Intro: 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
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
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
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
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
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
Use this step to separate any tea "dust".
Step 8: Brew!
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.