Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cat Spring Yaupon Tea

As more and more tea alternatives come on the market, I wonder what effect it will have on traditional tea drinkers.  I recently learned about yaupon tea, which is a cousin to yerba matte.  I have never cared for yerba matte, but I thought I would give yaupon a try.

Cat Springs Yaupon Tea was founded by two sisters.  I recently ordered some black and green yaupon tea from their company.  (For traditional tea drinkers, this is not tea that comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant.)  It is more like a yerba matte or herbal than sassafras tea, as it uses the plant leaves to flavor the water.  According to an article written by JennaDee Detro, one of the sisters, she began researching yaupon during the 2011 severe drought in Texas.  The evergreen holly yaupon still appeared vigorous, even while other trees withered.  She found that Native American traders dried, packed and shipped the leaves over a thousand years ago.  Yaupon tea eventually made way for tea, made from Camellia sinensis.  She had to learn how to dry and prepare the leaves on her own, because so many years were lost between Native American use and today.
According to the brochure enclosed with my shipment, yaupon is the only caffeinated plant native to North America.  It boasts both antioxidants and the jitter-free form of caffeine, theobromine.

Cat Spring Tea provides a second chance for forgotten people.  Some people in this group have difficulty finding work due to the effects of poverty or a disability.  When a flexible and steady job at Cat Spring Tea is combined with a supportive community, they can step away from a lifetime of instability and poverty.  The tea is prepared by American citizens for fair wages and in safe working conditions.  Cat Spring Yaupon tea is grown naturally with only sunshine and rainwater touching the trees.
My tasting trays
The black tea is on the left and the green on the right
Spent leaves, dry leaves and the cup after a four minute brew

As I opened the package, the aroma of the black was reminiscent of a fall day - a bit earthy, with hints of a bonfire.  The green package reminded me of a fresh spring day, when the leaves are just breaking out on the trees.

I brewed both teas in boiling water for four minutes.  The black still smelled earthy, more of a forest, a bit of smoke with a touch of mocha.  The green was definite green leaves.

Yaupon tea does not have the usual mouth coating feel of traditional tea.  It was lighter with distinct flavor.  The black was smokey with no astringency or buttery feel.  The green tasted more like hay, not grassy at all.  Both were very pleasant and slightly sweet.  Yaupon tea was refreshing and the caffeine lift was evident.

Something new on the tea market and it will be fun to watch the progress of this company.

Sips and Smiles,


  1. Thank you for your research in passing along new information.
    Rochelle, ATAA

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I should read more diligently, I removed my original comment because I thought it was regular green tea.
    Wondering if I can get this in Canada, I will source it. I like Yerba Matte, so this should be an interesting tea to taste. Ingrid