All the Tea in Austin

Our main reason for going to Austin on this trip was to visit my niece, who has fled the Minnesota winter for warmer climes. When not working at her day job teaching ESL, she and her boyfriend spend all their time on a business they started called Lost Pines Yaupon Tea.

Yaupon tea

Made from the Yaupon tree, a member of the holly family, it is the only caffinated plant/tea native to the U.S.

Here’s how the tea is described on their site:

Yaupon (YO-pawn) is naturally caffeinated. It’s also rich in the related stimulant theobromine (from Greek “food of the gods”), the pleasure molecule familiar to lovers of dark chocolate. While yaupon contains less caffeine than coffee or tea, it contains more theobromine. This more balanced ratio gives yaupon its focused, jitter-free buzz.

Here’s what the Austin Chronicle has to say about them and their tea:

Former coffee drinkers Jason Ellis, Heidi Wachter, and John Seibold launched Lost Pines Yaupon Tea earlier this year. Ellis had been experimenting with and enjoying the naturally sweet beverage for several years, but it wasn’t until the other partners tasted it for themselves that the group realized they were on to something. North America’s only caffeinated plant, yaupon (pronounced YO-pawn) is a cousin to South America’s guayusa and yerba maté. Known as “black drink” to Native Americans, yaupon tea was brewed strong and consumed on a daily basis for centuries. But with the end of the Civil War, and lifting of naval blockades, imported Chinese teas and coffee resumed their status as the beverages of choice.

If you’re in the Austin area, you can find them at local farmers markets on the weekends. You can also purchase the tea online from their website.

It’s delicious!

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Image credit: Lost Pines Yaupon Tea

 

Lady Bird and Lyndon

Today was “Johnson Day” on our visit to Austin, Texas. As in President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ), and his wife Lady Bird Johnson. This city was their home base and launching pad for his political career so their lives and legacies loom large.

In the morning we visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a gorgeous arboretum on the edge of the city. Being that it’s November, there weren’t a lot of flowers in bloom; however we enjoyed the 80+ degree weather (it’s in the 30’s back in Minnesota!).

In the afternoon we headed over to the University of Texas campus to visit the LBJ Presidential Library. It’s an excellent museum, and was a good reminder of fading memories from my childhood.

If you find yourself in Austin someday, I’d recommend both sites.

And of course we topped it off with a wonderful Texas-style dinner at Blacks Barbecue. Best brisket I’ve ever had!

Image credit: Janet Wachter