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Yaupon: America's forgotten tea


Alex
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There's a fascinating article about yaupon tea in today's online BBC News.

 

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Consumed for more than 1,000 years, it is North America's only native caffeinated plant and once threatened the British East India Company. So why has the world forgotten about it?

 

The American Yaupon Association

 

I had not a clue that this existed. Has anyone here had yaupon tea? I've bookmarked six purveyors, so I plan to do some comparison research—and probably some shopping.

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Thanks for this. I'd never heard of the plant until a friend posted a cedar waxwing feasting on the berries where he lives in Texas couple weeks ago. I'll shoot him the link. He is the kind of guy who'd give it a go. Looking forward to your experimentation.

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i've been thinking of growing some for a few years now, because i like the idea of growing my own beverages. i remember a few places suggesting that its unfortunate scientific name, Ilex vomitoria, as having something to do with why many don't bother growing / drinking it. it was used in purgative practices, hence the name, but wasn't itself the purgative agent.

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14 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

i've been thinking of growing some for a few years now, because i like the idea of growing my own beverages. i remember a few places suggesting that its unfortunate scientific name, Ilex vomitoria, as having something to do with why many don't bother growing / drinking it. it was used in purgative practices, hence the name, but wasn't itself the purgative agent.

As noted it may have been part of rituals by Indigenous People,  So many plants make lovely tisanes but what intrigued me was the caffeine, I am not a caffeine craver but the bit about giving the East India Company a shiver of competition was interesting. In terms of growing - seems a warm weather lover so Ontario?

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28 minutes ago, heidih said:

As noted it may have been part of rituals by Indigenous People,  So many plants make lovely tisanes but what intrigued me was the caffeine, I am not a caffeine craver but the bit about giving the East India Company a shiver of competition was interesting. In terms of growing - seems a warm weather lover so Ontario?

 

it seems to be hardy to around -19C, but i'd probably put it in the shed with the citrus and the bananas over the winter.

 

something i don't see talked about too much - Ilex is the same genus as yerba mate, so one would assume the flavour is probably similar.

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As with camellia sinensis processing is a major taste factor. Well someone needs to plunge in ;)  On the temps I was thinking where we see it native which is Southern US.  I had a thing for iilex once- maybe merry jolly Christmas associations. All we have here is the holly looking but not botanically related Toyon and Pyracantha. 

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8 minutes ago, heidih said:

As with camellia sinensis processing is a major taste factor. Well someone needs to plunge in ;)  On the temps I was thinking where we see it native which is Southern US.  I had a thing for iilex once- maybe merry jolly Christmas associations. All we have here is the holly looking but not botanically related Toyon and Pyracantha. 

 

 

 

oh for sure, i'm just into growing things that aren't natural here, haha

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15 minutes ago, lemniscate said:

FYI, World Market has Yaupon tea blends on sale (looks like no shipping, in store only).  Yaupon Brothers

 

Thank you. Unfortunately, all four choices are out of stock at my local store. Not that I would have bought the lavender coconut variety :S or even the chai.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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  • 1 month later...

I have gotten some Harney and Sons Yaupon Green and some Yaupon Black 2 oz. tins to try.   I tried the green so far.  I normally don't like green tea, especially the spinach-y types.   I liked this, it was herbal and a tiny bit resiny to me.   I think I remember sweetgrass note.  Not like spinach.   Frankly, I forgot to try the black so far.

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I tried the black.  It was roastier tasting than the green.  Best I could describe is new mow hay scent and slightly grassy taste.  But not like black tea.  I like it, it's a good substitute and certainly something to talk about.  

 

"almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea".   *Douglas Adams

 

 

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