Sourcing Premium Chamomile Flowers
Posted on May 02 2022
Chamomile tea is a calming brew known for its many health benefits, from improving sleep, nurturing digestion, and easing symptoms of stress and anxiety. The caffeine-free floral tea promotes relaxation and well-being, and is a big crowd favorite.
If you’ve found yourself wondering about the origins of chamomile while sipping on your soothing cup of tea, read on to discover more about chamomile; where it comes from, how and when it’s harvested, and why our chamomile is of the best quality available anywhere.
A little background on Chamomile…
While the small daisy-like plant grows in the wild in areas of Asia and Egypt, the multi-purpose plant has a special place In Egypt. It’s been used and consumed as a natural remedy for centuries. During the times of the Pharaohs, the chamomile flower was regarded as a panacea of sorts - used to honor deities, cure ills, and even as a way to embalm the dead!
Rainfall is sparse in Egypt and the only region with thriving vegetation is the area along the River Nile. Egypt enjoys an ideal climate and topography that enables the chamomile flowers to be cultivated and hand-picked at the height of their aromatic potency and natural beauty. The terrain, which is unique to the area, combined with the vast irrigation efforts heading West from the Nile, alchemizes to form a flower that produces a sweeter and more robust flavor than chamomile grown in other areas.
How is Chamomile harvested?
Our chamomile flowers are harvested entirely by hand. The flowers are first carefully picked by local Egyptian women and then the crops are further sorted and sifted by men. After the flowers are picked, they are left to dehydrate in trays on racks in shaded areas to avoid direct sunlight. This helps to preserve the natural aromas and earthy flavors of the plant.
When is Chamomile harvested?
Due to the intensity of the hot Egyptian summers, chamomile does not grow year-round and is cultivated annually. It is planted in the fields between the months of September and October every year, before the onset of the Egyptian winters. The first harvest of the chamomile flowers usually takes place in January, and between the months of January to May, (before things really heat up!) the flowers are harvested from the same field every 25 to 30 days. This means that there are around five to six harvests of chamomile flowers in a year. Once summer rolls around and temperatures get to scorching levels, farmers replace the chamomile plants with summer crops like Peppermint and Lemongrass.
Why is Stash’s Chamomile some of the world’s best?
When you drink Stash chamomile tea, you know you’re getting chamomile that’s grown in the El Fayoum region of Egypt which is known as the world’s best region for growing chamomile. El Fayoum is an oasis and lies about 60 miles west of Cairo. It is legendary for its abundance of flora and fauna and its archaeological sites. Fun fact, the area used to be called the Valley of Whales, aptly named because within its rich soils lies many fossils of prehistoric whales, including an almost intact fossil of a 60-foot-long Basilosaurus.
We only produce teas from harvested flowers that are collected in the latter part of the harvest season, in the months of April and May as these flowers are better suited to be processed into fine cut quality for teabags. After being dried out on trays for days, the harvested dried flowers are then delivered to a facility where they are cleaned thoroughly using a variety of magnets, sieves, and other cleaning tools to remove all foreign materials. Then, the chamomile flowers are cut with processing equipment to meet the rigorous technical specifications that we require. Finally, the flowers are meticulously treated at a state-of-the-art steam treatment center to achieve our strict microbial targets and to prepare the flowers for shipping and export. During the treatment process, extra measures are taken to preserve the sensory and color attributes of the untreated product. We take great care in the sourcing, harvesting, and prepping processes so that you can be assured that you’ll have a great-tasting, top-quality chamomile tea when you’re kicking back with your cuppa.
Flavor Profile & Brewing Tips:
There's a reason why chamomile has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries: its soothing properties have been harnessed to help with sleep, digestion, and stress relief. When brewed, this tea produces a gorgeous golden-yellow cup. The slightly sweet and earthy taste of chamomile is a crowd-pleaser, known to help calm and relax the body and mind.
To brew, bring water to a boil and steep the chamomile for 3 - 5 minutes. Chamomile has an agreeable, mellow taste coupled with an apple-like aroma. The Egyptian varieties of chamomile that make up our tea tend to taste even brighter and sweeter. Adjust flavor by adding a squeeze of lemon or honey. Chamomile is caffeine-free and perfect for a pre-bedtime beverage.