Our History

Morning Glory Chai was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1995 by Jessica Vidican-Neisius. This woman owned, family run small business has been in continuous operation for over 20 years, and has a loyal following both along the West Coast and nationwide.

Jessica Vidican-Neisius

Before founding Morning Glory Chai, I spent the better part of the years between 1986 and 1994 visiting my cousin in Seattle, and while I loved the delicious espresso experiences of that heady period, I felt there was a certain spice missing, a warming embrace of ginger and pepper to chase off the chill of the drizzle.

It became my mission to bring spice to Seattle, to concoct a unique chai brew to warm the soul of this nomad city. By incorporating tonic herbs, select spices, and good strong tea, my brew would improve mental clarity, stimulate the body, fire up the circulation to fingers and toes on a chilly, drizzly day, and be gentle and nourishing enough to enjoy every day.

Fuel to power the passions of people chasing their dreams.

When I first came to town, all I had was $200 and a little black pot for brewing chai and a wish to work in the Tibetan apothecary in Pike Place Market, Tenzing Momo. Since I was young enough to still know everything, I proudly walked into the Momo with a few days of arriving in my Datsun B210 art car, and began to order herbs and spices for my experiments. The gentleman behind the counter asked me lots of questions about what I was buying. It felt a bit like a quiz, which I was acing. He asked if I was looking for a job, and with arms akimbo, I stated, “Why yes, and I was planning on working here!”

Tenzing Momo

Upon landing the job, I suddenly had 1,000 herbs at my disposal and a team of herbalists to share ideas with and to taste my test brews! While I had been tinkering with different formulas for a long while before this, I never had such incredible access to the full pharmacopeia. That fall, I spent countless hours tasting teas, tasting herbal decoctions and infusions, experimenting with new herbs and flavor combinations, and steeping myself in all the tea lore and herbal magic I could lay my hands upon. It was an aromatic era!

When the energetics and flavors were balanced, and the spices and tonics were able to stand up to various other flavors people enjoy with their tea, such as sweets and savory foods and tobacco, I began blending my secret recipe in ever larger batches to satisfy my growing network of chai lovers. This spicy strong tea really got a body moving! 

The winter of 1995, I started brewing in earnest at the Black Cat Cafe in the U-District. I kept them supplied with chai, and they let me brew in their kitchen after hours on Sundays. Then in 1996, I built my first WSDA certified commercial kitchen in the basement of my house in Ballard. What an adventure that was!

The chai quickly outgrew the basement, and after a few years of juggling working at the Momo and launching the chai, I left my post as a village herbalist and went on to build the first Mr. Spot’s Chai House on Market St. in Ballard.

Mr. Spot's was a people’s tea house and cafe, with only vegetarian food, a full calendar of off the wall events, and the chai brewery in the kitchen. For five years the first Chai House rocked along, and the chai biz kept growing. When we outgrew our cute little shop, the Chai House moved around the corner to its final location on Leary Ave.

Mr Spot's Chai House

So many wonderful memories were made at both Chai Houses! We hosted numerous bands and DJ’s, showcased many artists, helped launch multiple careers and love affairs, and baked countless incredible chai cheesecakes. To this day, people still remember the magic that was the Chai House!

Chai House

In 2008 the Chai House cafe business changed hands, allowing me to focus exclusively on the wholesale chai brewing business. I moved the brewery to our current location in Greenwood, and all we do now is brew chai all day! 

As I look forward to the years ahead, I am excited to continue to energize people as they pursue their life's work with my unique healthy chai.

Jessica with cup of chai

Sharing my nourishing spicy brew far and wide is my way of giving back, to fuel the fire in the bellies of the change makers, both at home and abroad.

With every simple cup of chai, I hope to help support your dreams, too!