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‘It’s Texan for Tea’: local business woman puts Texas on the map of global tea industry

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we want to spotlight a local woman-owned business that’s steeped in the rich history of Texas tea. In the town of Cat Spring Texas, Abianne Falla rediscovered Yaupon, the only caffeinated plant native to North America, that’s now putting Texas back on the map of the global tea industry.
As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we want to spotlight a local woman-owned business that’s steeped in the rich history of Texas tea. In the town of Cat Spring Texas, Abianne Falla rediscovered Yaupon, the only caffeinated plant native to North America, that’s now putting Texas back on the map of the global tea industry.

CAT SPRING, Texas – As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we want to spotlight a local woman-owned business that’s steeped in the rich history of Texas tea. In the town of Cat Spring Texas, Abianne Falla rediscovered Yaupon, the only caffeinated plant native to North America, that’s now putting Texas back on the map of the global tea industry.

“Cat Spring, Texas is really a storybook town. There is a single train track that runs through the middle of town. There’s a post office next door. It’s tiny, and to our team and our company, it’s home,” said Falla.

Cat Spring Texas lies about 60 miles west of Houston and has a population of about 1,500. A picturesque town with a tight-knit community, it was founded in 1832 and has since weathered storms and droughts alike.

“I think we all remember the driest year in Texas history: the drought of 2011,” said Falla. “In Cat Spring, we were losing hundred-year-old oak trees. People were having to sell off their cattle. Everything looked scorched and withered except for one plant and that was Yaupon.”

Curious about this sturdy plant, Falla and her sister began conducting research on it. They soon discovered that the plant had a largely forgotten history that dated back thousands of years.

“Virtually every tribe along the Gulf Coast had a tradition with Yaupon. It was consumed for millennia,” said Falla. “Then, when the British came, they didn’t want anything to disrupt the power of the tea trade. I think we all remember the Boston Tea Party. So, the legacy was really lost.”

But what exactly is Yaupon? In short, it is the only caffeinated plant native to North America. It can be prepared and served like a tea, with the added benefit of being tannin-free, giving it a smoother flavor than traditional green and black teas. Additionally, Yaupon is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties along with a bevy of other health benefits.

“It is delicious, both hot or iced or cold brewed, and it’s also chock-full of incredible nutrients,” said Falla.

After playing around with different recipes, Falla came up with three different preparation methods: Pedernales Green, Lost Maples Medium Roast and Marfa Dark Roast.

“[We] just started to give away Yaupon in exchange for feedback. Then, we started to go to farmer’s markets. That’s really how we got started on this crazy journey,” said Falla.

Since starting out, CatSpring Yaupon has garnered the attention of many tea lovers as well as a number of awards and accolades. As a woman in business, Falla has learned many lessons that she hopes others can learn from as well.

“As a female entrepreneur, I understand the lack of resources and the challenges that we face as women in the workplace, “ said Falla. “As we’ve grown, we’ve learned more. You won’t learn until you get started. So, take that first step, look for good where you can make an impact at home. It’s going to be all of us doing that together that united is going to make a difference.”

If you want to get a taste of what CatSpring Yaupon is all about, Falla has shared the recipe for a sweet iced take on the brew that’s perfect for any sunny spring day.

ICED YAUPON

Ingredients:

  • 3 pouches or 1 Tbs. loose leaf Marfa Roast yaupon
  • 3/4 gallon of hot water
  • Lemon, mint or orange to garnish
  • Sweetener of your choice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add Yaupon to a pitcher (If making a concentrated brew for serving immediately, double Yaupon)
  2. Add water and steep for 10 minutes
  3. Add sweetener to taste (optional)
  4. Remove Yaupon and cool in fridge
  5. Serve with ice
  6. Add lemon, mint, or orange to garnish

For more information, visit the CatSpring Yaupon website.


About the Author:

Olivia Kolanek is the Features Producer of KPRC 2's Houston Life. She joined the KPRC family in the summer of 2019 after working in non-profit communications for three years. She is passionate about creating content that features good people, good food or a good story. Olivia is a University of Houston alumna, Audible junkie and scuba novice.