Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company Well Rooted Teas offers hand crafted local field and forest infusions. Founder Rachel Banken sources most of her ingredients from within 100 miles of the Twin Cities.
Well Rooted Teas sells four distinctive loose-leaf herbal blends year-round, which are named: Focus, Calm, Up North, and Bee Well. In addition, she offers a tea for every season of the year—each of which brings out its respective seasonal flavor—as well as other limited-edition teas throughout the year. “Nature really does dictate the season of my teas,” said Banken. She has created eleven blends thus far and packages them in biodegradable pouches and reusable cannisters.
Supporting local sustainable farming is a big priority for Banken. About 75% of the ingredients she uses are grown on small local farms that do not use pesticides or herbicides. She forages about 15%, including white pine needles, sumac, nettles, and calendula. Most of the ingredients she incorporates have traditionally been used for their various health benefits.
Banken grew up in Fort Dodge, a small farming town in Northwest Iowa “with a love of fingers in the dirt and an interest in plants, herbs and cooking.” Eating what the family grew was part of her upbringing. After working in public health research, she combined the influences of her childhood with her love for the outdoors and founded her herbal tea business. She wanted to do something in the arena of health that is purposeful and contributes to society’s health, which also incorporated nature and plants. “So this really pulls all the pieces together for me,” said Banken.
The Up North blend is quintessentially Minnesotan. It contains the soft pine needles of the White Pine tree, which is prevalent in the State. “It’s packed with Vitamin C and it has such a tender taste to it. I think it’s the best tasting pine,” said Banken, adding that it was the first ingredient she knew she wanted to have when formulating blends representative of Minnesota. The name “Up North” is in reference to the woodsy northern portion of the State that is a popular vacation destination. The blend also contains spearmint, nettle, and dehydrated maple syrup.
The Autumn blend has sumac berries, which are also characteristic of the region and provide tartness and beautiful bright red accents.
The Gratitude blend, which she sells during the winter holidays, contains sage, local dried apples and cranberries.
Banken is introducing a new herbal blend called Restore, which has shiso, dandelion root, lemongrass, lemon balm, sage and Mexican mint marigold and she plans to introduce more limited-edition teas this year and include Minnesotan hazelnuts and spruce tips.
Banken has a community-oriented mindset in her business practices and donates 10% of profits to local environmental organizations.
Her herbal teas have been well received by locals and can be found in about a dozen Minneapolis area stores, coffee shops and restaurants, at local farmers markets and on her company’s website. She will next showcase her Well Rooted Teas at the Mill City Farmers Market in Downtown Minneapolis Feb. 15.