Whatever the case in the old days, it's currently simply a blend of
roasted maté and black tea. And according to Celestial Seasonings'
website, an 8 oz. cup contains 40 mg of caffeine, significantly less
than the 65 mg in a cup of their pure organic black tea.
I'm pretty sure that the original formulation had added caffeine to
bring it up to coffee strength. Does anyone know when it changed? (The
amusing thing is that some of the recent Usenet postings are still
referring to it as if it were a dangerous drug... I wonder if any aging
hippies furtively stick it in their shopping carts when no one else is
looking, feeling mildly guilty...)
David Sewell, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA USA
I remember Morning Thunder from the 70s and 80s- one cup was enough to blow
off the top of your head. My mother drank tea and coffee and she said that
MT was much stronger than coffee. I found that it made me too nervous, so I
stayed away from it.
>I wonder if any aging
>hippies furtively stick it in their shopping carts when no one else is
>looking, feeling mildly guilty...)
>David Sewell, University of Virginia
>Charlottesville, VA USA
In the 70's I drank Morning Thunder. I even imagined a television
commercial for the tea.
The setting: circa 1840, in the Western United States,
a flimsy wooden shack with porch sits in a valley on a fairly
Morning Thunder is being prepared by an elderly wife for her
elderly husband as they sit on the flimsy porch
in the background there is a bit of dust and a rumble
The action: as the wife serves Morning Thunder and as the husband begins to
drink, the rumble becomes increaslingly intense, the
house shakes, the husband' eyes bulge out, and a
huge herd of bison stampede around the house, kicking up
plenty of dust
there is a voice shouting: Morning Thunder which echoes off the
mountains that form the valley
the camera focuses one powerful Bison whose image fades into
the powerful Bison on the side of the Morning Thunder Tea
I remember this description on the side panel
"This blend has the power of a thousand charging buffalos.
So when your get-em-up won't, Morning Thunder will!"
I like yerba mate though, I drink it when I shovel snow for that extra
boost. Oh yeah, tastes good too :-)
I never heard that there was caffeine added to it, but certainly heard that
mate can deliver significantly more caffeine than coffee (perhaps with the
exception of espresso or "Turkish" coffee). I always drank it with honey to
cut the smoky taste.
Have you asked the Celestial Seasonings folks?
Yep. No response yet.
Stashed away... That reminds me: nobody ever answered a question I posted on
this newsgroup back in '97. So, courtesy of Google, here it is again.
The Stash Tea Company of Portland, Oregon, has been around since the
early '70s. I always assumed that their name came from what "stash"
would have meant to, say, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. But lately
I've noticed that their premium tea boxes carry a little history about
how great clipper ships sailed around the globe in the 19th century
carrying precious tea, concluding:
Picked from the top two leaves and the bud of the tea plant, then
specially dried and graded, these precious teas became known as the
"Captain's Stash", his private reserve. We gave this same name to
the premium line of specialty teas that today carry the Stash label.
Okay... only problem is, the Oxford English Dictionary has nary an entry
indicating this as a 19th-century meaning for "stash" as a noun. In
fact, the OED entries for "stash" as a noun don't appear until the
Supplement, and they are pretty much what you'd expect: attested as
early 20th-century criminal slang in the U.S. for "hidden goods", and
acquiring the specific meaning of narcotics by the 1940s.
So is there any basis for the "captain's stash" story, or is it
an attempt to give respectability for what was originally a
young company's idea of a clever countercultural name?
To answer the question- yes, captains did have their stashes of tea. They
also had stashes of wine, beer, and ale. Coffee, too. In the Aubrey/Maturin
series, Aubrey is always having food and drink brought out from his private
supply. These were goods used to entertain officers and visitors aboard
ship, and to keep the captain happy during long sea voyages.
In fact that's what the whole Mutiny On The Bounty revolves around:
the Captain's barrel of cheeses....one or two had gone missing (perhaps
to his own home, it was never established who did the actual pilfering)
and, because the 'captain's private reserve' was also (in this case)
supposed to be available to the botanists (who were dunnage until they
got to where the breadfruits were) and it was a Navy vessel, someone,
not Bligh, must own up to taking them because there was no way Bligh
was going to admit it...if he did take them, that is.
And that was in Portsmouth or Southampton (IIRC) and set the tone for
the whole trip culminating in the mutiny.
[In this case the 'Captain's Stash' was RN paid for, but in private
vessels the Captain of the vessel usually had set food and drink aside
both going out and coming home (not to mention various non-food items
picked up enroute...), and the tea brought back as the Captain's own
fits into this catagory.]
And the reason 'Stash Tea' takes its name is from this practice and that
the tea brought back thusly was supposedly of a higher grade than
the tea brought back as general cargo.
Question is, were they *called* "the captain's stash"? As I noted in the
original question, the use of the term "stash" as a noun in this sense
seems to date from the 20th century. If you search "captain's stash" on
Google you get about 10 hits, none historic. And for the heck of it I
just searched for "stash" in some of the full-text databases of English
fiction and drama we have at my university. Nothing connected with
captains turned up. (The word "stash" appears 3 times in "Moby Dick",
but always as a verb, as a synonym of stow or hide.)
I still think that a company founded in Oregon in 1972 probably wasn't
thinking about clipper ships when they named their bulk herbal tea
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Pomilio et al (in Phytochem 13(4):235-41. 2002) tested 14 brands and
bulk maté and found caffeine levels of 0.78 to 1.35% on a dm basis
(steeped for 5 minutes). Equivalent for a typical UK black tea blend
is 3%. Maté theobromine was a tad higher than tea at 0.31 to 0.66%
but even combined (their physiological effect is similar) maté could
only boast 2.01% of "thunder" - more a "morning zephyr" compared with
a Kenyan clonal at 5-6% caffeine.
True that, like coffee the caffeine in maté is "raw" and its effect is
not softened by the counterbalance of polyphenols and theanine as it
is in tea. But as for its thunderous performance I suspect the power
of Celestial's advertising rather than the much hyped but totally
incorrect myth about the caffeine content of maté.
Incidentally the work of Pomilio is not alone in showing a low
caffeine content for maté. Filip et al (1998) showed 1.9% (boiled in
water for 20 minutes) and Saldana et al (2002) showed just 0.3-0.6%
Nigel at Teacraft