11:35 AM
  • freddy
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A superb review, Yohann; thank you for posting it.

The Yerba Mate that I have was sent to me, in an unmarked Zip-Lock bag, by a friend in Georgia and based on your review and photos, I'd be willing to assume that he sent me the Guayaki. I have seen it sold in quite a few markets here in San Diego, as well, so it must be readily available.

2 5,000
 04-25-2014, 02:52 PM
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Yohann, great to see you have finally tried the Guayaki Mate!

It is definitely a unique Mate compared to the others I have tried.
I haven't tried the Upton Mate, but the Guayaki is smoked dried and they use all parts of the plant to give it its taste and beneficial properties it can impart as it is shade-grown to allow for a more nutrient rich plant.
I have never had any issues with the sediment as I use a bombilla to drink my mate. I drink it in a similar manner to the traditional way, but I don't use a gourd and don't, exactly, follow the specific method suggested.

Do you have any idea if the Upton Mate is shade-grown? Every Mate I have tried has been sun-grown and they were all a bit bitter than this one. I would be interested in trying the Upton if it were shade-grown.

92 21,368
 04-25-2014, 05:16 PM
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i drink several teas* being shade-grown for the last 3 weeks of the growing process - and as a result they always become more mellow and less bitter. maybe this apply for yerba mate as well.

*all from camellia sinensis

7 1,624
 04-26-2014, 05:51 AM
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Upton doesn't say if their tea is shade-grown or not. Just that it's air-dried using a smoke-free drying process.

Given the similarity in the taste between these two sources, it's likely that the Upton is also shade-grown. I certainly couldn't detect any bitterness. The Upton is a little more delicate in flavour than the Guayaki.

Bear in mind that Upton is a small distributor - they probably buy their teas in much smaller amounts than the Guayaki and so can have more control over what they're buying.

I'm not going to claim that one is better than the other - I just noticed the large amount of powder in the Guayaki, and wanted to mention that in comparison to the Upton tea. Personal tastes being what they are, people will have to find their own favourite sources.

39 1,750
 04-26-2014, 08:13 AM
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Yohann, of course, like everything, teas are a YMMV thing as well. Biggrin

I am curious to try this, but I was wondering if you knes the source of where the Upton Mate is from. On their website, they state it originates from Brazil.
I would really be interested in trying it and I may actually buy some just to see if the taste is the same as the Guayaki.

Thanks again for sharing the comparisons and I hope you enjoy your tea! Biggrin

92 21,368
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