What is Yaupon? 5 Things You Should Know about This Lost American Treasure
And what exactly do we mean by, It’s Texan, for tea?
First, Texan is our home town dialect, filled with “y’all” and “howdy” that call us back to a time when you could slow down and rest after a long day of hard work.
Yaupon is our hometown plant, so abundant in the South that for decades it was considered a weed because it invaded everywhere. Now, we recognize yaupon for the national treasure it really is and want to share this incredible drink with y’all.
Saying we’re tea may seem redundant. You steep leaves in water and get a drink: that’s tea. But then, yaupon isn’t technically tea: It’s an herbal infusion. Surprised? Yaupon does share some qualities with tea, the second most popular beverage in the world (beaten only by water). It also has some unique traits of its own:
1. Location, Location, Location. Traditional tea all comes from a single plant. Camellia sinensisis the source for all varieties of tea and is native to Asia. All the various flavors and blends of tea come from different preparation methods of this plant. That means all traditional tea comes from across the sea. Yaupon, on the other hand, comes from the plant Ilex vomitoria, native to North America and the only naturally caffeinated plant on the continent. In fact, CatSpring Yaupon is 100% American. Wild-grown, harvested, and packaged right here in Texas.
2. No Tannins. Traditional teas contain a compound called tannins and these are what make your tea bitter when you steep too long. Yaupon lacks tannins and therefore you can steep it as long as you want. You can perform multiple steeps to keep a hot mug going all day and you’ll always have a smooth, delicious cup of yaupon without astringent flavor.
3. Stable antioxidants. Antioxidants are like reserve troops for your body. They come in and remove harmful free oxidants, reducing the risk for multiple diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain dysfunction. Both tea and yaupon possess antioxidants. However, in a 2011 study yaupon had relatively stable levels of antioxidants versus green tea when packaged. This means you get more of the natural goodness with each sip of yaupon.
4. Yummy Roasting. Yaupon and tea obtain new flavors and profiles from different preparations of the leaves. As you’ll find with our Pedernales blend, both tea and yaupon can be enjoyed after simply drying the leaves. You can also roast the leaves prior to steeping them. With roasting, you get different tastes based on how long you roast the leaves. Longer roasts tend to give the blend a toastier flavor. Try our Lost Maples blend, a medium roast, and our Marfa blend, our dark roast, to taste the difference yourself!
5. Foolproof Steeping. Both tea and yaupon are delicious brewed either hot or cold. You can steep yaupon in hot water for a few minutes to get a hot mug of yaupon. Or you can put yaupon in water and refrigerate overnight to wake up to delicious, cold yaupon. And, being from the South, we love a glass of iced yaupon. Simply add a few ice cubes to a freshly brewed cup of yaupon and enjoy.
When you steep a cup of yaupon, you’re enjoying a Southern innovation of an ancient tradition. That’s why we like to say, It’s Texan, for tea. There’s a story waiting for you in every cup.