Cassia, peppermint leaves, licorice root, sweet blackberry leaves, Indian sarsaparilla, ginger root, and stevia leaves.
December, the final month of the year and a time for warm wishes and a hot cup of tea.
For best flavor, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to a boil (212 degrees). Steep five minutes while visions of sugarplum fairies dance in your head.
- Select an Ingredient:
- Cassia Bark
- ginger root
- Licorice Root
- Peppermint Leaves
- stevia leaf
- Sweet Blackberry Leaves
Often called cinnamon, cassia is a spice with a significantly different flavor profile than true cinnamon. Grown in subtropical climates, its taste varies widely by origin, and quality is judged by the volatile oil content. In Kerinci in Sumatra, cassia bark is stripped and dried year round from a revolving crop of 10 – 12 year old trees that are continuously replanted. Cassia is sweet, hot and spicy and adds fragrance to our chai blend.
Sumatra is located amongst the Sundar Islands in western Indonesia and is the country's second largest island after Borneo. Marco Polo was said to have visited in 1292. The cinnamon trees need to be more than ten years old before their bark is suitable for harvest.
Ginger, used in many cultures to enliven food and drink, is also known for its healthful qualities. A light stimulant, it can treat cold symptoms and sore throat. Ginger is cultivated most prominently in India, China, Indonesia and West Africa. After the plant flowers and the leaves die off, the roots are dug, washed, peeled and sun dried. Ginger’s spicy-sweet flavor adds spark and complexity to our Big Hibiscus.
India is located in Southern Asia and is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations (Indus Valley shout out). It is a country rich in history, culture, religion, geography and so much more, and has been famous since ancient times as a source for spices that continue to be coveted around the world. Our ginger comes from several regions in India and is harvested multiple times during the year.
Botanical from China
Licorice root comes from a herbaceous perennial that has been used medicinally for thousands of years in both the East and West. In modern times it has also become used as an ingredient in various tea blends. Licorice root is utilized to give body and sweetness to our holiday blend, Silent Night.
China is located in Eastern Asia and is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations. It is also the birthplace of tea and continues to lead on innovation in every tea category. Traditional Chinese Medicine is often practiced using an array of botanicals and spices, many of whcich are grown locally, including the licorice root in our pantry. Our licorice comes from several regions in China and is harvested in the spring and fall.
Pacific Northwest Botanical
The world’s most flavorful peppermint comes from the Pacific Northwest, where the summers are hot and dry. Ours is harvested just before it begins to flower, when the oil content is highest. After cutting, the plant is allowed to field dry. Then the stems are removed and the mint is sorted into uniform leaf sizes. With intense menthol and rich chocolate notes, Pacific Northwest peppermint is a real wakeup for your senses.
The Pacific Northwest is a region along the West Coast of the U.S., consisting of the states of Oregon and Washington. The Cascade Mountain Range, which cuts through the region from north to south, acts as distinct divider of landscape and climate, with the west side receiving ample rain, creating a lush evergreen environment, while the east remains arid, creating a high desert environment. While Peppermint has historically been grown on both sides, it is now primarily grown east of the Cascades and harvested in the summer.
Sarsaparilla root from India is unlike sarsaparilla from other origins. It has a taste and aroma that is vanilla-like and creamy, making it ideal for use in chai and blends with rooibos, or simply enjoying by itself. A climbing plant that grows throughout India, the root is dug, washed, peeled and sun dried. The thicker roots of the sarsaparilla plant make the best and most flavorful brew.
Nilgiri translates to "blue mountain". It is a range of mountains that are part of the larger Western Ghats and are located in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India. With over 24 peaks reaching higher than 2,000 meters, it made this area perfect for growing tea and other botanicals, along with providing the British in the Raj era respite during India's long hot summers.
Stevia leaf is nature's best sweetener. Often confused for it's highly processed sweetener namesake, the leaf itself is more delicate and nuanced in its flavor. Still sweet and full of body, we use it primarily in our holiday blend, Silent Night, where it provides a natural sweetness earning it the title of "Candycane in a Cup." It's produced around the world, but we find it's best when grown in India or China.
India is located in Southern Asia and is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations (Indus Valley). It is a country rich in history, culture, religion, geography and so much more and has been famous since ancient times as a source for herbs and spices that continue to be coveted around the world. Stevia is a summer herb, harvested in June through August.
Sweet Blackberry Leaves
Botanical from Bulgaria
Sweet Blackberry Leaf is an excellent ingredient to add a touch of sweetness to an herbal blend.
Bulgaria is a country of eight million people in Southeast Europe that shares borders with five countries and offers beach front property along the Black Sea. While a battleground for the larger surrounding powers during ancient times, this country has found relative stability after World War II and is famous as a source for botanicals, including the sweet blackberry leaf in our pantry, which is harvested in early spring.