Organic yaupon (pronounced “YAW-pin”) tea is a bushy holly plant in the same family as yerba mate and guayusa. Hardy and drought resistant, it is the only caffeinated plant native to North America. It grows wild in the Southern United States, stretching from Texas to North Carolina.
Used for thousands of years by Native Americans, this tea has recently reemerged and become widely available. It lacks the tannins of more familiar teas brewed with Camellia sinensis leaves, so it is difficult to oversteep and does not become bitter easily.
Do not let the unfortunate botanical name of Ilex vomitoria deter you, as yaupon does not have emetic properties. Botanist William Aiton named this plant in 1789 after settlers witnessed Native American people in purification ceremonies drink vast quantities of a drink that was believed to be yaupon. It is likely that this “black drink” may have been blended with other herbs as well for ritual purging.
Aroma and Flavor
A pleasant aroma that is reminiscent of genmaicha with a black tea twist. The flavor is mild and smooth, with a slight tannic trace nicely emphasized by the roasted notes. Exceptional served both hot and cold with a mild natural sweetness.
Pour boiling water over 1 teaspoon of tea in an 8-ounce cup and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Brews light brown.