Remember how I somewhat recently reviewed a Roasted Yaupon? In that post I talked about the coolness that is the plant Ilex vomitoria, and I hinted at how in my next review of a Yaupon I would talk about the coolness that is its cultural history. Well I am finally getting around to it! Yaupon is an old drink, known as Asi or Black Drink, many Native American tribes used it as part of a purification ritual or before meetings (turns out caffeine makes for an alert brain) and it was slurped out of elegantly carved shells. But why, you might ask, is there vomit in its name…well, it was used in a purification ritual that sometimes (but not always) meant time to barf. It is up to a bit of historic debate as to whether or not other emetic herbs were added to the Asi or if the vomiting came from the huge amounts that were drunk, either way drinking a cup here and there luckily won’t make you hug the ivory throne (yay!) I think the most fascinating to me thing is several of the tribes that used Asi did not live in its native area and had to have it imported.
Really I could go on…a lot…Yaupon is a fascinating plant with a diverse history, I highly recommend at the very least reading the Wikipedia article on it. Since last look was at Lost Pines Yaupon Tea’s Dark Roast, now it is time for their Light Roast Yaupon Tea! Without the strong toasty notes of the previous Yaupon, this one I can really smell the greenness of the plant, which is pretty fun. Strong notes of holly leaves, boxwood leaves, hemp, spinach, hay, and turnip greens. It has a sharpness to it, sharp and green with underlying faintly sweet hint of fresh growth.
The aroma of the wet leaves (that are so fun to watch floating on top of the liquid) is sharp and subtly sweet, with notes of cut grass, holly leaves, boxwood leaves and spinach. There is also a distinct hint of turnip root and parsnip at the finish which I find immensely entertaining. The liquid has a real herbaceous tone to it, with sharp notes of hops and thyme mixed with hemp, spinach, and parsnip roots. It has a very delicate sweetness at the finish, but mostly the notes are green and fresh.
Yaupon is a strange tasting plant, that is something I will definitely say about it. Strange does not mean bad though, it just means describing this cup is kinda hard, it starts with an herbaceous sharpness, akin to holly leaves (which totally makes sense) and hops, with a slight bitterness like hops. This moves to cut grass and resinous sap with crushed boxwood, hemp, and spinach. The finish is sweet and uncannily like cooked parsnip and turnip roots, this lingers for quite some time. I find that if you let the cup cool most of the hop like bitterness fades and it is crisp, green, and slightly sweet.