Combine first 7 ingredients in a pot. Peel and core the pears (a melon baller works well to core the pear from its blossom end). Trim a little from the bottom of each pear so they will stand up. Add the pears to the orange juice mixture, arranging them so that they are submerged by the liquid.
Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the pears are just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Store the pears in the syrup in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, set pears on dessert plates and drizzle with a little poaching liquid. Dollop some whipped cream beside each pear, garnish with mint and orange zest, and serve.