Uppma Virdi named Businesswoman of the Year in Australia. This Punjabi woman settled in Australia, a lawyer by profession, never thought her love for a hot cup of chai (tea) would take her places. She thought she loved chai as much as most other Indians obsessed with the beverage. But, boy, was she wrong!
This week, 26-year-old Uppma Virdi, hailing from Jalandhar and living in Melbourne, received the ‘Businesswoman of the Year Award’ at the India Australia Business Community Awards held in Sydney, for taking the aroma of fresh Indian tea to Australian households.
Her hobby of making special Ayurvedic tea with dash of spices like ginger, cardamom (elaichi), jaggery (gur), dalchini (cinnamon), saunf (fenel), etc., coupled with the expertise of her 96-year old grandfather Pritam Singh Virdi’s recipe gave birth to a start-up ‘Chai Walli’ in 2014.
The name Chai Walli met with a lot of opposition from her parents, as expected. Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Virdi said, “In Australia, a country which lives on coffee and soft drinks like India lives on tea – finding a good cup of tea in a day is a tough task. My grandfather back in India is an Ayurvedic specialist and he serves this herbal tea blended with eleven spices to his patients. I started making it in Australia for friends. They never tasted anything of this sort. What started as a hobby became Chai Walli.”