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Yaupon & Ice Cream: The Perfect Match(a)

Yaupon Matcha Chip ice cream is here, y'all!

What's yaupon, you say? Even if you think you don't know it, the chances are good you've seen this evergreen holly somewhere in East and East-Central Texas, in your own backyard, in a neighbor's backyard, or in a local park. Yaupon is a super common native shrub, or as many would call it, a weed. Oh and this weed is also caffeinated.

When nature lovers and environmentalists, Stacy Coplin and Eric Knight, considered starting their own business (now known as Local Leaf), they found inspiration in the wildly available resource right in front of them. Eric is "really into edible plants" and knew that yaupon was utilized by natives as a caffeine source, and so the idea of yaupon tea was born! Brewed and prepared similarly to its more well-known relative, yerba maté, Local Leaf's Yaupon Maté is made simply with wild yaupon, sustainably harvested by Stacy & Eric themselves in East Austin and Bastrop, and water. Their tea is clean and pure (no sugar or flavors added) because they believe that this incredibly unique plant should be showcased on its own!

Local Leaf officially began in 2017 with bottled Yaupon Maté as sold at select Austin grocers and at the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller. Bottled tea was the business until Stacy's love of matcha, combined with Eric's idea to create a shelf-stable yaupon tea product to sell online, motivated them to develop matcha with yaupon. The couple traveled to Japan to learn how to make traditional matcha and, upon returning to Austin, they adapted the process to their favorite weed and released the first ever Yaupon Matcha. This matcha-style yaupon leaf powder has 5X more antioxidants than blueberries, 8X more theobromine than yerba maté, and 1.5X more polythenols than cacao. The high amount of healthy antioxidants is a testament to the benefit of wild harvesting and minimal processing -- growing out in the wild as it would naturally, yaupon picks up a lot of minerals that wouldn't exist in a farmed variety.

In December 2018, we at Lick were excited to learn of Local Leaf's top secret Yaupon Matcha and were itching to get it into our ice cream. What we came up with is Yaupon Matcha Chip, an East-meets-West flavor featuring Local Leaf's matcha and local SRSLY Chocolate chips. We think chocolate and yaupon are the perfect match(a) and we hope you agree! This flavor is available by the scoop and pint at our Austin & San Antonio scoop shops through April 3rd!

In addition to producing unique wild-harvested yaupon teas, a big part of Local Leaf's business is environmental education. Eric leads Edible Plant Walks in the spring and fall that are open to the public. Check their website to take a walk with them!

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