It’s 5pm on a chilly July evening in Barao de Cotegipe. Although the sun is setting, and the company is getting ready to close for the day, the machines in the upper part of the factory are still in full motion. Winter is the main season for harvesting Mate, and during the period, the machines run non-stop from Monday morning to Friday evening, with the production line working in shifts.
The Mate leaves begin to enter the drying machine at 10pm that night and will spend the night going through a 5 layer air drying process that lasts about 5-6 hours.
There are only 2 mate companies in the country that have such an extensive air drying machine with 5 layers. The supervisor on duty occasionally inspects the status of the mate at various steps of the drying process to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
At dawn the next day, the factory is very quiet when we came to see the 23 coming out of the drying machine. However, we were not the only ones there so early in the morning. Sergio is always at the company at 6.30am.
For those of you who are curious about the history of Meta Mate 23, please refer to these older articles about this product.