Hug In A Cup: Words From The Little Family Who Make Magical Chai

In the rainforest of the Byron Hinterland, New South Wales, home of the Arakwal People, lives Maddy, a “gentle” Aries, and Jimmy, a “true loyal Cancerian”. The couple are parents to “mischievous yet sweet” 17-month-old Rumi, a “highly-spirited” Pisces.

There, nestled in nature, they live in an off-the-grid timber cabin, which they built to raise their daughter. Drinking chai is built into the fabric of their lives, so they formed a sustainable business, named Earthly Origins, out of their love for the brew.

Home compostable packaging, tree-planting initiatives, and transparency are at their core, and their offerings consist of ‘Tulua Chai’ and ‘Silken Carob Cacao’ – two blends that evoke feelings of restfulness and inner warmth. 

Here, we spoke to Maddy about Earthly Origins, what her days in the rainforest look like, and what love means to her. 

Share the ethos of your business with us?

Earthly Origins was born out of our love for brewing, sipping and sharing warm potions. We saw there was a need for a grassroots operation that offered high quality and organic when possible chai. After years of trial and error, we had a perfectly balanced recipe, but starting this operation just for money was not enough. We have agreed to devote a good deal of our presupposed future success to planting trees – one of the best things we believe that can be done for our Earth. 

We run all aspects of the business with a reverence for Mother Nature. Earthly Origins is run from our off-grid cabin, our brews are bundled up in earth bags made from recycled paper and plant fibres, the labels are printed using the power of the sun with organic-based non-toxic inks on alternative fibre paper. When we post our chai out we use recycled boxes and newspaper to send and pack with. Our packaging is 100% compostable and all aspects of our product will return to their earthly origins. 

Where does your love for chai stem from?

Our love for the ritual of chai sipping comes from the many beautiful meetings and moments and mornings shared with special people in our lives over chai. To us, good chai can help nourish, soothe and warm the heart. 

“To us, good chai can help nourish, soothe and warm the heart”

When we lived in the city, before moving north, we would seek these special moments out, craving to slow down and create space. Chai has the capacity to allow you to do this – its flavour profile helping you to sip mindfully, to savour every sip and to make the moment last, especially when it’s with your most-loved. 

Chaga mushroom is in your Silken Carob Cacao blend. How did you discover the medicinal world of mushrooms?

We first discovered mushroom herbs from our beautiful friend Jess, who was working as a naturopath many moons ago. She used to come to the cafe Jimmy worked at down the road bringing her own mushroom herbs and asking for them to be added to her chai. She got us hooked on mushies! At the moment we take Superfeast Schizandra and Ashwagandha to support our nervous and immune systems while we are trying to function on less sleep and living with a busy toddler. 

What does a typical working day look like for you? 

We don’t work full time on Earthly Origins at the moment and spend a lot of time at our cabin working out in the garden, cooking in the kitchen and playing. We are lucky to have so much time together as a family.  When inspiration strikes or when Rumi is sleeping we will do little bits here and there. When orders come in we pack and post our chai as soon as possible and deliver locally ourselves to our friends and stockists. 

Can you share your morning routine with us? 

Our morning starts off pretty early as Rumi is an early riser. She’s in our bed so wakes us up either with her feet in our faces, pretending to be a dog or kissing and stroking our hair! We try to each take a moment to set our intentions off for the day, the main ones being to practice more awareness and to be constantly looking inward to better ourselves. Then we usually all cuddle and roll around in bed together before getting up and making our first cup of chai/coffee/carob/cacao and finding the sun outside to sit and sip in. 

Your brews contribute toward planting trees. Could you expand on how this works, and what percentage of your profits go to this initiative? 

We are just starting out and haven’t actually made any profits yet! But to celebrate launching Earthly Origins we partnered with Reforest Now and planted over 500 trees in the valley where we live. We think that one of the best things you can do for our earth is plant trees – they are the lungs of our planet. In the future, we plan to donate 10 percent of our profit to tree planting and reforesting initiatives and give more if possible. 

What challenges have you encountered that have come alongside running your own business? 

The main challenge we have encountered is finding big blocks of uninterrupted time to spend creating, designing and managing the day-to-day ongoings of running Earthly Origins. We are sole carers to Rumi, and get no outside help so are pretty busy with her. We are also conscious not to spend too much time on our screens in front of her and don’t want to miss out on being present for her, especially now that she has entered toddlerhood and is so playful and engaged. We have learnt to be resourceful and to get things done when she goes to bed or is taking a short nap and include her in the packing and posting of chai and cafe-hopping! 

Love – what does it mean and look like for you? 

When you become a parent, your whole mind and heart expands. You know love on a whole other level. We feel it in big ways in the smallest moments, every day. 

And finally, can you share some lessons you’ve learnt in 2020? 

Biggest learning we have made so far in 2020, is to question EVERYTHING. We have realised that the world isn’t what it seems and we now look critically at anything the mainstream media tells us. 

If you’d like to take a look at Earthly Origins’ offerings, you can here.  

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