I have been trying to cut down on my coffee intake, as I have found myself reaching for a cup or two more than usually now that the girls are getting up at the crack of dawn. While they are waiting up bright eyed and bushy tailed, I find myself dragging in the AM, as I have trouble sleeping at night due to all the caffeine I have consumed throughout the day. And, by mid-morning when the girls go down for nap (on a good day), I find myself pouring a second cup of coffee just to give me an energy boost. Then, they wake up, and I am dragging from the caffeine jolt that is wearing off. Not fun at all. But, thanks to a recent review opportunity of a product that was created by a mom, Bhakti Chai, I have been slowly switching out my second and third cup of coffee during the day with a ready to drink Chai beverage, which is served chilled.
While visiting India in 2002 to research a movement on the principles of Bhakti, or devotion through social action, Brook enjoyed invigorating fresh spicy Chai. But, upon her return she was disappointed when she couldn't find similar fresh brewed chai to enjoy. So, what did this single mom to twin boys do? She began brewing her own steamy, fragrant chai. And, in 2007, she started producing an artisan chai with sustainably sourced ingredients that was steeped in social change. It didn't take long for her to develop a following, as her craft-brewed Fresh Chai is so refreshing and addicting (in a good way). :-)
Fast forward 7 years and Brook is now a multi-million dollar enterprise. :-) Seeing success stories like Brook's only adds fire to my desire to work hard and succeed in whatever I set out to accomplish. She had a need -- wanting a fresh tasting chai drink like she enjoyed while in India, and took it upon herself to brew her own using just five ingredients that are Fair Trade, Organic, Non GMO, and Vegan.
"Bhakti Chai infuses fresh-pressed, organic ginger and fiery spices into Fair Trade Certified black tea for a chai that energizes the spirit."
And, she is sharing her business success by donating generously to non-profits that work to empower women and girls around the world, which I have to commend her on. With the way that the economy is nowadays it is hard to find companies that are thriving like Brook's, and that allow for them to continue to donate and help out others in need. Kudos to her and all that she does. :-)
I was sent three Bhakti Chai drinks to sample -- Almond Blend (Original Bhakti Concentrate blended with fresh almond milk), Toasted Coconut Almond Blend (Blending Unsweetened Bhakti Concentrate with fresh almond milk and a decadent toasted coconut cream) and Original (Antioxidant rich black tea, fresh ginger, spices and a touch of soy milk).
Out of the three, I have to say my personal favorite was the Almond Blend Iced Bhakti Chai blend. Instead of having a touch of soy like the Original which I first sampled, this iced chai drink is blended with fresh almond milk. Mmm, I am getting thirsty just thinking about it. In addition to tasting great, this drink is also packed with protein, which as a busy mom of two who sometimes skips a meal or is on the go all day, is a great plus! Each of three Iced Bhakti Teas I was sent to sample, however, had a nice spice to it that you expect from a good Chai drink. But, unlike other brewed Chai drinks from coffee shops, this one actually tastes fresh and has a flavor that is simply amazing. I have never tried anything like it. The soy milk, in addition to the fresh ginger, spices and rich black tea make the perfect on-the-go drink to take with you while going to drop or pick the kids up from school, or simply take out of the fridge and drink when you are looking for a pick me up that will not leave you crashing like coffee does.
And, after running of out the Bhakti Chai drinks and finding myself craving a good Chai drink, I found myself disappointed after shelling out $5 for a specialty drink at a local coffee shop. It tasted nothing like the craft-brewed Chai drink Brook offers. So, what did I do? While visiting with my family in MA a couple weekends ago, I had my parents watch the girls while my husband and I heading into Cambridge to Cambridge Naturals to stock up on Bhakti Chai ready-to-drinks.
In addition to the three flavors I was sent to sample from Brook, I also picked up the other three ready-to-drink varieties which include Semi-Sweet (Same spicy ginger goodness with half the organic cane juice), Decaf (Same Bhakti bliss without the caffeine) and Coffee Blend (Creamy smooth coffee backdrop to the warm gingery cardamom flavors of Bhakti), which I have been drinking in the AM instead of brewing a pot of coffee. On the recent muggy summer days, there is nothing like a refreshing iced chai to get your morning started right. :-)
How were the other flavors I picked up? Let me just say, "Wow!" They were so tasty. While I loved being able to pull a Bhakti Chai drink out of the fridge to drink, my husband found himself making homemade smoothies with them in the AM. He, too, loved the spice flavor of the Chai drinks, and agreed that this is unlike other so-called Chai drinks we have tried -- this one is way better!
Even though my only closest store that carried Bhakti Chai is in MA, I don't mind the drive. I am from the Boston area, and it gives me an excuse to go home and visit with family and friends, while also stopping to stock up on great tasting craft-brewed Chai.
To learn more about Brook's line of Bhakti Chai drinks, inlcuding the ready-to-drink I talked about above, packaged teas and even ice cream, visit http://bhaktichai.com/. While you are there, don't forget to check out the recipe section, where my husband found inspiration to making tasty at-home Chai smoothies -- http://bhaktichai.com/recipes/. There are even recipes to make scones, Bhakti Chai Yerba Mate Dry Tea With Honey & Lemon, Rooibos Iced Tea With Fresh Watermelon, and A vegan, spicy, Indian-inspired chili infused with the flavors of Bhakti Chai.
I love when I stumble across a product that can be utilized and enjoyed in a variety of ways. From drinking right out of the bottle, to adding to a refreshing drink or smoothie, to adding a unique spiced flavor to meals and desserts, Bhakti Chai will have you thinking about other fun ways to make family and friends, sit up and take notice of this delicious and oh so tasty product line. :-)
If you love Chai drinks, and want to experience what a true Chai drink should taste like, then you will want to pick up Bhakti Chai the next time you go food shopping. To find a retailer near you who carries Bhakti Chai products, check out the online store locator http://bhaktichai.com/find-bhakti/.
In addition to checking out Brook's website to learn more about her Chai drinks, please take a moment to enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with her. I was truly inspired not only as a mom, but also an entrepreneur after reading Brook's responses to my questions. She has such a great outlook on life, and I can see why see is nominated for Entrepreneur Magazine 2014 "Entrepreneur of the Year"
You can vote for Brook by clicking here -- http://www.entrepreneur.com/e2014
And, now my Spotlight on Mom interview with Brook Eddy of Bhakti Chai...
Name: Brook Eddy
Company Name/Product/Service: Bhakti Chai / Craft - Brewed Fresh Chai
Company Location: Boulder, CO
Company Website: www.bhaktichai.com
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/bhaktichaifans
Twitter Handle: @BhaktiChai & @Brookbhakti
Age of Company: 7 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy - mix them, mix them! - HAFIZ
Favorite Book: Just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and it was tantalizing; Anything by Arundhati Roy, Ruth Reichl, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Isabel Allende.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
How many children do you have?
I have 10 Year old twins – Veda & Ryzen. They are the best thing in my life and bring so much love and vibrancy, but they’re also like an old married bickering couple that I have to intervene with and do couples counseling constantly.
Your hobbies? Etc.
Yoga, Chess, Hiking, Soccer, Drinking, Cooking, Starring.
Briefly explain your business. How did it come about?
Drawn by my dedication to social change and passion for travel, I journeyed to India in 2002 to study the principles of Bhakti, or “devotion through social action.” In remote regions in Northern India, I witnessed fishing villages serving their communities with selfless devotion and a fresh, spicy chai that incited and united their efforts. Upon my return to the U.S., I was unable to find the invigorating chai from my travels and began brewing my own. The simplicity of my craft-brewed artisan chai was novel in its field—where chai powders, pumps, and syrups saturated the American market—and my brew gained fame around Boulder. In 2006 as a single mother of twins, I decided to build a company on the ideals of Bhakti, producing a micro-brewed chai steeped in social and environmental change. My vision of fusing fresh, sustainably-sourced ingredients and triple bottom line business continues to permeate our spicy blends: Bhakti Chai is Fair Trade, organic, non-GMO, vegan and produces zero waste. Every year, we donate generously to non-profits empowering women and girls and give back to communities around the world.
What is a typical work day like?
6:45am – Get up and get kids breakfast, make lunches, get kids ready for school
8:00-9:45 Take kids to school and then hit a hot yoga class or take dog for a hike.
10:30am - pm – Get into office and work on responding to 100+ emails. Write reports, work on spreadsheets, financial documents, create presentations for investors, banks, retailers, distributors, attorneys, accountants, vendors, write copy, develop new products and new packaging, work on marketing, social media, PR initiatives, and create directives for employees. Usually have 2 face-to-face meetings a day with outside organizations and 1-2 scheduled calls a day for business development.
6-9pm – Make dinner, do homework with kids, put to bed, clean, do laundry.
9-12pm – Respond to more emails or work on documents or presentations before bed.
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?
Money and managing cash flow. I wasn’t able to secure a credit card or bank loan so the first 4 years were hand to mouth. I couldn’t pay myself, yet needed to support my family so worked a full time job until I was able to raise capital from angel investors. The first two years were extremely hard as I struggled to brew, sell, market, brand, and procure ingredients while working a full time job. Hiring more and more people I would think would make life easier, but then there are just new challenges and more work with constant growth.
What did you do in your past work life?
I have a graduate degree in Social Policy and Non-Profit Management from the University of Michigan. I spent my past life working for social change as Development Director and Marketing Manager for nonprofits, businesses, and NGOs. I also had a brief stint as a personal chef, writing coach, and non-profit consultant.
What have been some of your major successes?
Having all of our products so well received! Winning numerous prestigious awards for Best Chai, Best Company, Best New Products. Being a Certified B Corp and proving a company can be profitable, sustainable, fun, and provide financial support for organizations that support women and girls is a big success.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
There is not an option to quit. As hard as days have been or how many tears were shed, I have had to keep going. Not only to support my children, but to continue to provide for my employees and now, investor members.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
My wine drinking practice, hot yoga practice, strong supportive and fun community of friends, spicy Indian food, and sleep!
What is next for your business?
Continued geographical expansion and product innovation.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?
Listen to the quiet but salient voice inside you and seeks change, challenge, and opportunity. It may be a whisper, but your intuition will help you make that leap into the unknown. Then, you have to stick with the pain, sleepless nights, stress, uncertainty, nonstop stress, financial nausea, and constant obstacles – but it’s your dream on the other side!