The Bhakti Brand: Beautiful. Brazen. Brilliant.

Written by Elizabeth Powell for Eat.Drink.Boulder ~ November 12, 2012

Intimate Confessions

bad tea w quoteSorry, Regular Tea, I’m just not that into you. You can tempt me with your gorgeous packaging and your delicate scent, but you just don’t bring the right texture and mouthfeel to the table. And I’ve given you an all-out international effort…apple chai in Turkey, mate (both bitter and sweet) in Argentina, chamomile in France. The connection just isn’t happening. The Turkish affair was warm and sweet but not commitment-worthy. The mate offering is a glorious way to make friends, but definitely an acquired taste I didn’t wish to acquire. Years later, that sweet American number from Oregon had me intrigued for a time—the texture was enhanced by the creaminess of milk—but that overly saccharine interlude faded in a few months. I wanted to like it, but it was like awkward first sex…you just know it’s gotta be better than that.In love with Bhakti

Then I moved to Boulder and became intimate with two locally brewed Indian-style chai teas, taking them home on half-gallon benders, enjoying mutually respectful engagements that lasted a few years. Indecision reigned, and I stooped to occasionally drinking both at the same time. I don’t think they minded. In retrospect, although I owe them for exposing me to the delectable mixture of ginger, cardamom, black tea, sugar and milk, they were but stepping stones to True Love. Bhakti Chai Love. Now this was Tea with a capital B! Not only is Bhakti Chai worthy of an invitation home for the holidays, it inspires soft purrs and heart-warming joy. On certain days you may even recall the line “I’ll have what she’s having” from When Harry Met Sally. And I’m not alone in my devotion-bordering-on-obsession. For thousands of loyal fans, Bhakti Chai has become part of who we are. And this, my friends, is the key to brilliant and successful brands.

Brand Loyalty

Here’s the deal: people connect strongly to brands that reflect their values, identity, and desire for connection. Strong brands anticipate needs and transform desires. Pay a visit to Bhakti’s Facebook page and you see wall posts exclaiming “LOVE!!!”, “amaazzinngggg!!!!”, “yummiest tea on the planet”, “I’m so addicted”, and “thanks for getting me through my first trimester”. Wow. This display of brand loyalty is nothing short of amazing, and BhaktiChai.com artfully and humbly welcomes you into the fold. A brilliant feature on their Facebook homepage is a promotion of “Iced Barackti Chai”, and the web site has an impressive collection of mouthwatering photos and recipes using the liquid magic. Good brands inspire loyalty, return visits, desire, and the “I gotta have it NOW” mantra that further solidifies the brand loyalty. Hmmm…kinda like that oxytocin high you feel when you’re in love! Good job, Bhakti peeps. Bhakti Chai’s founder, Brook Eddy, is committed to social action (Bhakti means “devotion through social action”) and has forged creative partnerships with other amazing brands, further solidifying a loyalist following. The company walks its talk through numerous charitable donations to nonprofits that provide services to women, girls, and the environment. What’s more, they use Fair Trade and organic ingredients, and prioritize zero waste manufacturing.

lips
How Do I Love Thee? Top 10 Ways:
  1. Public Displays of Affection: Out at your local cafe, ask for hot or iced Bhakti Chai with your choice of milk.
  2. Take Me Home: Bring home large bottles of concentrate sold at select local retailers, as well as ready-to-drink individual serving bottles.
  3. As You Like It: Adding milk to Bhakti concentrate allows you to make it as sweet, spicy, or hot as your mood calls for.
  4. Existential Pick-Me-Up: Need an emotional mood-boost? Simply heat, take a deep breath, and sip slowly. Ahhhhh..
  5. Night-time Nirvana: Curl up with Bhakti and a late-night Netflix. Paired best with Italian or French films.
  6. Frozen Ginger-y Love: Eat Bhakti Chai Chip ice cream out of the carton with one spoon and your S.O. (note to Bhakti: I’d relish more dark chocolate chips in the mix!)
  7. Smooth and Sweet: Add the chai concentrate to any smoothie, for a little caffeine boost, and just for the sake of it.
  8. Sunday Bliss: A hot cuppa Bhakti with the Sunday morning NY Times.
  9. Nix a Cold: Run, don’t walk, to drink a hot cup when you feel a cold coming on (it’s rich with antioxidant ginger and other spices). Repeat as needed.
  10. Anytime. Anywhere. 75% chai, 25% soy milk, extra hot.

Believe me, this magical liquid can sneak her way into your life and take up permanent residence.

Are you ready for love? I love my Bhakti Chai

Local companies tout B Corp. status

Eighteen companies in the Boulder Valley have gone through the certification process created by the B Lab, a nonprofit group based in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Companies who want to become certified go through a free analysis that includes filling out paperwork and answering questions from B Lab employees.

They’re part of a growing cadre of more than 700 companies around the globe — including Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings Inc. in Vermont — that want to go through the independent verification process of being socially and environmentally conscious.

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Bhakti Chai Founder Puts Investing in Women First

Written for Fair Trade USA by Brook Eddy


As a single mother starting my chai company, I knew from the inception that we needed to use Fair Trade Certified tea. Building a company that could, on some small level, help women build a business or save money for their daughter’s education wasn’t inspired merely by my own role as a mother. It was a poignant experience I had while visiting India that moved me to make a difference.

I watched as women sat in a circle, saris splayed and splattered across the cement floor. While it felt like there were tambourines vibrating around the circle, predicting a holy occasion – it was just the faint sound of bells dangling from wrists and ankles as each woman took a turn speaking passionately.

This was not a spiritual gathering – these women came together to talk business, to talk community renovation. A group of workers building a collective, where one voice became the echoing boom for change.

Thankfully, Fair Trade tea was widely available when I was starting Bhakti Chai.  While the premium pricing didn’t look good for our bottom line, the social impact was far more important than profits. Our direct Fair Trade dollars, when in the hands of mothers, guarantees that communities have books, medicine, education, science, vaccines, and technology.

Because of Fair Trade certification efforts, tea pickers in India are not just getting a livable wage, but a competitive wage through Fair Trade farms. They’re seeing Fair Trade dollars at work creating healthy communities through the building of schools and health clinics. They are feeling less of a burden by working manageable hours, experiencing better working conditions, and rewarded with more income than they’ve ever seen before.

The World Food Programme found that when women earn income, they reinvest 90% of it in their families and communities, unlike men that re-invest at the rate of 35%. In addition, increased funds in their family ensures their daughters stay in school longer and do not have to work at home, in the fields, or get married early.

“INVESTMENT IN GIRLS’ EDUCATION MAY WELL BE THE HIGHEST-RETURN INVESTMENT AVAILABLE IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD.” – LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST AT THE WORLD BANK.

It could be an amazing transformation to see in just 15 years how Fair Trade purchasing ALONE can change the power structure for women in the fields picking tea, starting collective businesses, Internet start ups, artistic endeavors, and social impact ventures by all of us making a little conscious shift in our purchasing every day.

We at Bhakti Chai feel honored to know that the premium we pay on our Fair Trade Certified tea not only directly helps women and mothers – but is a cool compress of self-sufficiency for creating the next generation of educated women, entrepreneurs, land owners, and community leaders.

As we approach Mother’s Day, may we all be reminded of the millions of Mothers working to make a difference in this world and feel empowered that we too can help this salient revolution everyday by voting for women with your Fair Trade Certified dollars. It’s a simple yet truly significant way to make strides in improving leadership and education opportunities for Moms on a global level.

 

March 2013: Natural Functionality Reinvented

From a beverage perspective, the Fancy Food Show has been gaining a reputation as a brief glimpse into the future for the next wave of all things functional and/or natural from across the globe. Here’s a snapshot of the liquid creations on display at the winter edition of the show in late January in San Francisco, which was presented by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT).

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January 2013: “Colorado Distiller Tea and Brew Master: Sugar and Spice”

If you measured out the beverage industry by gender, gents would tip the scale in ownership. Two Colorado women are filling this gap with exceptional products that don’t compromise sustainability, authenticity and charitable giving. Though Karen Hoskin, founder of Montanya Distillers in Crested butte, and Brook Eddy, founder of Bhakti Chai in Boulder, are mountains apart in location, the two women share too many similarities to ignore, so we paired them up for this profile and winter cocktail recipe.

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