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Delta Arts District Mural, "Midnight at the Crossroads" by Devin Liston. Photo by Nolan Dean.

Our Story

It all started in Mississippi...

Yazoo Yaupon was founded in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the hometown of our founder and co-CEO, Oliver Luckett. After a successful career in Hollywood and five years living in Iceland, Oliver returned to the Mississippi Delta to be close to his father, and to help boost the local economy.

Back in his hometown, Oliver soon learned about the amazing Yaupon Holly tree, America's only caffeinated plant, its roots in indigenous culture, and its prolific growth throughout the Mississippi Delta…including in his dad’s backyard!

(Yazoo Yaupon effigy maze in Clarksdale, MS at sunset.)

Oliver was soon introduced to Bryon White, the co-founder of Yaupon Brothers American Tea based in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. They joined forces to create Yazoo Yaupon, which aims to elevate an entire region using this incredible homegrown tea to promote inclusion, transformation, and revitalization in the cradle of American culture - The Mississippi Delta.

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About Us

Yazoo Yaupon, along with our sister company Yaupon Brothers, uses sustainable agricultural practices and the latest in natural product research to bring back to life a delicious tea filled with Caffeine, Theobromine, Theophylline, rich in Polyphenols, and lacking the bitter tannins found in imported teas. In addition to being an antioxidant-rich superfood, Yaupon tea is naturally sweet and doesn’t need sugar to taste good. (We do, however, love our tea with a little bit of our friend Morgan Freeman’s ‘Hi, Honey’ Mississippi Delta clover honey from his private bee sanctuary!)

We are committed to regenerative agriculture practices in the Mississippi Delta where the native Yaupon Holly grows and thrives in the sandy loams and fertile soil of the Mississippi Delta. And since Yaupon Holly doesn’t need all the pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides that many other crops need and can be harvested 2-3 times per year, it is a healthy and smart alternative crop for the small and independent farmers we work with through our farm program.

We believe Yaupon is simply a better tea. It’s native to the United States, it’s naturally sweet and caffeinated, and since it's not being imported from the far reaches of the globe, it’s got an extremely low carbon footprint.

Yaupon/Cahokia Cup

For thousands of years, indigenous people in the Southeast United States drank Yaupon tea - known as the Black Drink - for mental clarity, physical energy, and purification rituals.

Researchers made the discovery in 2012 when Yaupon residue was found on pottery cups in the pre-Columbian Cahokia settlement near modern day St. Louis. You’ll notice an homage to the Cahokia cup on our logo!

(Cahokia Cups - Source: https://www.pnas.org/content/109/35/13944)

Yaupon was also popular with colonists and early American settlers before it faded into obscurity after a purposeful campaign by tea importers to effectively ‘cancel’ and slander Yaupon - the competition.

The good news? Yazoo Yaupon is helping bring back this delicious and healthy tea. Our goal is to make Yaupon your new favorite tea!

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