| 03.19.2018

Tea for a good cause – A Moscow company focuses on helping people by selling chai tea


The Himalayan Chai Society is a local company dedicated to making good chai tea and doing humanitarian work.

Nathan Romans | Argonaut The Himalayan Chai Society crew sets up their booth at the Farmers Market downtown.

Nathan Romans | Argonaut
The Himalayan Chai Society crew sets up their booth at the Farmers Market downtown.

Kolton Moreno started the Himalayan Chai Society after a three and a half month trip in Nepal where he lived in a slum with a caste known as the untouchables. These people are incredibly poor, and are avoided by other people in Nepal, according to Moreno.

Moreno said while he was there, a woman who lived in the slum made chai tea for him and his team every time they visited her. When they left, they asked her how she made it.

“We promised we’d come back if she told us, and we’d sell it in the states. So last year, we sold chai all year at the farmers market,” Moreno said. “In January we sent a team to Nepal, and they were there for two weeks, went back to the slum, and we integrated the local church … so there was a consistent aid to that slum, people being able to help and show support and love.”

Moreno said the company’s goal is to help people in any way possible. He said everyone involved in the company has an outside job, and all the money made by the business goes directly toward helping the company achieve its goal.

“Our whole goal is literally just to love people … to just be there, showing them the way that we live and the way that we love, and just serving people any way that they need it, whether that means picking up trash, or going and buying a bunch of toys and playing with kids, and giving them the toys when we leave, or anything,” Moreno said. “We just want to be a light.”

The Himalayan Chai Society is run by five people and supplies chai to four coffee shops — Café Artista, the Nuart and Bloom in Moscow, and Kups Koffee in Kendrick, Idaho.

Zak Wintz and Moreno became friends after Moreno’s trip to Nepal. Wintz helped start the chai company.

“The first week was kind of like a hobby, like ‘let’s do this, let’s have fun with this,’ and then we realized how much people enjoy it, and how much all the people were coming back and saying it was the best chai they ever had, so that’s when we knew that we could go somewhere with this,” Wintz said. “We finished out the summer doing it every farmers market, (we were) successful every time, and we’re super excited to be back this summer.”

Moreno said the company puts a lot of effort into making high-quality chai tea. He said a lot of chai tea in the United States contains too many preservatives and anti-gumming agents, which makes it unhealthy. He said their company doesn’t use these ingredients, which is part of why people like it.

“We hand-mash our ginger, we use whole cinnamon sticks, everything is just 100 percent from scratch and natural. Our product kind of speaks for itself,” Moreno said.

Daphne Jackson can be reached at argonaut@uidaho.edu

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