Evy Tea, a local maker of all-natural cold brew teas, announced on Tuesday it has closed $1 million in seed funding. Investors included Brad Asness and Peter Gladstone of Notudis Ventures, and Campitor Investments. The funding was raised on crowdfunding platform CircleUp.
“We’ve been experiencing quite a bit of growth in the past couple of years,” Evy Tea founder and Emerson College graduate Evy Chen said in an interview. “[This funding round] is really to fulfill that growth, expand production, expand distribution and help us go national.”
In addition to increasing production and distribution, Evy Tea will use the seed funding to grow its brick and mortar presence. Last year, the first Tea Bar by Evy opened in Jamaica Plain, and the company will open a second Tea Bar in Charlestown in a couple of weeks.
Launched in 2014, Evy Tea produces ready-to-drink teas that are made with USDA organic ingredients, have fewer than 25 calories and are produced with the “cold brewing process.”
A common practice in tea preparation prescribes to let tea leaves brew in hot or boiled water. This execution affects the final product in two ways. First, it speeds up the whole preparation process, which can be as fast as a handful of minutes. Second, tea made this way may result in having a bitter taste that some tea lovers consider unpleasant.
As opposed to this ‘fast and furious’ preparation, Evy Tea let tea leaves steep in cold water for 16 hours. To explain the benefits of the cold brewing process, Chen pointed out that the preparation of espresso coffee requires an intense heat to squeeze out all the bitter flavor from the bean.
“Cold brew tea is sort of the opposite of that,” Chen said. “Cold brew process works slow… It’s actually closer to the wine and beer making process.”
Chen grew up in China’s Southeast tea country, which is known to be the Sonoma for tea. At the recent Fancy Food Show in New York City, she was named by Forbes as one of the immigrant entrepreneurs poised to shake up the U.S. culinary industry.