Understory is based in Sandpoint, Idaho. We are the indie producers of Understory Chai Tea Concentrate, and operate a radical cafe in Northern Idaho.



The alchemy that is chai:

It all starts with tea. Estate grown indian tea leaves are hand-plucked, crushed, torn, curled and fully oxidized, creating Assam Black Tea. Assam is known for it’s rich layers of malty flavor, dark reddish steep, and full bodied mouthfeel; velveteen and sweet.

Next comes our unique (and extremely top secret) blend of spices. Star Anise, Cardamom Pods, Organic Peppercorn, Cloves, and others are all hand ground in the mortar and pestle. This manual process is essential, as there are flavor bearing oils trapped inside that would otherwise go rancid or lose potency if the spices were processed beforehand.

These carefully selected ingredients are simmered, low and slow, in the final, and perhaps most important ingredient: water.

The mighty Selkirk Range in the northernmost tip of Idaho accumulates a massive snowpack for 9 months of the year. When the snow begins to melt in the spring, it first pools in remote lakes, high above the treeline. From there, it makes its way down the mountains, filtering through alpine meadows and massive granite formations. The last stop is the reservoir at Schweitzer Mountain. From there, it’s final destination: our big ol’ chai pot. Cold and crystal clear, no funny business.

And there you have it. Careful selection, an eye for detail, some hard work and a lot of love. A sacred algorithm that turns simple ingredients into gold. The alchemy that is chai.