Made in Georgia: Couple provides ‘premium tea experience’

Credit: Rachit Vora

Credit: Rachit Vora

Poorvi Chordia and her husband, Abe Thomas, started their artisan tea company, Herbs & Kettles, in 2021, originally under the name of Noble Roots Living.

“The name Noble is a reference to our oldest daughter, Arya, whose name means ‘noble,’” Chordia said. “A year after we began, we decided to relaunch our company as Herbs & Kettles, to more clearly reflect what we do, providing a premium tea experience.”

Both Chordia and Thomas are physicians, balancing a busy work life, time in their urban garden with their two daughters, and drinking tea, including chai made with ginger they grew in their garden. Chordia also is a tea sommelier, certified by the International Tea Masters Association.

When they decided they wanted more engagement with their community, they began selling their masala chai at the Green Market at Piedmont Park and two of the operations run by Community Farmers Markets. “We found it was a great side gig and, as big tea enthusiasts, it provided us a way to share that passion while getting out and meeting people,” Chordia said.

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Credit: Andrew Opila

Credit: Andrew Opila

Masala chai is their signature blend of black tea, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper. They also offer vanilla lavender chai, rose cardamom chai and several other varieties.

Expanding from chai, they began offering single-origin teas sourced during trips to India that the family makes two or three times each year.

“We started first working with an organic tea farm in Assam, and then began meeting other tea growers,” Chordia said. “We work directly with the growers, and pay them above fair-trade prices. By having a relationship with them, and visiting their tea gardens, we can see that they take care of their ecosystem and have a commitment to the tea pluckers and their families.”

The company gives 1 percent of its revenue to wildlife and habitat conservation in India, and the packaging features images of the wildlife in the regions where Herbs & Kettles gets its teas.

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Credit: Herbs & Kettles

Credit: Herbs & Kettles

The couple’s trips allow them to establish personal relationships, such as the one they now have with a woman who had been a tea plucker and started her own tea garden. “She grows some of the best tea we’ve tried,” Chordia said. “Her name is Yanki, and her tea is the Darjeeling Yanki red oolong, an absolutely marvelous whole-leaf tea, with amazing aromas and flavors.”

Herbs & Kettles offers close to 50 teas, a mix of chai, herbal blends and single-origin teas.

If customers shop on the company website, or at a market booth, they can choose teas by region, such as Darjeeling and Assam; by flavor, such as nutty and milky or floral; or by whether the tea was gathered at first flush, second flush or in the autumn. The website includes a quiz that suggests the tea that will help provide balance for the customer.

The family can be found at its Herbs & Kettles booth at the Green Market at Piedmont Park every Saturday, at the Morningside and Oakhurst markets once a month, and rotating through the Sunday Grant Park and Avondale Estates markets each month.

“It’s always us at the markets,” Chordia said. “People come to the market because they want our recommendations for the tea that would be good for them. We talk about the flavors they enjoy, and the health benefits. They appreciate that personal touch.”

Chordia admitted that being so intimately involved with all the parts of the business can be exhausting, but she said it’s important to the couple that they be the face of their business.

The “us” at the markets includes their daughters, Nitya, 7, and Arya, 9. “They really enjoy tea and the tea business,” Chordia said. “They can help you sample the tea and guide you through your choices, and they can even check you out. It’s been interesting to see how being involved has helped their confidence.”

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