Right around the time when I was invited to visit Third Street Chai, it just happened to be when the FDA deregulated alfalfa. With that deregulation I started looking into some of the my favorite products to see if they truly were small organic companies or just had that facade, but a larger corporate entity owned them (original post, parent company replies). My greatest concern was that some of these companies were using their "natural" label to actual sell products that contain Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMO's or GE).
With all of those thoughts fresh in my mind, I was excited to tour Third Street Chai to see what the company was really like. I was greeted by Megan, the person behind the voice on Twitter and John one of the co-founders and CEO. I was surprised and delighted when I found out it was John that was going to give me the insider's tour.
Within moments it was very easy to recognize that Third Street Chai is a company that feels like an incredibly close knit family. I was taken through all the phases of processing from a room that contains sacks of whole organic spices such as cardamom, ginger, peppercorns, and cloves to the space where bottles are still hand labeled, a room stacked wall to wall with boxes ready to be shipped out, I watched an employee stir a huge vat of spices that was about to be brewed, and I even caught a glimpse mass composting in action. I wish I could have bottled the scent that filled the space from entry to exit, my sweater was even wonderfully aromatic the day after my tour.
As John took me on the tour, numerous times the words organic, Fair Trade, Composting, Wind Power, BPA free plastics, and small sustainable farms came into our conversation. I must note, TSC has never used high fructose corn syrup in their Chai unlike other brands, they use certified organic evaporated cane juice as a sweetener. There wasn't a question that John didn't answer, he's very open and honest, a quality in which I certainly admire in a business owner. I probably over extended my visit by an hour, but John and I were deep in conversation about the future of organics, the success of Third Street Chai from it's start in 1995, and so many relative topics in between. Through my conversation I felt like I had known John for years, a quality you don't often find in CEO's or at least in my experience.
I left Third Street Chai with an overwhelming sense of what a great company it is. I can tell you as someone that consciously chooses how and where to spend my family's food budget dollars, I couldn't be more delighted that I support TSC. I may have even joked that if they are ever hiring, to give me a call. I'd love to work for them!
A huge thank you to Third Street Chai, especially John and Megan for giving me the great honor and pleasure to tour the company.
Recently Third Street Chai branched out beyond chai offerings, they now make iced tea blends. I keep a bottle of their Organic Mint Iced Tea concentrate on hand to make a glass of iced tea through out the day. Their Organic Chai line includes: sugar free, decaf, green tea, honey vanilla, spicy ginger, and authentic. The Organic Iced Tea line includes: mint green tea, unsweetened, pomegranate green tea, and peach black tea. They also make an Organic Lemonade concentrate that is just sold through restaurants. Third Street Chai is available in Whole Foods Market nationally as well as online for purchase.
If you'd like a peak inside Third Street Chai, take a look at a piece by 9 news called,
Where In The Town....
For more information, check out Third Street Chai
Disclosure: I was given a case of chai when departing, which I totally did not expect, but I rather graciously accepted.