Meta Pilgrimage – Back to Brasil The Beginnings of 23 & 42
In May, Fabricio, our Meta-Gaucho, went back to his roots to delve into the forests near São Martin, RS, Brasil, climb up some ancient trunks and harvest a special May 2012 Meta Mate. That huge cuia would make anyone envious, filled to the brim with 1 day old Meta Mate, and check out that sack full of Erva Mate!
Every time we enter the forest we discover ‘new’ ancient erveiras (Mate trees). The Drier brothers who have been in the business their whole lives cannot remember ever seeing such an immaculate tree and estimate it must be 200 years old.
The size of our leaves influence the taste of our mate, check out those meta leaves filled with anti-oxidants!
Ricardo Lorenz (right) has the honorable title of Uru (the one who tends to the fire that dries the mate). Meta Mate was once part of a tree and the leaves and branches that it was before it was processed into Mate were most probably brought down by Ricardo or the Drier brothers’ (left) knives. The Driers have been in the business for longer than we’ve been alive and are a valuable bank of information about the region, traditional mate harvesting and the wealth of the forest.
You have to work for your mate, it’s not like money that grows on trees – oh wait, I meant it the other way around: although mate grows on trees you still have to work for it!
WARNING: If you can’t climb a tree, perhaps Mate harvesting is not for you.
Fire is the most important element that goes into Mate’s transformation from ordinary holly leave to a beverage that is worshipped by many. The leaves have to rapidly be passed on top of a fire to release the benzoids.
Now with our new partners, we will try drying part of Meta Mate on a conveyor belt separated from the 8,50,000 kg of other mate that runs through this factory per day.
A sturdy Pillão does the trick, but when not available a mortar will do to crush the mate into a fine powder.
The green treasure, our first production of Meta Mate (unsmoked)
How many shades of green can you see? How many cuias can you count? How many mates can you drink at the same time?