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Where To Buy Yaupon Tea

Yaupon Holly Tea History

CAFFEINE from the WILD!!! How to make YAUPON HOLLY tea in the woods.(part 2 of 2)

Yaupon tea has an interesting and eventful history. Beng North Americas only tea plant rich in caffeine, it was used as a drink by the Native Americans as early as the 14th and 15th century. The English and Spanish colonists referred to it as a black drink, because of its dark hue.

Native Americans used ilex Vomitoria in the form of a ceremonial beverage for purification rituals which was thought to induce vomiting, from where the plant actually got its Latin name. However, this was a misconception as the vomiting may be a result of the overconsumption of the caffeine-rich drink coupled with fasting.

This tea gradually became famous in the present times because of its caffeine content, but tea purists ruled in favor of Asian tea and coffee. Since then, it is used as an herbal tea.

Yaupon Tea

Yaupon Tea Vs Traditional Tea

Yaupon tea and traditional tea are actually quite similar.

  • Both have caffeine
  • Both can be brewed from dried or roasted leaves giving both the options of a green or black tea
  • Both can be grown as natural, sustainable plants
  • Both taste about the same grassy green and malty black
  • Both produce tea from the leaves and twigs
  • Both have health benefits, such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • Both can be brewed into hot or iced tea

There are differences between yaupon tea and traditional tea.

  • Yaupon has less caffeine by weight. Yaupon has .65 .85% caffeine content while traditional black tea has a little more than 3% caffeine.
  • Yaupon has fewer tannins than traditional tea. This means yaupon has a less tart or astringent flavor than black tea. To get a stronger tea flavor, you can brew yaupon longer or use boiling water.
  • Its easier to find traditional green and black tea in your local supermarket. Yaupon remains a specialty tea. Dried and roasted yaupon tea can be purchased from a few growers in the United States. However, the good news is that if you have a green thumb, you could buy, plant, and grow your own yaupon.

How To Make Yaupon Cuttings

  • In fall, select 8-inch cuttings from semi-hardened wood .
  • Remove all leaves except for 3 or 4 at the tip.
  • If youve got some, dip the cutting in rooting hormone. Aloe vera works great for that.
  • Plant the cuttings in a mix of sand and soil mix.
  • Roots should start developing within two to three months.

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Grow Your Own Yaupon Tea

Tea is made from the plant Camellia sinensis which was carefully guarded in China for centuries. Seeds were smuggled into India by the British in 1836 to break the Chinese tea monopoly. We can grow that plant here and UF/IFAS is researching cultivars for adaptation to our conditions. However, why not go native and use the only North American caffeine producing plant that grows wild here Yaupon holly.

Yaupon Holly

Yaupon holly is an evergreen holly with small green leaves on stiff branches. Selected cultivars are used as hedges and small trees, including a weeping form. Males and females are separate plants, so if you want berries be sure to purchase a female. The plant is an excellent choice for organic production because, as a native plant, it is adapted to Florida conditions and requires very few inputs. It is great for an edible landscape because it is ornamental and useful for tea. Leave the berries for the birds though.

The scientific name, Ilex vomitoria, refers to the native American use of the plant for purification ceremonies where strong teas were drunk to excess to induce vomiting. Early botanists noted this and looked no further for a name. When brewed properly and consumed in moderation the tea is perfectly safe and was used by Amerindians and European immigrants for daily consumption.

Roasting Leaves for Tea

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Yaupon Tea House & Apothecary Helps Revive Native American Tradition

By Lindy Moody

Yaupon Tea House and Apothecary is at 349 Abercorn St.

EVERY SAVANNAHIAN has had his or her fair share of sweet tea. However, long before the sugary cups of brown “Savannah Water” were served alongside deep fried seafood treats, the natives of our area enjoyed the taste and healing properties of yaupona leafy plant that has been brewed for a very long time.

Luckily, Savannah has two visionaries bringing back the use of the ancient plant.;

Owners Lou Thomann and Lori Judge are true pioneers in the world of Savannahs native yaupon holly. What started with a dream has now turned into Yaupon Tea House & Apothecary.;

I was lucky enough to sit down with the pair and enjoy Yaupon Tea House & Apothecarys ceremonial brew exactly as the Native Americans once did.

Different tribes would share the tea, and it would create a bond. When Oglethorpe came to Savannah, Tomochichi gave Oglethorpe a cup of this tea, Judge told me.

As we shared the light, earthy, warm tea, Thomann, who could be considered a self-taught expert on the subject, educated me on the history of yaupon.;

On a getaway to Ossabaw Island with the owners of Service Brewery, the two were introduced to the yaupon plant by John Crawfish Crawford who, according to Thomann, is one of the most knowledgeable naturalists in the coastal area.

After hand picking and brewing fresh tea over their campfire, Thomann instantly fell in love with the tea and its history.;

Thomann elaborates:

Yaupon Diseases And Pests

There are no common pests or diseases that affect yaupon. Even deer only resort to nibbling yaupon only once all other fodder is unavailable.

Note, however, that deer do like munching on the berries. They wont harm the yaupon much in doing so.

Yaupon can tolerate all types of soil, but full sun is needed for the tree to survive if ever the ground is always wet. Yaupon might be weakened by wet roots if there isnt enough sun to keep the sap circulating.

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Local Buzz: Yaupon Tea Takes The Asheville Stage As A Native Source Of Caffeine

Craft beer may be the star beverage in Asheville, but many would argue that this is a city fueled by caffeine. Independent coffee shops are thriving, Ashevilleans know their baristas as well as their bartenders, and the number of local coffee roasters is steadily growing.

Even so, in this area that fiercely prides itself on a strong and ever-growing local food system, coffee beans, with their tropical provenance, are an inherently nonlocal commodity.

So, what if we could source our caffeine buzz from a plant that grows regionally, or even right here in Western North Carolina?

How To Prune Yaupon Shrubs

Harvesting Yaupon Tea

Yaupon will keep on growing throughout its entire lifetime. If you never prune it, it may reach up to over 30 feet tall tall and wide.

  • You dont need to prune if your yaupon has space to grow. Yaupon naturally grows into wonderful shapes that depend on the variety.
  • To keep your dwarf yaupon small, prune every year or every two years.
  • Spring is the ideal season to prune or trim your yaupon.

As they grow, dwarf yaupon hollies will form a nice, round shape, like a green half-bubble resting on the ground. Dwarf varieties are easily kept small, from 2 feet to 6 feet .

Other, taller varieties will branch out like an elegant vase, while still others grow into triangular pyramids. When left untended, yaupon grows secondary trunks and forms dense thickets that are a boon for nesting birds.

Yaupon constantly sends out new branches from old wood.

  • This is good, because it means you can trim yaupon back heavily if ever you need more space in the garden. Yaupon survives hat-racking.
  • However, if you aim to have tree-like shape with a clear trunk, better prune suckers off your yaupon every year.

Note that generally, male specimens grow faster than female specimens a consequence of not diverting energy into giving life to the next generation!

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From Coast To Mountains

Having a good-tasting, caffeinated tea-making herb that grows in the Southeast is pretty cool, but that naturally begs the question of whether we can propagate it in Western North Carolina. According to history and at least one local farmer, the answer is maybe.

Despite historical references;to the Cherokee using the black drink, its not grown or consumed;in the area;today, says David Cozzo, project director for the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources program at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Extension Center in Cherokee. But perhaps it did once grow here. There was a reference about a few bushes being near some Cherokee villages in the 1700s, Cozzo says, and another reference to the Cherokee as middlemen between the coastal tribes and the interior tribes,;but today folks here drink coffee.

But on a recent February morning, with smallish snowflakes spitting sporadically from low, gray clouds, farmer Tom Elmore stands at the foot of a steep hill on his Leicester farm surrounded by brilliant green yaupon shrubs. This is a Zone 7 plant, he explains, touching the oblong leaves of one of the handful of shoulder-high yaupon holly trees he is cultivating. That means the Spartanburg, Greenville area. But were a Zone 6.

I think I could find a market for the tea, but its sort of another business than the one Im drawn to, he says. My real interest is in selling the plant and developing our local food culture.

Caffeine & Other Stimulants:

Yaupon contains three primary stimulants; caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. Yaupon’s stimulants are methylxanthine alkaloids. Yaupon Brothers caffeine content is variable, but normally around 7000mg/kg when dry, which is about 200mg per ounce. Typically, a brewed cup of Yaupon contains around 60mg of caffeine, about 1/3 less than coffee.;

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What Is Yaupon Tea & Where It Came From

Yaupon tea goes back centuries. Since its the only caffeinated plant in North America, you can imagine the natives loved it as soon as they found out about it. And youll be right.

Many Native American tribes used this plant and admired it for its magical healing and energizing qualities. The Cherokees even called it the beloved tree. It was used in rituals such as the;Black Drink;and regularly drank before going into battle or making important decisions.

When the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans shared their love for yaupon. In fact, in 1615, Francisco Ximénez reported:

there is no Spaniard or Indian who does not drink it every day in the morning and evening . . . it is more of a vice than chocolate in New Spain. any day that a Spaniard does not drink it, he feels that he is going to die.

Yes, the love for yaupon was strong. And in addition to being known for energizing and healing, it was also valued as a strong diuretic, and it was believed to prevent urinary infections.

So now that you know what yaupon is and where it came from, lets see what kind of benefits yaupon tea offers.

Yaupon Tea Light Roast

Buy Yaupon Tea
  • Yaupon Holly is North America’s Only Native Source of Caffeine
  • Southeastern US Wild Picked Tea. Wild harvest Organic – Non GMO Verified- Georgia Grown
  • The American Yerba Mate – Rich In Antioxidants – All Native All Natural
  • 3 Ounces of loose leaf ASI Yaupon Holly Tea
  • Best Brewed with a French Press, Infuser, Or Gourd

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How To Drink Yaupon Tea

To make yaupon tea the leaves need to be dried, and often roasted beforehand. This can be done in the oven at 350 degrees until the leaves turn the desired shade of brown. The more cooked the darker the tea will be and the deeper the flavor. The tea can also be made from fresh leaves, though the flavor of the drink will not be as strong.;

Brew yaupon tea like any other herbal blend. Boil water and then pour over leaves or a tea bag, and let steep for five minutes. Unlike black, green and white teas, yaupon won’t get tannic from brewing too long. It can even be re-steeped, though with each soaking the tea will get weaker. Yaupon is mainly drunk hot, but can also be served cold and over ice.;

The only thing to remember is that too much of the tisane may cause a slight laxative effect and make one hyper with caffeine. The idea that it will make you vomit is more of a legend and today’s commercial yaupon teas are safe for consumption.;

Regenerative And Restorative Agriculture

Yaupon Tea Company has developed an innovative, sustainable supply chain for its wild foraged Yaupon. Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that helps reverse climate change by rebuilding organic matter in the soil resulting in carbon sequestration .

On our long leaf pine farm, Yaupon grows naturally among the native long leaf pine trees. We manage this farm for the Yaupon, not the pines. This allows us to eliminate the typical environmental practices of burning & herbiciding the land.

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Yaupon Holly Plant Information

Yaupon holly occurs naturally from Texas to Florida and slightly north to the southern part of Virginia. While it tends to thrive in marshy, coastal areas, it has also been spotted in humid forests.

While the yaupon holly grows well on its own in the wild, its a great plant to have in your yard. Birds love to feed on the berries, and its a lovely shrub to add to your landscape not to mention the all-natural caffeine resource right outside your door.

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Yaupon holly should be planted in a location that gets plenty of sun. It tolerates afternoon shade, but it will thrive a lot better and produce more berries in full sun. Yaupon holly wont need special soil unless your soil is particularly poor.

Taller Yaupon Varieties With Nice Shapes And Sizes

How to Brew Yaupon Tea with John “Crawfish” Crawford

Weeping yaupon Pendula,Fulsoms Weeping or Grays Weeping

Straight, sky-reaching yaupon Will Fleming is like a miniature poplar tree. Shadows Female is shaped like a Christmas tree, with dense leaves that make it great for topiary. Dodds Cranberry grows into a roundish shape and isnt so dense unless pruned often for it to branch out.

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Where Do All The Yaupon Cultivars Come From

Most often, yaupon varieties that are sold in stores are cloned offshoots of a special, remarkable specimen. In this case, cloning doesnt mean that they were created in laboratories: every time you take a cutting and grow a new plant, youre simply growing a clone of the original.

Nurseries and horticulturists propagate thousands of plants, and sometimes a slight mutation pops up. If it can be reproduced, a new yaupon variety is born!

Other techniques involve breeding: pollen from a male plant is spread on female yaupon varieties. Seedlings sown from these seeds are grown and sometimes genetics make for an interesting variety. Cross-pollination is the process at work here.

Energy Focus And Stamina

You may be thinking these yaupon tea benefits come solely from its caffeine content, well, youre partially wrong. While yaupon does provide these effects due to caffeine, it also contains theobromine, theophylline and theacrine.

Theobromine has similar, albeit softer, effects to that of caffeine and it also bolsters up the respiratory system.

Theophylline also bolsters up the respiratory system as well as relaxes and opens air passages in the lungs. And theacrine stimulates the central nervous system, leading to more energy, endurance, and focus.

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How To Plant Yaupon

Yaupon can be planted in any garden quite easily if you follow these shrub planting instructions.

  • Yaupon is a very resilient shrub and is not vulnerable to transplant shock.
  • Spring is the best season to plant yaupon, next best is fall.
  • Avoid days of frost and/or heat waves.

Note that there are two main types of yaupon:

  • Tree yaupon that grows into very large shrubs, up to 30 feet tall .
  • Dwarf yaupon that stays rather small, usually around 4-6 feet . When left unpruned, though, even dwarf yaupon holly will keep growing every year until it dies.

For container growing, its always best to choose dwarf yaupon holly, since you wont need to repot it as often.

For hedges, regular tree yaupon varieties is perfect. Some yaupon types are better suited to topping off fence walls with greenery. Others are opaque from top to bottom for full-fledged hedges. Jump to the section about different species of yaupon.


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