Move Over Coffee: The Plant-Based Caffeinated Drink That Has Everyone Buzzing

Written by Abianne Falla

Photo by Stocksy

When you purchase coffee or tea, you are inevitably buying goods from far-off lands that have gone through a lengthy and complex production process. But you don’t have to look that far to get your caffeine fix.

Did you know that there's a caffeinated plant native to North America? Previously viewed as a weed by farmers, yaupon holly is a widespread plant that can be dried and turned into a tea.

Yaupon tea has a deliciously robust flavor and still packs in health benefits similar to those of green tea or yerba mate. Here are five reasons to try yaupon:

1. It’s local.

Consuming domestically harvested products reduces carbon emissions, promotes local job creation, boosts the local economy, increases transparency in the supply chain, and more.

2. It’s better for the environment.

Coffee and tea production, as an industry, is notorious for environmental degradation.

Effects such as rain forest clearing, biodiversity loss, soil damage, and pollution due to the ubiquitous use of fertilizers and pesticides can make these imports an ethically complex purchase. Further, the energy and water required to make a cup of coffee available is extreme.

One study conducted by Dutch researchers found that a single cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water to grow, process, and make at home.

Yaupon, on the other hand, grows abundantly in a natural state in the southeastern U.S. and can be sustainably wild harvested without the use of detrimental growing, harvesting, or labor practices.

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3. It has the same benefits.

Yaupon is almost equal to yerba mate in caffeine and antioxidant content (a cup of brewed yerba mate contains about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee).

Choosing yaupon tea over imported teas can give you the same benefits without the stress caused by the complexities of a lengthy and detached supply chain.

4. It has polyphenols.

Like coffee and tea, yaupon is rich in polyphenols. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there is a strong case for polyphenols in the prevention of degenerative diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Further, a 2011 study published in Filoterapia has demonstrated the specific polyphenols found in yaupon tea to have anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects.

5. Its antioxidants are stable.

One study demonstrated that the antioxidant levels of yaupon tea are not affected by a change in packaging or storage. In comparison, some antioxidants found in green tea have the possibility of being diminished when packaged in a certain way.

You can find yaupon tea online.

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