Yaupon, a pernicious type of holly, hated here in East Texas about as much as Kudzu is in the South.
But recently I discovered that it can be made into tea. It is the only plant in North America
with caffeine. It also has the flavor molecule that makes dark chocolate so pleasurable, theobromine,
the food of the gods. So I promptly went into my front yard where it is trying to take over my driveway
and trimmed off a few leafy twigs.
Commercially available Yaupon tea leaves (everything is for sale on the Internet) are sold dried, parched
and even ground up. They claim it's better tasting but I think it is because it is not practical to ship green Yaupon.
It was not looking promising, friends. A french press produced a pale green liquid.
At first, it tasted as weak as it looked. But then it became tastier and tastier.
I drank a whole cup of it. I am not a tea drinker though and can't compare it to regular tea.
During the War Between the States, Southerners drank Yaupon tea because tea and coffee
were difficult to come by. After the war, Yaupon tea was disdained as a reminder of the unpleasantness.
Its latin name, ilex vomitoria, is off putting for sure but false. One theory is that Yaupon was given that name
to prevent competition with real tea. Another theory is that it was used in Native American ceremonies
that resulted in vomiting. That notion has been dismissed because the beverage probably included
additional ingredients that induced the vomiting.
In any event, I did not feel the least bit queasy. It was very pleasant.
Had another cup today. I recommend it.