Hey Kib Circle,
Andrew from Kib here.
Today's the day--Kib is now in 481 Tesco stores across the UK. We’re thrilled to put Kib in a lot more cups.
Today also has us thinking back on where Kib came from. A few memories to share:
Dried tomatoes & chile jam: Our partner farmers in Ethiopia have long grown a wide variety of crops in their food forests--avocados, chilies, tomatoes to name a few. Back in 2018, we wanted to build demand for these regeneratively-grown crops with a product that was logistically simpler than fresh produce. We debated for hours and discussed the in's and out's of avocado oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and chile jam among others. Ultimately (and thankfully), we landed on herbal teas. But we were awfully close to bringing you Kib sun-dried tomatoes.
A partner farmer in Ethiopia.
Bereha Bet: We first tried drying our herbs in 2018. We rented a newly-built house next door to our office in Butajira, I drew up some designs in PowerPoint (famously useful for architectural renderings), and my colleague Tigistu worked with a carpenter to build out shelves to hold our trays of drying herbs. It all came together pretty smoothly until we went to turn on the heaters and dry our first batch of herbs…at which point we learned after series of busted switches that the house's wiring couldn't heat two drying rooms. We settled for just one drying room and dubbed it "Bereha Bet"--Amharic for Desert House. I'm still no expert in electrical wiring, but we did quickly learn how to dry the herbs that have become Kib.
The drying room circa 2018.
Smelling Tulsi (Holy Basil): By 2019, we'd outgrown Bereha Bet and the team had worked hard to secure a larger facility for our fresh produce and herb drying operations. It took us 6 months and much haggling with contractors, but finally in September 2019 we had our new drying room (Bereha Bet 2) and a warehouse up and running. Gudina and his team were drying lots of tulsi, locally known as besso bella, as we worked to scale up our production. And that Ethiopian tulsi would fill up the compound with its distinct berry-like smell. That tulsi now powers the hibiscus, tulsi, elderberry tea you'll find on Tesco shelves.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) and chamomile intercropped on a Kib partner farm.
We started small and are thrilled to still be making tea and growing. Thank you to all the Kib friends & fans who've been with us along the way. We hope you'll add Kib to your cart next time you pop into a Tesco.
And we can't wait to bring on many new Kib fans who find us on the shelves of Tesco.
What grows around comes around.