Whether you prefer coffee, tea or both, we’ve got news for you: Changes are coming for you. More and more brands today are creating upgraded tea and coffee experiences. These are not your grandmother’s beverages, in other words. Get ready to add some spices, adaptogens, and sustainability to your kitchen or office beverage collection in 2023.
The Chai Box, named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2021, offers premium, single-origin spiced teas from small-scale farmers in India who harness regenerative practices. BIPOC woman-founded Blume invents superfood latte blends as a coffee alternative in delicious flavors including reishi hot cocoa and pumpkin spice. Live Conscious harnesses superfood ingredients — pre and probiotics and functional mushrooms — in its coffee alternative blend Beyond Brew. DAVIDsTea puts sustainability and social impact first, working to create an ethical, regenerative tea supply chain.
· The Chai Box
The Chai Box offers tasty, spicy chai blends sources from tea farms in India that practice regenerative farming and put women at the forefront of operations. These farms do not use pesticides or preservatives. Sustainability does not stop with sourcing. The company also utilizes 85 percent biodegradable packaging, reusable glass jars, and energy efficient warehouses. Leftovers from chai production are composted into mulch. Lastly, they donate 10 percent of proceeds from sales of the Kick Cancer’s Ass Chai blend to the Cancer Research Institute.
Appearing on Oprah’s Favorite Things list in 2021 provided a huge boost to the startup company. Revenues grew by 200 percent. Operations moved from founder Monica Sunny’s basement to a 4,000-foot production facility. To top it off, the news traveled to India, where The Chai Box was congratulated by the Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal for being innovative and spreading the love of traditional, sustainable chai to the world.
“For me, chai is more than just a drink, it is a part of my culture and heritage,” says Sunny. She founded The Chai Box when she had three boys with whom she wanted to share her love of “family chai time.” She immediately sought to implement responsible sourcing practices to honor the farmers and people of India.
To aspiring entrepreneurs and change makers, Sunny says, “Identify your non-negotiables and commit. Once you do this, every decision you make will come more naturally and align with your business goals and values. For example, as The Chai Box grows, we want to keep the integrity of the small-batch production and high-touch customer contact that we currently enjoy. We are not willing to sacrifice this aspect of our business.”
While only 2 percent of women-owned businesses break $1 million in revenue, superfood latte blends Blume has achieved a $1 million sales month after just four years in business. The latte mixes, which are designed as an alternative to coffee and include superfoods like reishi mushrooms, come in a variety of tasty flavors such as matcha, lavender, and pumpkin spice. Made with real pumpkins unlike other pumpkin spice lattes on the market, this particular blend earned $70K in sales within 48 hours of launching.
BIPOC founder Karen Danudjaja was working as a commercial real estate executive when she had the idea to found Blume. Frequently meeting over coffee, she found her caffeine intake going through the roof. She also felt shaky and unwell from the artificial fillers. There had to be an alternative to drinking coffee, she thought. She longed for a beverage she could enjoy without feeling anxious. Also, coming from a male-dominated industry, she had an explicit desire to create a female-first company. Blume has an all-women team.
“One of the biggest challenges I face is imposter syndrome,” says Danudjaja. “It was one of the reasons I waited so long to raise money. So many women founders struggle with this. It’s something I think about often and actively try to be aware of. I don’t want fear or lack of confidence to govern my decisions. I advise other women to just take the first step. Believe in your ability to adapt, recover, and pivot if that first step isn’t perfect.”
· Live Conscious
Live Conscious is a fast-growing wellness brand that sells products backed by ancient wisdom and modern, clinical science, including collagen peptides, organic vegan protein, and green superfood powder. One of their newest products is Beyond Brew, a coffee alternative that includes pre- and probiotics to support gut health and a blend of six mushrooms to boost cognitive function.
Al Goldman is creative brand manager at Live Conscious. She feels fortunate to work at a company that helps to elevate people’s consciousness and health. The greatest challenge she has faced in her career is coming to terms with limitations – both her own and others’. She says that she is perpetually working to be kind to herself and to recognize that other people also are “limited in their humanness.”
“Stay on course with what is authentic for you,” Goldman says to aspiring change makers. “The minute you try to be like someone else, you immediately step out of the pure place of creation and the power you hold. There is no one like you. Stay in your lane and pave something novel. Be grateful to be exactly who you are.”
DAVIDsTEA sources all its high-quality, sustainable tea blends by making decisions that are fueled by a desire to make the world a better place. The company is committed to ethical and sustainable tea sourcing. It partners with tea workers to ensure safe, fair and equal working conditions. In addition, the sachet tea bags are entirely plastic-free and biodegradable. Finally, the company prioritizes diversity and inclusion, mental and physical health. One of their popular give-back teas, Manoomin maple, supports Indigenous communities.
CEO Sarah Segal says that she thrives on bringing a product to market that she truly can believe in while also enjoying herself and having a positive impact on the world. “At its core, DAVIDsTEA is an impact brand,” she says. “Business has an incredible opportunity to influence how things are done. After years of working in NGOs during university and in the UN afterward, I was excited to be on the other side, working directly with suppliers, trade organizations, nonprofits, and tea growers. Our combined points of view drive progress!”
For example, one of their trusted suppliers is the family-owned Jun Chiyabari tea garden, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. Together, DAVIDsTea and this business develop community programs that benefit not only employees, but also their families. The Nepal Water Project they organized has helped provide four government schools with clean drinking water, impacting the lives of over 3,200 students, teachers, and staff.
“Do something you are authentically proud,” Segal advises people looking to build meaningful careers. “I love not only what we blend and create, but all the people I get to do it with every day. I am continually inspired by our team. My top advice to change makers is to stay connected, especially in this changing digital world.”
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