by Bryon White March 12, 2019 2 min read

From The News-Herald's Paris Wolfe:

I buy local and support small, independent businesses when possible, even when I travel. Unfortunately, my tea addiction hasn’t allowed that, at least until recently.

In a small café in St. Augustine, Florida, I was served tea made from yaupon, a caffeine-containing holly shrub that grows wild in Florida. The infusion made from its dried young leaves tastes like black tea without tannic bitterness and has the pep power of the traditional caffeinated beverages. Its high-antioxidant content is a bonus.

Yaupon tea was popular with indigenous people until colonists replaced it with imported Asian teas made from Camellia sinensis. Camellia sinensis, with little exception, has proved nearly impossible to grow in the New World. Legend has it British colonists were so intent on preserving their control of the tea trade — and its fortunes — that the native yaupon tea was given the distasteful Latin name Ilex vomitoria, thus creating a marketing nightmare.

Growers and distributors such as Yaupon Brothers in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, are working to bring the American native tea back to the table and, in the process, grabbing a share, however small, of the $13 billion U.S. tea market.

Bryon White, co-founder of Yaupon Brothers and self-described “plant nerd,” stumbled on a thick hedge of yaupon in 2011.

“I was working in the garden and came across yaupon,” he said. “I had read old books about native and indigenous peoples consuming it and thought it was cool.”

Bryon and brother Kyle White teamed up to rekindle the yaupon tea market. They started selling yaupon in 2012. A year later, they received their USDA Organic certification. Today, they wildcraft the tea from 12 acres in Volusia County, Florida.

Yaupon Brothers’ four products — fire-roasted, green, chai and lavender coconut — are available in 20 states, Canada and the United Kingdom, in more than 180 retail locations or at yauponbrothers.com. In Ohio, it can be purchased at Mott’s Old Mill Bulk Foods, in Louisville.



Also in News

Oceans of Hope Foundation and Yaupon Brothers - a match made in Heaven (aka the beach).  By Bob Lovelace
Oceans of Hope Foundation and Yaupon Brothers - a match made in Heaven (aka the beach). By Bob Lovelace

by Bryon White October 01, 2020 5 min read

Oceans of Hope Foundation offers adaptive ocean access for individuals with limited mobility the opportunity to catch a wave and surf without limitations.  Recently, they have partnered with Florida-based tea company, Yaupon Brothers to create a unique tea blend, "Abili-TEA".  This blend features Yaupon holly, pineapple, orange slices, mango, safflower, strawberry, hibiscus, marigold, cane sugar and natural flavors for a taste "like a day at the beach".  Half of all proceeds go directly to Oceans of Hope Foundation.
Yaupon Brothers and Sweetgrass Trading: An Entry from Molly Roe
Yaupon Brothers and Sweetgrass Trading: An Entry from Molly Roe

by Bryon White September 18, 2020 3 min read

Molly Roe is the account manager at SweetGrass Trading Company, a subsidiary of Ho-Chunk, Inc., the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Roe is an enrolled member of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. She received her Master’s degree in media communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before joining SweetGrass. In addition to account management, she writes blog posts for the website, represents the company at conferences and acts as an advocate for food sovereignty across Indian country.
What does "Organic" mean? A quick rundown of organic food production
What does "Organic" mean? A quick rundown of organic food production

by Bryon White August 20, 2020 1 min read

The term "organic" is now almost ubiquitous in the grocery store, and the little green USDA organic stamp can be observed on pretty much every kind of product. We have organic toothpaste and moisturizers, drinks and snacks, fruits and vegetables, and even household cleaners and pet foods. But what makes a product "organic?"