The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Sweet Birch Tea

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1983-2012

Issue: August, 1983

Sweet birch trees are easy to identify by taste. Break off a twig and chew on it. If its sweet birch, it will taste like wintergreen.

You can make a tea to serve hot or cold by breaking a goodly amount of twigs into a pot of boiling water, boiling it a few minutes and then steeping it out a few more. The length of time depends on how strong you want the tea.

There are companies who tap the sap from the sweet birch in spring (as maple trees are tapped) and make birch beer from the sap. The product is more of a soda pop like root beer. I don’t think it has any alcohol content. If you’re the adventurous sort, you might like to give it a try for a different type of taste.