Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yaup, That's Tea

I was reading a mystery by Susan Wittig Albert, Mourning Gloria, and came across yaupon holly tea, aka ilex vomitoria.   As we can see from the Latin name for it, as well as the common name, it is part of the holly family.  The second part of the name indicates it has been used in the past as a purgative.  Ms Albert says that the leaves and twigs can be dried and used as tea, since it has caffeine in it, as an eye wash, a laxative and a purgative, depending on how strong you make it, and how much you drink.  She said nothing about the taste.  Wikipedia seems to think that the vomiting that was associated with this drink, as part of indigenous people's rituals, was actually learned behavior or caused by another drink.

This shrub can be grown in the Southeastern US.  Perhaps some of you have it growing in your gardens, as it is quite attractive.  If so, and you feel adventerous, try drying and brewing some.  Let us know so we can find out what it tastes like.  From several sources, other than Wikipedia, there seems to be a general consensus that it will not make one vomit.

I was waiting for a mammogram today and came across this quote in an O Magazine:  "True happiness is sustainable delight in the beautiful moments of everyday life."  That delight is a bulwark against sorrow, depression and the host of other things that can make our lives miserable.  Flowers, sunset, sunrise, animals, friends, clouds, light in the dark, cool shadows on a hot day, there are so many.  One certainly is drinking tea.  There is so much there to appreciate.  Warmth for both hands and tummy, scent and sight, a whole host of different tastes.  It is a wonderful gift.

My gift today comes from The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants  and was a gift, as it is a sample they included in my order for their wonderful t-shirt, "Pothead" - go check it out.  The tea is Jasmine Peony Organic Green Tea with jasmine blossoms.  It smells divine - very floral with the tiniest citrus hint.  The leaves are quite long, with lots of jasmine.  Because they are so long, I used a large teaspoon per cup with water about 180 degrees.  The JPT folks say to brew 3-4 minutes.  I did 3.  The leaves are very slow to unfurl, and don't dance around much as they do.  The liquor is a pretty pale yellow, with a very mellow jasmine aroma.

The taste is lovely, definitely jasmine, but neither too floral or too sweet, just mellow, as I mentioned. It is one of the few green teas I've had that is soft and sweet right to the end of a large cup, instead of getting bitter.

I liked this tea company's web site.  There was a lot of information about each tea and a good bit of educational information as well.  Also, a lot of their teas are organic, which I think is a big plus.

Part of the large central fountain in Durlach.  I think I was going to translate this information on the sign, but I haven't yet!


Steph said...

So glad you found the Jasmine Pearl! Would love to see a pic of you in your "pot head" shirt! Oh, scandal!

Alex Zorach said...

I'm hoping to write a post about Yaupon soon...I'm interested in it because it's the only plant I know of that is native to this region and that contains caffeine!