A bit on Chad and the birth of Chad's Chai & Tea Company
When I was a young boy, my family moved from the Carolinas to the land of sunny beaches, flamenco music, paella, soccer and olive oil. In Spain, life moves a bit slower and people take time to meet with friends at street side cafés, sharing life over a great cup of coffee or wine. But rarely tea. My mother, being of British descent, always drank tea. I, however, found it mostly a bit weak and uninteresting; definitely not something a man would be caught drinking.
Skip ahead a few years. During grad school I had some cool neighbors that would host a monthly chai party for all their friends. A steaming pot of milk, tea and spices would fill the entire house with an aroma that made everything seem exotic and alive. It was the perfect accompaniment for the guitars, games, and laughter that would liven up the night.
I loved the drink, and began making my own chai for special occasions. Since there is no set chai recipe (every chai-maker—amateur or professional, has his own unique blend of spices), I began experimenting and came up with a blend to call my own. And people really liked it.
Around the fall of 2004, I began to hang out every Friday morning with my great friend Zoo, who has become the official tea taster. Our Friday front porch meetings have become a tradition, and it is there that over a small pot of chai, we continue to figure out and solve the world’s problems. (Well, at least deal with a couple of our own!)
A wedding, a poker game, and lots of encouragement from friends and family played key roles in convincing me to really make this thing a business. Zoo was getting married, and requested that I make a large pot of chai for the reception and also little chai tea bags as party favors. That was the point at which I decided to start selling it. Thousands of experiments followed as I dove into the amazing world of tea. Not long afterwards, at a poker game, a man spoke of opening an Irish restaurant and the desire to offer good tea to his customers. That night he asked me to be their “Tea Man.” As a result, Finnigan’s Wake Irish Pub and Kitchen in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, became the first business to carry Chad’s teas.
Since then, 17 other restaurants, coffee houses, gift shops and bed and breakfasts have partnered in bringing great tea to their customers, teas that are full of flavor and life. I now believe that tea is something a man can drink without being embarrassed! As far as the rest of life, I enjoy the outdoors, hiking, spending time with friends, watching “The Office” and playing guitar. Kristina and I recently had our first child, Gabriela. And tea has become a welcome and trusted companion through all the adventures life throws at us.