Our brand new range of organic soap bars are made with the brewed chai tea spices used to make Henny & Joe’s chai syrups!
We met Ash, the founder of Henny & Joe’s, last year and as we explained our circular economy mission and the products we make from repurposed ingredients he was quick to suggest that we make use of his spice mixture!
We have been working hard ever since to develop our new soap bar range and we are extremely excited that they are nearly ready.
We have a crowdfunding campaign running with just one more day to go, so we thought it would be a perfect time to have a catch up with Ash so that you can all find out more about the sourcing of our latest repurposed ingredients! We hope you enjoy reading...
How did Henny & Joe’s begin?
Rather oddly! I used to work in several coffee houses in and around Bath. During the 2012 Bath Christmas Market, we found that every other order was a chai latte. As a powder, it was a pain to make and consequently it drastically slowed our speed of service. Therefore, I decided to find a quicker way of making it, experimenting with different spices and testing the recipes on customers. During this process I realised that not only could I make it quicker and easier but also a lot healthier than the powders currently on the market. Furthermore, I could make it allergen, preservative and additive-free and 100% natural. Who cared if it didn’t last three years on the shelves? Cafes were getting through it far quicker than the six month shelf life! After I moved cafe and my previous cafe wanted the chai, I realised I had to create a business: hence, Henny and Joe’s was born in October 2013.
How did you develop your own chai syrup recipe?
It took a long time! I was constantly developing the idea and using different spices over a twelve month period. Every other day there was a new recipe. Each time a customer came into the cafe asking for a chai latte, I'd say that we had a sample sent in and were giving it a trial. They could try it for free on condition that they let us knew what they thought. As a result, I was able to get honest and immediate feedback that I could use to develop the recipe.
What makes Henny & Joe's unique?
A number of ways. Being a liquid, it is more diverse and easier to use than other chais - not only can it be used for chai lattes and tea but also in baking, cocktails, smoothies and even adding a little spice to dishes.
Chai is a beautiful Indian drink and it's a shame that it had been Westernised into something so artificial. We wanted to bring back the natural flavours using real whole spices. Ok - it doesn’t last as long as the others on the market and it's a little more expensive. However, we found people we willing to compromise if the end-product is natural, healthier and contains a fraction of the sugar content of our competitors - not to mention the ethical and sustainable benefits!
We love that you have named the company after your sons! Do they share your love of chai?
They both love the masala chai and are proud that the company is named after them. I would say that Joey loves it a lot more. Making him drink milk when he was a toddler was always difficult. However, we found that adding a teaspoon of chai to his milk ensured it was finished off! Every time that we now visit a cafe, he is the one that insists on having a chai latte.
Photo by Lucy Baker photo
Do you think they will be the ones running the company one day?!
They both help out already, letting us know what they think about the latest ideas and plans. Joey is only six years old and is already talking about his own business plans and ideas. He received an old typewriter for Christmas and he uses it for writing his latest ideas! It's adorable. We’ve started introducing and educating them a little on certain terms in the business world. Last year we introduced something called sweetie tax. Daddy currently gets 5% and who knows when it will go up!
It’s fantastic that you encourage the businesses who you supply to return their empty chai bottles back to you to reuse. Is this easy to implement?
We started the business with sustainability and ethics at the centre of our plans. As we’ve grown and started to supply companies further afield it has become a lot more difficult. We still receive all the bottles back from the companies that we deliver to locally. We deliver to them on a weekly basis and we collect the old bottles at the same time. However, its become counter productive on the eco side to have companies send us back the bottles from Scotland. Nonetheless, the bottles are fully recyclable and all our cafes are able to do this.
All of your packaging is made from recycled cardboard. Is running Henny & Joe’s in a sustainable way important to you?
It is massively important to us and has been since we started in 2013. It's why we use glass bottles instead of plastic. We are a zero waste company and none of our waste goes to landfill. Everything that can be reused in the company is, and everything else is recycled.
Do you think that customers are also becoming increasingly interested in supporting sustainable businesses?
We find that customers are slowly becoming more aware of the importance of sustainability, although I still don’t think that this is a priority for the majority. The deciding factor is the fact they love the product and if it's sustainable, it's a nice little bonus. We have noticed that it's actually the next generation that are becoming more aware of this which is great! This is exactly what we need in the world and hopefully it will push more companies and more importantly the larger ones to do something about how they do business.
What’s next for Henny & Joe’s?
We’re still expanding and doing this organically.
Today is the FINAL day that you can donate or pledge to our chai soaps crowdfunding campaign. Those who pledge will be the very first people to try our soaps before their full release... and they’ll get them at a great discount!
Visit our crowdfunding page here to pledge as little as £5.