Tea Time with Mom

Our moms love for daily chai and their ability to take a tea break in their busy days (even if it is just for a few minutes) was a huge inspiration for us in launching Alaya.

So this Mother's Day, we sat down with our (very opinionated) moms to ask them about their favorite tea habits, thoughts about tea in America, and what they want to see for Alaya next.

Asha, Smita's mom (left) and Renu, Esha's mom (right)


Alaya Tea: Tell us about your daily tea ritual.

Renu (Esha's Mom): My daily ritual is to have a cup of fresh ginger chai made with Alaya's Assam Orthodox leaves every morning. I have it after breakfast. I had to stop having dairy years ago bc it didn't agree with me. So I use Trader Joes organic soy milk and that's been the best non-dairy alternative I've found for chai.

In the cooler months, I might have another cup of tea in the afternoon. This time I have cardamom chai with the same Assam Orthodox leaves. Just pop a whole green cardamom in the mortar and pestle. Give it a whack, remove the outer green shell, and I actually have started putting the cardamom powder directly in my cup (it just settles on the bottom while it perfumes the tea), and is refreshing to chew on at the end. They say, cardamom helps with digestion.

Sometimes, at night, I'll have a cup of Fresh Mint tea -- also aids with digestion.

Asha (Smita's Mom): I usually have multiple cups of tea throughout the morning, in little sprints. My dad actually used to call me "aadha cup chai" as a nickname -- it translates to "half cup of tea". I love very strong, black tea, so I start my morning with a half cup of Alaya's Assam Black Tea + Ginger, which is a crushed black tea great for masala chai. I sometimes blend it with Lemongrass + Ginger, to add a little more flavor. I had regular, whole milk and a teaspoon of sugar.

Later in the morning, I'll have another half cup of this tea, brewed fresh. And in the late afternoon, I usually will have one more cup. In the evenings, I love to drink Alaya's Sweet Fennel + Mint tea. It doesn't have caffeine, and won't keep me up too late.

A: What's your favorite Alaya Tea? 

Renu: My favorite Alaya tea is Darjeeling First Flush. I love how delicate and refreshing it is!

Asha: Definitely Assam Black Tea and Ginger. It's strong, spicy, and just like I remember drinking tea back home.

A: What was your reaction when you learned that your daughter was going to be a "chai-walli"? 

Renu: was a bit surprised but excited for her! Since the idea stage of Alaya, I've been witness to her hard work and dedication to the business. And I've loved being able to join Esha for events, tea-tastings, and help out where I can. 

Asha: I also was surprised! I didn't know how much she knew about tea, or that she wanted to learn. I was really proud of her. I also love getting to try different types of teas, and have my very own direct source of tea for my morning routine :)

A: When you first came to the States, what did you think of tea in the US?

Renu: When we moved to the US, in the early 90s, people didn't know much about tea. And all you got in the grocery store were a few standard options of tea bags with crushed leaves and fanning in them. We had that tea for years. But then I too became interested in blending my own teas, and having different types of loose-leaf tea. So I started teaching myself about it. Today, there are more options. But there's definitely room for growth now also. I've always been a tea lover. So for me, it's wonderful to see that tea is having a moment, finally.

Asha: I moved to the U.S. in the late 70s to go to college. And it was so hard to find good tea! The options for me at the time were crushed teabags from the grocery store (like Lipton or Tetley), but occasionally I would bring back my own tea from India. Sometimes, really high quality restaurants would have "afternoon tea" service like we do in India. I would love to see more of this in America! My, mother, father and grandfather were habitual tea drinkers, they only had loose leaf tea and would brew fresh pots multiple times a day. I have loved to see the higher quality, Indian loose leaf that Alaya is bringing to America!

A: What would you like to see Alaya add in the future? 

Renu: Cardamom chai. It's my favorite. Hint hint. 

Asha: I'd love to see Alaya bring on a white tea. They have a bit of caffeine, but are more delicate than black teas. Come to think of it, why don't you make this happen? 

If you're looking for a gift for a mom if your life, check out these gifting favorites: The Alaya Discovery Box ($52), Assam Golden Tippy Tea ($22), and The Morning Mug Gift set ($40).

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