WELCOME! I am glad you're here...
My name is Madhu and I grew up in India with chai as an integral part of daily life. But was I born to sell chai? No! Absolutely not. Life's journey brought me to Kimbala - a beverage brand I started with the simple purpose of respecting the Indian heritage of chai, and teaching others about it along the way.
In 2000, I made the move to the United States and after some time, realized it was impossible to find a proper chai. Most coffee chains served a beverage that was over-sugared, loaded with cinnamon, and lacking in tea flavor. Chai in America did not taste like tea - I couldn't understand it!
After 20+ years living in the US, I can confidently say chai has been bastardized in America for decades. Thousands of coffee shops exist and not a single, proper chai is served in the majority. In most cases, not even a craft coffee shop shows the same diligence to chai as it does to coffee.
Proper chai is measured by its freshness, high-quality ingredients, deep rich flavors, and a smooth texture of milk -- one that has been aerated frequently while patiently simmered to achieve a beautiful earthy brown color -- creating a ballad of sweetness and spices that leaves you refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
To achieve this proper chai, I would make my own at home but that also takes time, high-quality ingredients, and of course the dedication to clean up afterward. This made me think... perhaps there are others out there who do not serve or even drink chai, strictly because it is not conveniently available in an authentic form. Chai requires time and patience, both of which can be hard to come by at times for us all.
Despite the time and effort homemade chai can take, I found myself transporting all of the chai supplies to friends' homes for brunches and dinner parties. It was so great to make chai for my non-Indian friends who loved it but didn't know how to make it. My chai became a hit amongst a circle of friends, their requests for more coming over and over until a close friend one day said, "dude, bottle that stuff!"
The real problem to solve when thinking about bottling chai was how to achieve convenience, freshness, authenticity, and also make something scalable from a business standpoint. I landed on creating a chai that could be enjoyed on the go (Chai Assamica) and also a chai concentrate for a flexible option of consuming chai with a preferred milk alternative.
Testing with friends and family of the first ready-to-drink (RTD) chai, along with other R&D, began in 2018 and in 2020, Kimbala was officially launched with a line up of RTD and concentrate options. I am proud of the balance of flavors I was able to achieve with both the RTD and concentrate chai options - the best part is being able to provide easy access to Indian chai as it should be, for you as a customer to take on the go or make in two quick steps.
Kimbala is the only company in the United States that delivers freshly made chai. It is the first brand to offer a chai concentrate that is not only best in its category, but is extremely easy to use, and true to the flavors of chai you'd experience in India. Kimbala delivers an authentic experience that celebrates the tea with beautifully balanced spices, and the perfect level of sweetness -- without compromising the recipe by using stabilizers and preservatives. Only fresh, raw ingredients from India to be found in our products.
Although chai is the focus of Kimbala, coffee from India is highly underrated and being from South India where filter coffee is so popular, I wanted to bring a RTD, cold version of Indian coffee to the table. Smooth, non-acidic, balanced... it's SO good and a daily staple for my wife.
Our journey with Kimbala has only just begun and we are committed to changing how chai is consumed in the United States for the better. An equal amount of commitment is also put in to helping others tune into their strengths as individuals and continuing to experience life to their best potential. This is the power of 'Strength In Kindness'.
Thanks for being here, cheers.
- Madhu, Founder
WHAT DOES KIMBALA MEAN?
In Sanskrit Kimbala translates to, “what is your strength” or “what strength do you possess.” Caring for those we encounter is a natural way of life. Unconditional care requires strength and we knew ours stemmed from kindness – it is the foundation of the paths we walk and Kimbala is the question we asked, not only to share a piece of our true selves, but also to learn about you and yours!
Our logo is a “;” semicolon and is intended to act as a reminder to pause and remind yourself of the strength you own and how you will use it. Take that moment of pause to reflect and enjoy what/who surrounds you. The elephant as part of our semicolon represents that strong but kind member of the animal kingdom; reminding us of our “strength in kindness.”
With Kimbala we share a true respect for authentic flavors found in the chai and coffee of India. Our coffee is selected from communities who grow in the Western Ghats, (Nilgiris Mountains) in the state of Karnataka, India. These local families have passed on the culture of coffee through multiple generations; continuously perfecting their art.
Our Tea leaves are sourced from select estates in the Assam region of Eastern India. This selection is based not only on overall quality of the estate but also, one that lives and breathes dedication to the processing of their tea leaves.
Premium spices are sourced from areas in India that specialize in the production.
Ultimately, whether it be sourcing ingredients or the production process of our chai and coffee, we aim for the highest quality possible to achieve and represent an authentic taste of India.