BOSTON (CBS) — Inside the Innovation and Design Building in Boston’s Seaport District, two friends from Ecuador are brewing up a company.
“It’s based on a traditional tea, a traditional recipe that I grew up drinking in Ecuador,” co-founder Nicolas Estrella told WBZ-TV. “It’s a blend of 20 herbs and flowers.”
That blend of chamomile, spearmint, fennel, lemongrass, flaxseed and others is called “horchata lojana,” and it is steeped in tradition, made for centuries in the Andes Mountains, part of which is considered a Blue Zone, where people live longer and healthier.
“It has a lot of anti-inflammatory benefits. Each ingredient has a lot of phenols and polyphenols, so in Ecuador we’ve been drinking this for centuries to improve the digestive health and because of the taste,” says Estrella.
So he and his business partner Juan Gialdo teamed up with small farmers in Ecuador and decided to bring the recipe to the U.S. They gave the tea an indigenous Ecuadorian name, Waku, which means “together” in Quechua.
Together because Estrella and Gialdo are determined to make an impact in their home country.
“More than 70 percent of the farmers live under the poverty line in Ecuador, even though they make these amazing and they grow these amazing quality products,” says Estrella.
But then came the task of convincing Americans to try that product. Estrella and Gialdo started by biking around Boston, store to store, selling it.
Now, they’re at nearly a million bottles sold, and they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to expand the product.
“More and more, consumers are being interested in these types of better-for-you products,” says Estrella.
You can order Waku and learn more about the story behind it here.