While in grad school in the ’90s, Kamini Mamdani launched a home business making spices and tea gift sets to help introduce Indian chai to a then still-new U.S. audience—long before Starbucks chai lattes. Three kids and a career as a therapist eventually took over, and Mamdani put the business on hold in 2010. But then came the pandemic—and the chance to refocus. “The chai landscape now is really saturated, but it felt like the right time to revisit what I could offer that was unique,” the Dallas-based founder says.
Reintroduced in November as Heirloom Chai, Mamdani’s product stands out in a lot of ways. Namely, she notes, is the fact that “few chai companies in the U.S. are Indian-American owned, and I wanted to bring that authenticity to my line, and share my family’s traditions.” She also wanted to ensure that all the spices were organic, and that the tea came from India (it’s also pre-brewed, flash-frozen and powdered so it retains its potency and dissolves well in water). Accessibility and ease were important (the mix comes with its own measuring spoon and can be made in the microwave or on the stovetop; just add water and your choice of milk). “I wanted people to be able to play around and adjust this to their tastes,” she notes.
Along with its delicious, just-spicy-enough taste— courtesy of a family recipe that migrated from Indiato Africa to the U.S.—Heirloom Chai is packed with health benefits. Black pepper helps oxygen flow to the brain, while clove aids in digestion, cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar, ginger reduces inflammation, and Assam black tea is packed with free radical- fighting polyphenols. Mamdani has plans to expand the line into other flavor profiles, too—including a cardamom- and rose-infused Love Chai for Valentine’s Day.