our pacific northwest mint
The History of Mint
“Mint” descends from the Latin word mentha, which is rooted in the Greek word minthe. In Greek mythology Minthe was a nymph who was transformed into a mint plant. In Rome, Pliny recommended that students wear a wreathe of mint since it was thought to “exhilarate their minds”.
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach aches and chest pains; it is commonly used in the form of an herbal infusion as a home remedy to alleviate stomach pain. In addition, mint is a popular ingredient for tea blends or herbal infusions.
Morocco is a country famous for its mint tea and tea culture. Prepared in a samovar, the Chinese green tea (usually Gunpowder Green Tea) is brewed strong and concentrated in boiling water. The tea is heavily sweetened with sugar and a few fresh mint leaves.
Fresh off the Fields
Stash's history has been infused with mint since the very beginning. One of Stash Tea's original distribution locations was in the area of Portland, Oregon now known as the Pearl District. "Back then, the neighborhood could have been called the Mint District, given all of the thousands of pounds of peppermint we processed in that particular building," a Stash founder was quoted as saying.
Stash has maintained its close relationship with local mint farmers and we source all our mint exclusively from Washington and Oregon fields. As a result, Stash is able to offer the freshest and most flavorful mint teas. The high quality of our mint is determined by a number of factors:
- excellent soil conditions
- fertile growing region
- hot days during the growing season
- plant maturity and weather conditions during harvest
Many of these factors are related to weather and climate, which are out of the farmer's control. So ultimately for farmers and suppliers, their greatest challenge is to try to predict weather patterns as accurately as possible to deliver the most consistent and highest quality mint possible.
A special note from our Tea Blenders
Peppermint is harvested by cutting the plants and laying them in rows to be dried naturally by the sun, a process that can take up to five days. Our supplier told us that an unexpected thunderstorm during this time can mean the difference between bright green leaves from the field and brown leaves that have been stained by the rain. The peppermint is then picked up from the field with a combine (and on our second trip to the fields, we were actually able to ride in the combine!), and the leaves are stripped from the stem. Then the dried leaves are transported to the processing facility for further grading and sifting into tea bag cut, before it’s sent over to our blending room. One summer, a few of us were lucky enough to take a trip over to our peppermint and spearmint supplier located locally in the Pacific Northwest. Only a two hour drive away from Stash headquarters, we soon arrived and were surrounded by vast mint fields filled with young, immature crop. When we returned a few months later, we actually got to experience the harvest and pick mint leaves ourselves!
The weather conditions during harvest definitely play a significant role on flavor. Our supplier tastes every sample from each field in order to select a flavor that reflects our particular standard. From there, we compare these crops to our own standards, and perform physical testing to make sure the cut and moisture levels are acceptable. We take our peppermint very seriously! It can vary in flavor from batch to batch, and we and our suppliers do our absolute best to make sure that it stays the same menthol, chocolaty and smooth flavor our customers have come to expect from us.