You’re going to see Dona Chai at Whole Foods very soon. You can already find it at many local coffee shops. When you see it, pick up a bottle – trust me. Best chai we’ve ever had, period. Most ready-made chai teas we’ve tried are too sweet or have an overpowering flavor. Dona Chai is miles away from that – it kind of stops you on your tracks as you take the first sip, as you taste the different subtle flavors. It sooo good.
Newly arrived in Brooklyn from Colorado to enroll in NYU Steinhardt’s Food Systems graduate program, founder Amy Rothstein noticed two things about the local coffee shops:
1. Brooklynites are obsessed with locally-roasted coffee and are very proud about it.
2. Brooklynites do not seem to care where their tea comes from, and when a tea is considered ‘local’, we may be talking Oregon. Amy saw this as a great opportunity: “I was totally shocked that no one was making a local and high quality chai concentrate. I then started making my own.”
Amy spent a few months perfecting the recipe and tinkering with brewing techniques, to create a unique Chai tea concentrate. “[Our] brewing process begins with whole spices that are ground fresh for each batch to maximize flavor, depth, and purity. Every cup has notes of each flavor: cinnamon bark, cardamom, vanilla bean, cloves, black peppercorns, cold-pressed ginger, and loose-leaf black tea. Our slow brewing process creates a powerful balance of flavors. Steeped in small batches, we ensure consistency and quality.”
To help get Dona Chai off the ground, Amy enlisted the business expertise of her brother, Peter, who moved to Brooklyn recently to join the team. They have grown quickly since their launch this past March, and they are already at over 30 coffee shops around Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
We were curious about the name. Amy tells us “My mom hates this question! I took the name from her childhood doll, named Donna“. I wonder if my kids will start a business named after their dad’s rattled old Doggie.
Originally from Detroit, Amy loves living in Greenpoint and has a few recommendations for us: “For coffee – Variety. They’re so friendly. I know the owner Gavin, and all the baristas. They just started roasting their own coffee beans at their new location in Bushwick. My favorite park is McGolrick. It’s beautiful and never crowded. They have this great farmers market on Sundays. And for pie – Blue Stove. I’m a regular“.
You will be able to try Dona Chai at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar, coming back to 501 Union on December 14th. You can find them at local coffee shops such as 61 Local, Four and Twenty Blackbirds or Lark. Soon they’ll be on the shelves at Whole Foods.