Is it Air-Dried?
Nativa is 'Air-Dried' or 'Unsmoked' in that the modernized systems now used include methods to practically eliminate the direct contact with the ashes generated by the wood-burning fire oven used in drying the leaves.
Where is it from?
Nativa Yerba Mate comes from locally owned wild forests of yerba mate trees located in the sub-tropical rainforest in San Mateus, in the State of Parana, Brazil.
This region of Brazilian-Ukranian owner-harvesters has been teaching their ecological harvesting practices for several generations. Ilex Paraguariensis (Yerba Mate, Cimarrao) accounts for 85% of the local economy. San Mateus is a beautiful place to visit, with flower-filled streets, virtually no crime and a middle-class lifestyle.
Is is sustainably harvested?
There is a Museo del Mate to educate on the plant's properties, history and natural harvesting processes required by the State to employ for sustainability. This includes allowing the trees to fully mature and only harvesting them every four years. This ensures the yerba mate forests' natural vitality and resulting excellent flavor.
What is the difference between the Suave and the Traditional blends?
Yerba Mate is much like wine in that it can vary in strength, flavor, caffeine levels and other nutrients depending on where it is grown. Female plants tend to be milder in flavor, and lower in caffeine. They are also relatively scarce in the areas where yerba mate is planted and cultivated, not wild-harvested, compared to the male plants. Nativa is proud to offer both a Traditional and Suave (Mild) blend.
Are pesticides used?
Nativa comes from wild forests. These environments use traditional forms of eliminating pests. This includes planting a complimenting pest-deterring match for the yerba mate tree. It also includes cultural traditions, such as asking the neighbor's sheep to come over to mow the lawn. Ancient trees naturally seed the new ones.
It is simply too cost-prohibitive to certify the organic nature of these forests versus the compact and efficient areas of plantation-grown yerba mate plants. Nativa's strength is in maintaining the best possible flavor and quality consistency for this natural plant. Plantation (sun)-grown plants tend to be much stronger in flavor and have higher caffeine levels.
Below are images depicting the traditional steps in harvesting and preparing the leaves: