Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Ashley Bailey, director at Henny and Joe’s Ltd, has been making his multiple award-winning, small-batch chai in Bath for years. He believes his combination of 100% natural ingredients – including cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, and star anise – creates a "therapeutic experience and a beautifully blended taste like no other".
Ashley: "Having worked in Bath and the hospitality industry for over 10 years, I have been fortunate to work with many restaurants and cafes — the majority of whom serve chai. From my experience, these establishments had in place a rather lengthy process for the preparation of their chai, and what’s more, it contained needless artificial additives. Most importantly, I believe that they lacked both the quality and the taste of my own recipe. After perfecting my delicious chai recipe, I started taking the product from place to place. Inspired by the positive reaction that I received, and owing to the popular demand, 2013 saw me launch my company, based here in Bath. But what to call it? Well, naturally after my favourite things in the whole world: my sons, Henry and Joseph."
Alongside Ashley, Henny & Joe’s is run by Sarah and Lottie, and its the girls who are the main ‘face’ of the brand.
Lottie: "We attend a number of local markets and events where we hand out samples of our chai lattes. A lot of people here in the UK are still unaware of what chai is. Handing out samples is a great way of introducing people to it."
Henny & Joe’s now has more than 120 stockists all over the UK, and the team is proud of the fact that they are independent cafes, restaurants or bakeries, who either sell the bottles or use the chai in service to make lattes.
A green approach to the business is important to the team, with all of the orders within Bath delivered either on foot or by bike. The majority of the empty bottles from nearby cafes and businesses are returned to the Brassmill Lane-based company, which are then reused. And despite Ashley perfecting the flavour of his chai over three years ago, Sarah says the team is constantly looking for new flavour combinations and ideas.
Sarah: "One of our latest discoveries was apple chai. A spoonful of chai in apple juice – it’s incredible! We are lucky that we are surrounded by the best apples and apple juices in the world. It has been a tough job testing all the local apple juices and finding the perfect one that compliments the chai well. Just one of the many reasons why Somerset is amazing."
The latest addition to the Henny & Joe’s line-up is chocolate chai. This “contemporary twist” on their traditional product, sees the team’s original masala chai combined with “the most complimenting chocolate” they could find. And it’s already an award winner.
Chai – also known as Masala chai, which translates as mixed spiced tea – is a flavoured tea made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs. Ashley says many legends say it was created around 5,000 years ago by a king who desired a cleansing, vivifying Ayurvedic beverage. The palace from which he ruled is believed to be in what is now India, although some believe that it was Thailand. Henny and Joe’s chai syrup is naturally free from caffeine, artificial preservatives, colourings and additives. Because of its liquid form, it be used to make chai latte and chai tea, but also in baking, puddings, milkshakes, cocktails.
Ashley and Lottie: "We were both born and bred in Bath, Somerset. We have grown up and watched many of our friends move to London and further afield. We love Somerset and the people in it, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It’s a great place to grow up and start a business."