Metolius Tea & Apothecary owner Amy Seidenverg was living in New York and studying the theory of history when she stumbled upon an herb shop in Brooklyn that changed her life's path. The Brooklyn herb shop held a community class, where Seidenverg discovered she had a hidden passion for plant medicine and herbal remedies. Returning to the Pacific Northwest (she is from Bend originally), she studied with expert herbalists, developed a program to teach children about herbal remedies and basic ailments, and began designing a medicinal tea line for Townshend's Tea Company. From there, Seidenverg soon discovered the art of blending for flavor.
"I learned that no matter how effective a tea might be, say, on a sore throat, it won't work if the sick person won't drink it," she explained.
Branching out on her own, with many mentors and guides believing in her and supporting her along the way, Seidenverg grew Metolius Tea & Apothecary, a premium Bend-based tea company.
While sourcing ingredients from all over the world, Metolius Tea & Apothecary incorporates as many locally and regionally-sourced ingredients as possible. Lavender and blueberries are always sourced from Oregon; however, certain plants are best grown and processed in their native countries.
"My favorite region for tea is Assam, India," Seidenverg explains. "I blend with Assam a lot because I feel the malty, rich flavor pairs well with many herbs and spices without getting lost in the background."
Seidenverg also considers the social, environmental, and economic impacts of each ingredient that she buys. But, this doesn't necessarily mean all of her ingredients are certified organic. Some farms are very small and cannot afford certification, Seidenverg says, explaining, "Small farm, family, artisanal teas and herbs carry a vibrant nature that I want to share. That's more important to me than having organic certification."
For flavor inspiration, Seidenverg seeks to blend the medicinal benefits of the herbs with flavors that bring pleasure to the drinker.
"The North blend, for example, is the ideal tea for sugar monsters like myself," Seidenverg explains. Coconut gives the tea a smooth, thick body, cardamom, ginger, and peppercorns give it warmth, while cinnamon and licorice regulate blood sugar levels, creating a blend that feels like a sweet treat yet curbs sugar cravings and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Similarly, the Emma blend incorporates a base of raspberry leaf, believed to be a general tonic for the female reproductive system.
Other than constantly evolving tea blends and flavors, tea enthusiasts can look forward to new packaging from Metolius Tea & Apothecary rolling out this week. Vibrant lavender, gold tipped tea and miniature chocolate chips are clearly visible, so tea drinkers don't need to be told that they're about to have a special experience. They can see it for themselves.