Quality. Transparency. Fairness
These are the things that matter to us – not profit. We are a small company that is driven by passion. We are not in this to make a buck, but because we truly believe in the product we make and the people who help us make it. That’s why we not only use the best quality ingredients, but also make sure that the people who grow, package and transport them get paid well. And we do it all for that wonderful moment when you, the customer, hold a warm cup of Hot Earth Chai in your hand and experience the celebration of taste, fragrance and aroma that is the first sip of our freshly brewed chai.
This shop is operated with free software. (free as in freedom, not free beer)
HOT EARTH GmbH does not conduct, fund, or commission tests on animals.
So what exactly is chai tea?
Simply, it is the most delicious drink in the universe. It is meditation in a cup, both incredibly healthy and highly addictive. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, chai carries energy, vitality and nutrition in every delicious sip. Chai has played a central part in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga practice for hundreds of years. Depending on the blend of spices, herbs and tea leaves, it can energize you, calm you down, inspire you, or help you find balance and relaxation.
Quality is of the utmost priority to us and we will never compromise on that. We only choose the freshest ingredients with the highest nutritional content possible.
That is why we source all our ingredients from people we know personally. This way, we can be sure they are produced organically, sustainably and environmental-friendly and all people in the supply chain are paid fairly. We always offer our products at a fair price for the customer, and do not try to maximize our profit margin. We also try to reduce our carbon footprint by making sure the supply chains are as short as possible. We are always looking for ways to improve our standards (and not just our profits)!
While most chai companies grind and mix their spices in India to cut costs, we create our unique chai blend in Switzerland. This way, we ensure that our product is the freshest and most aromatic. We make new batches every week.
The reason we place such high value in freshness is because most spices contain their flavour and health benefits in form of volatile oils. If the spices are ground with industrial machines, the oils heat up and start to age prematurely. This causes them to expire much more rapidly and, of course, lose a lot of flavour. Then the spices have to travel to Europe, which takes at least a month. After that, they are stored for weeks or months in warehouses and supermarket shelves where they continue to decay and lose flavour.
To avoid this, we import the spices intact and only process them here. We grind our spices by hand, using mortar and pestle as well as special machines that prevent them from heating up. Our products last for at least 12 months, but we recommend using them within a few weeks for the best possible taste.
In addition to spices, oils, and tea leaves, our blends also contain coconut blossom sugar from controlled organic cultivation. Chai needs the subtle sweetness for the spices to develop a greater depth of flavour and robustness. Sugar also helps to conserve and carry the flavour. And unlike regular refined sugar, coconut blossom sugar contains vital nutrients and minerals that add not just taste but substance to the overall blend.
If you are interested in further reading about the health benefits of spices and herbs, we highly recommend Healing Spices by PhD Bharat B. Aggarwal.
The Chai Story - Interview with the man behind Hot Earth
How did Thorsten manage to get chai to taste so wonderful? After first tasting it in Switzerland, he knew that tea and coffee would never satisfy again.
He travelled in India stopping at every place that sold chai. But, disappointingly, it was usually black tea with milk and lots of sugar.
“Sometimes there was a clove or a lonely cardamom pod swimming in the tea but nothing matched the awesomeness of my first experience. I began to wonder it I had imagined it.”
Eventually Thorsten found a place in Rajasthan which sold real chai.
“Every sip was a sip of bliss. It focussed all my senses into my taste buds – a few minutes of pure presence. I was hooked. I rented a place next to the restaurant, and had at least three cups of chai every day. The owner became a good friend and I learned how to make real chai.”
It turned out it was the owner’s mother who prepares the spice mixture by hand, and had done so weekly for 50 years.
“That’s how I do it now” says Thorsten, adding: “Only 45 years to go.”
After two weeks, Thorsten left with a bag of the mother’s spice mixture.
“Now I was able to cook my own chai, but not forever. Once the bag was empty, I would be in trouble.”
Over several months, Thorsten visited spice merchants to buy spices.
“Some were hard to find, especially without speaking Hindi. Every week I prepared a spice mixture and compared it to the one I got from my friend’s mum. I was getting close. But I still felt there was room for improvement.”
Once back in Switzerland, Thorsten found an organic spice supplier whose quality standards matched his. Then over the course of a weekend, Thorsten devoted himself to making chai.
“Equipped with weight scale and calculator, I adjusted my recipe over and over: increasing one spice and cooking a cup of chai to taste. Decreasing another spice, and trying again. Finally I achieved what I wanted. All the flavours merged to create a new one. Not one flavour stuck out or was hidden. They were rounded into one taste. I had made it: chai. The real stuff. My daily cup of meditation.”
When he moved to England, Thorsten was amazed how many places sold chai. “And guess what, they all sucked. Excuse my language, let’s say they were different.”
So he started sourcing spices again in the UK, shipping some in from Switzerland.
“I realised that everyone who drinks this liquid magic gets instantly addicted. I could not keep giving it away. So I decided to turn it into a business, and Hot Earth was born.”