Who doesn’t love chai (tea)? I would say everyone, hands down. Now when I say everyone, I mean globally as well. Chai has either become a staple diet or a necessary refreshment, that needs to be on everyone’s kitchen shelf, for sure! The introduction to ‘chai latte’, in the western world actually became a rage. Starbucks started incorporating chai latte’s in their menu and it sold like hot cakes. Well, it does go well with cake, no doubt.
But the genesis of Indian Tea in the west began with the blend of tea, copious amount milk and Indian spices, and it wasn’t the worst thing that was introduced on their menu and their taste buds.
Let’s talk about the chai culture in India, which is quite effervescent and spread far and wide. You might not find shops selling water as often as you’ll find a chai vendor in every nook and cranny of every city. The bustling cities actually find true respite with a glass of chai, at the end of a rough day.
But we actually got a chai culture shock when Brook Eddy, a hippie from North America, flew in to India in 2002, after listening to a NPR story, on a movement called Swadhyay, Brook got super inspired by the way people took to the movement but the reach was still minimal.
“Swadhyay seemed like this really cool movement that 20 million people were practising but no one had heard of. At the time, I was asking myself questions like, how can we make our nonprofits stronger? Can we make businesses more like nonprofits?”
And so when Brook got to India, she founded ‘Bhakti-Chai’, an organisation that recorded $ 7 million in revenue in 2018! It all started when Brook started travelling all across India, going from one village to another, tasting and trying all sorts of chai’s, with their flavours and aromas. Soon from a chai lover, she became a chai connoisseur and the rest is history (and not the best news for us Indians).
Brook, after touring India and increasing her data base on all chai related trade secrets started her own booming business in Colorado, United States, where she started brewing her own tea and it definitely picked up a lot of momentum.
By 2007, Eddy began selling jars of her one-of-a-kind fusion, out of the back of her car. Her homemade brew started gaining attention among friends and neighbours.
She soon started brewing recipes for retailers and cafe’s, that were doing seemingly well, with her neighbours. Her soul aim was to give people a taste of India, with an ounce of Bhakti!
“I realized the recipe I had crafted for myself, a fiery fresh ginger chai, could be produced for cafés and retailers to bring people not only ‘India in a cup,’ but build a mission-driven company on the tenants of bhakti.”
Since she’s started the ‘Bhakti Movement’, in the US, she has raised over $10 million from angel investors and private equity firms and simultaneously, she has launched ‘GITA’ ‘Give, Inspire, Take Action To Help The Homeless, Needy And Destitute’, in multiple way. So far the organisation has donated $500,000. But that’s not all.
“I’m a white girl born of hippie parents in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and then raised in Michigan, right? I shouldn’t really have this pulse for India, but I do. I love the chaos and vibrancy. Every time I come I’m introduced to something new. It’s just real,“ Brook said upon talking about her love for India.
Her recent revenue, from Bhakti-Chai alone stands at (hold your breath!) $35 million (INR 227,412,5000), since its inception and we’re actually thrilled and amused, the revenue chai has generated in another country, altogether!
Kudos Brook, you’ve really taken the chai culture up a notch, while making millions in a trillion dollar industry!
Brb, need a chai break!