Traditional plain iced tea is refreshing but when you want something different, try these teas grown or blended right here in Georgia.
A Tea That’s Native to Georgia
You see yaupon hollies used in landscaping quite a lot, especially the weeping form. It’s a plant widely found in the southeastern United States and it grows well for us. But did you know it’s the only plant native to North America that contains caffeine? Lou Thomann founded the Yaupon Tea Company in Savannah to harvest wild-grown yaupon and bring it to us in the form of tea. His team harvests yaupon leaves, then dries and roasts them. He’s bringing Asi tea to market in five flavors – Ginger Revival, Morning Mint, Ancient Wellness, Flower Power and Blissful Chai. We tried them all and we particularly like the Mountain Mint. Yaupon has a natural sweetness in the leaf, so no sweeteners are needed. Boxed tea bags and loose tea are available right now at yaupontea.com and bottled tea will be in the market later in July. $8.49 per box of 20 tea bags. Also available at amazon.com.
Down in Macon, Andi and Roland Biron are mixing up herbal teas with descriptive names like “Love & Laughter” and “Inspiration.” Andi has a master’s degree in alternative health and is the one who designs the herbal mixtures, combining ingredients in order to help you achieve a particular state of mind. She says their teas have “therapeutic benefits that taste great.” We tried Confidence with its blend of lemongrass, holy basil, peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm, sage, ginkgo biloba and gotu kola. A little bit of stevia sweetens the mix. We tried it iced but can just imagine how delicious it will be when the weather turns cool. Each 22 gram container holds 12 pyramid-shaped tea bags. Their “Worryfree” blend won the 2017 Flavor of Georgia beverage award. $9.90 per 22 gram tin. Available at the Buford Highway Farmers Market, 5600 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, 770-455-0770. The Chicken House, 324 E. Broad Street, Griffin, 678-603-1064. bironteas.com.
Tea with Georgia-Grown Turmeric and Ginger
In 2012, Ross Harding and the folks at Verdant Kitchen began growing ginger, galangal and turmeric on Lebanon Plantation, just outside Savannah. The certified organic farm was once part of a 1756 land grant from England’s King George II to a group of French colonists. Harding saw the land and thought it would be perfect for growing those rhizomes (yes, it’s the rhizome we harvest, not the roots) and now they grow enough ginger, galangal and turmeric to produce ginger syrup, turmeric-infused honey and almost three dozen other products. We tried the Ginger Turmeric Green Tea, a loose tea blend of just those three ingredients – ginger, turmeric and green tea. You can drink it because you think ginger and turmeric are good for you, or you can drink it because it’s delicious. There’s a ginger mint blend as well. $12.99 for a 2-ounce tin. Available at the Buford Highway Farmers Market, 5600 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta; Star Provisions, 1460 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd., Atlanta; Australian Bakery, 48 South Park Square, Marietta and Wahoo Wine and Provisions, 1036 W. College Avenue, Decatur. verdantkitchen.com