We take the time to grow our Meta Mate leaves 100% in the forest, and we harvest from old trees that stand 20-30 meters tall. Not only do we literally embrace the trees during the harvesting process as we climb their massive trunks, but we are also "tree huggers" in the sense that we respect the environments we work in. Our harvesters always thank the trees for their bounty with a moment of silence before collecting the leaves.
The connection between our harvesters, Fabricio and Ricardo, comes from before their days of drinking mate together. Both grew up in the same town in Brazil and raced bikes together, played in bands, and occasionally were part of the same circles of friends. Ricardo came from a smaller town, Sao Martin, where he inherited the art of making mate from his grandfather and maintained it as a hobby. On a trip to Brazil, someone told Fabricio about the best mate ever, and we discovered it was from Ricardo when we tried it together. The social ritual of mate connects friends and families, and it even helps to discover new friends and business partners.
After the mate branches are collected from the forest, they are rapidly passed over a fire in a process called sapeco. This is similar to the roasting process in coffee that gives the mate its distinct flavor. The drying process is what gives Meta Mate its unique smoky flavor. Traditionally, the indigenous used to directly dry their mate over a fire in a process known as Carijo. We tried this method in our October Mate and had a very special harvest. No industrial mate is smoke-dried today due to strict legislation. Meta Mate is normally dried in the Barbaqua, a wooden enclosed room, through a 20-hour process.
The branches are placed on a wooden rack, which has a tunnel underneath that leads to a fireplace outside the Barbaqua. The fire is lit at the other end of the tunnel, which allows the smoke to dry the mate in a slow process.
The mate is then loosely crushed by hand before being placed in a wooden tub to be pounded by our antique Pillao, or pulverizer. The Drey Family, like Ricardo, has been producing mate for generations, and they know the difference between good mate and great mate!
Of course, we let Meta Mate speak for itself! You have to try it to judge it. We aim to be as transparent as possible with our harvesting and financial processes. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding Meta Mate.
We take research in the mate-producing field very seriously. Extensive studies at the Beuthe University in Berlin showed that mate made out of big leaves had higher antioxidant properties than mate made from smaller leaves (usually found in the monoculture). A Master's student from Germany also visited our production to research different drying methods and its effects on the mate. The results of her study and others are available at Meta Mate in Berlin.
Environmental Protection Measures
We are currently researching cloning and reforesting techniques. We have dedicated 1.5 hectares of land for a reforestation model, where we have planted many mate saplings and are focusing exclusively on the mate species with big leaves.