What if you were surrounded by tea and didn’t know it? In an age where tea is the most consumed drink on the planet after water and is expected to become an $81.6bn global industry by 2026, the possibility of living among an endless supply of ready-to-be-picked, wild tea might seem like a far-fetched dream. But across large swaths of the southern United States, such a reality exists.
For those who know what to look for, what was once the most widely consumed caffeinated beverage in the Americas comes from a plant growing in plain sight, ignored by most, but deeply rooted deep in history and intrigue.
Yaupon (pronounced yō-pon), is a holly bush indigenous to the south-east United States and happens to be North America’s only known native caffeinated plant.