WASHINGTON - On January 25, 2020, President Joe Biden is poised to sign a $700 billion executive order to push consumers to buy American-made products. This is an expansion of a Trump-era push to the same end. How does tea fit into all this? More specifically, where does Yaupon come in?
Over 250,000 tons of tea, (meaning Camellia sinensis), is imported into the USA each year. America may not be known as one of the most prevalent tea drinking nations, but the penchant for tea-type beverages is growing universally. Thus, 150 million Americans drink tea in some form or another every single day. That's a lot of leaves, and also a lot of coin; $12.6 billion to be exact, (in 2018).
With all that money flying around, and consumer appetites shifting towards tea across all demographics, it is important to know that virtually all the tea consumers drink in the USA is imported. Most of our tea comes from Asia and East Africa, and it is difficult or impossible to grow tea in most parts of the continental United States. By contrast, it is not difficult to grow Yaupon.
In fact, Yaupon is native and endemic to the American Southeast, and has been an important caffeinated drink and sacrament of indigenous people for at least 8,000 years. Yaupon provides all the utility of tea. It's gently caffeinated, rich in antioxidants and health-promoting compounds, and tastes a lot like tea, but with less tannin that results in a remarkable absence of bitterness.
While many tea producing companies are employing fair-trade and good business practices, many are not. Tea is produced in some of the World's most impoverished regions, and many workers in these foreign industries work in poverty that we would not accept for workers on our own soil. Additionally, the thousands of miles between where the tea leaf is grown and where it is ultimately consumed, adds layers of opacity to the supply chain. Consumers can't peel back the layers and examine where their tea comes from, which is the opposite of what today's consumers demand.
Yaupon is unique in that it's all about transparency. It is produced exclusively on American soil, using American workers, farmers, and factories, and producing a tea-style product with provenance that's easy to see, touch, and taste. Companies like Yaupon Brothers, Yazoo Yaupon, and Delta Arts District, are reintroducing these endemic agricultural products to meet the moment. The time is right for American-grown alternatives to tea, and that means it's time for the mighty Yaupon to return to greatness...and it starts with you.
We believe what's in your cup matters. American roots, a better tea.