Introduction: Harvest, Roast and Brew Green Tea Using a Common Shrub

Picture of Harvest, Roast and Brew Green Tea Using a Common Shrub

While not actually starving, the old saying "starving in the midst of plenty" contains much truth. Here's how to make a very tasty and nutritious green tea from a common shrub considered by many a junk plant - yaupon holly. There is historical precedent and the quality rivals commercial teas. Yaupon tea is nutritious, refreshing and downright tasty. The flavor lies somewhere between that of Chinese or Japanese green tea and oolong tea.

The process is amazingly simple and quick, with the harvest being the most time consuming part.

With no tannins, there is no bitter aftertaste (but it does contain caffeine).

Step 1: Watch the Video Tutorial

Step 2: Harvest Yaupon Leaves

Picture of Harvest Yaupon Leaves

Make sure the bush being harvested is in fact yaupon! Do not harvest if you're not sure (not all plants are benign).

Step 3: Wash and Drain the Leaves

Picture of Wash and Drain the Leaves

Wash the leaves in water and leave them in a colander to drain. They don't have to be fully dry, but they must not be dripping wet.

Step 4: Spread the Leaves

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Lay out the leaves on a cookie sheet or oven ready tray. A little overlap is OK, but not too much or the leaves won't roast evenly.

Step 5: Roast the Leaves

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Roast in an oven at 350°F (~175°C) for about 15 minutes. Adjust to personal taste (longer/hotter gives a smokier flavor).

Step 6: Crush the Roasted Leaves

Picture of Crush the Roasted Leaves

A sieve works well to regulate the size of the resulting tea. Partially crush the leaves by hand before pushing them through the sieve.

Step 7: Store the Tea

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Use this step to separate any tea "dust".

Step 8: Brew!

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Start with one flat teaspoon of tea per cup in a two cup teapot. Brew for maybe ten minutes.

The strength of the resulting tea depends on the concentration of tea leaves while brewing and length of brew. We have found it varies also according to the size of the brewing teapot. For example, in a small teapot holding only a couple of cups, at least two teaspoons satisfy us. In a four cup teapot, three teaspoons achieve the same per-cup strength.

Likewise, the longer it is left to brew, the stronger the resulting tea. All these variables can be manipulated to match personal taste.


LeslieinMarietta (author)2016-07-26 Here is walter reeves said!

PaleHorseRider (author)2015-02-03

Hold up; Holly tree leaves?

Wash holly leaf dry and crumble and then put in a strainer like normal tea?

Adeldor (author)PaleHorseRider2015-02-10

It must be Yaupon holly - and there is a roasting step. If you mimic the video or pictorial sequence as presented above, you'll end up with "normal" tea.

kakashibatosi (author)2014-10-15

Is their caffeine in this plant?

I do not think that it contains Caffeine.

Adeldor (author)dainamartin2015-02-10

All the literature we have read indicates that it does in fact contain caffeine. An online search confirms this. Have you a contrary reference?

Adeldor (author)kakashibatosi2014-10-15

Yes there is caffeine, but no tannins.

Nice, I love making tea from things I can find in my own backyard :)

I also love making tea even I am a tea addicted

MrRedBeard (author)2015-02-04

I was just listening to a podcast that talked about the yaupon holly being one of a few plants native to North America to contain caffeine.Thanks for the write up.

rickiekagan (author)2015-02-04

Nice, I love making tea from things I can find in my own backyard :)

Deepakjuneja (author)2015-01-21

wow its amazing

d2j5 (author)2014-10-17

Wow, makes me think of Yerba Mate! wish it grew near me.

sandystarr28 (author)2014-10-15

Where does this plant grow?

Adeldor (author)sandystarr282014-10-16

Yaupon is quite prolific where we live in central Texas. It grows naturally in a range from Texas to Florida.

Mielameri (author)2014-10-15

Wow...this looks really good...and makes me want tea

Victor Does (author)2014-10-15

Homemade tea is something special... :) Well instructed and good pictures!

Paige Russell (author)2014-10-14

I look forward to trying this! Thanks for sharing.

About This Instructable




Bio: Focusing on DIY and self-sufficiency, our goal is to provide how-to information, ranging from cooking to construction and machining to micro-controllers - anything within our ability ... More »
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