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The Tea about My Physician Side Hustle

This page is a guest post by our member side gig partner, entrepreneur Poorvi Chordia, MD. She shares her journey with her physician side hustle Herbs & Kettles , a premium tea company.

Dr. Chordia is a PSG affiliate partner, which means if you purchase from Herbs and Kettles using our partnership discount code PSG15, you'll get 15% off, and a portion of your order will support us too! We hope it's win-win-win!

Entrepreneur Poorvi Chordia, MD enjoying her Herbs and Kettles side hustle
Photo Credits: Erin Dickman

Who I am:

My name is Poorvi Chordia, and I am an immigrant who moved to the US from India in my mid twenties for further medical training. Fast forward to today, I am a board certified Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases physician who practices as a teaching inpatient hospitalist at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. I absolutely love what I do – teaching the new generation of doctors, solving medical mysteries, and helping patients get better. It keeps me feeling young and alive!

On the personal front, I am married to Abe, who's a radiologist, and we have two amazing girls. We are a family that enjoys traveling and wildlife adventures. During our vacations, we often end up exploring remote parts of India, especially the northeast, where we stumbled upon tea farms and fell in love with loose-leaf teas.

How My Physician Side Hustle Began

When COVID hit, we found ourselves in our little urban garden oasis, sipping tea together as a family. It became our way to find some peace and feel grounded. I jokingly tell people, "While some folks turned to alcohol to escape the stress, I turned to tea. I enjoyed the holistic wellness and health benefits that tea offered. Beyond its role as a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory beverage, it also alleviates acute stress and anxiety. Tea was a true companion in helping me navigate the stressors of 2020.

I wanted to share my love for high quality Indian teas and its health benefits with folks. In 2021, we decided to start our own tea business. We kicked things off as Noble Roots Living at local Atlanta farmers' markets. It was a great way to be part of the community and have a safe way to socialize during the pandemic. In order to better serve customers, and my desire to constantly learn and improve, I became an International Tea Masters Association (ITMA) certified tea sommelier.

How We Began to Brand and Scale our Physician Side Hustle

Abe and I soon realized that our chais, regional loose leaf teas, artisanal tea blends, herbal blends and lattes were exceptional and enjoyed by everyone who tried them. We were often asked if we were online and sold in retail stores. This definitely gave us the boost we needed, and after a bit of deliberation, in August 2022 we rebranded as Herbs & Kettles and ventured into the online world.

We settled on a message, and began the work of branding. This was it:

We're not your typical tea company. We're a family-run venture right here in Atlanta, founded by two physicians, one of whom happens to be a certified tea sommelier. Our journey begins with our love for travel, where we handpick the finest single-origin, single-batch, loose-leaf teas. We choose our teas based on their terroir, the way they contribute to wellness, their delightful aromas, and the exquisite flavors they offer. Our mission is to introduce the next generation of tea enthusiasts to an authentic Indian tea experience. In an age where self-care and holistic wellness are gaining importance, we're here to bring one the essence of Indian tea culture, one cup at a time.

Over the last two years, we've built and rebuilt our website, designed and redesigned our packaging, and added different products. We paid careful attention to the feedback of our customers, including so many of you on the Physician Side Gigs Facebook group (thank you!). This is our current packaging.

A Herbs and Kettles tea box, one entrepreneur physician's side hustle.
Photo credits: Iain Bagwell

Herbs and Kettles, an entrepreneur physician's side hustle, in action.
Photo credits : Iain Bagwell

Mixing Business with Pleasure, Family Time, and Charitable Giving

So, what do we do on our trips to India, you might wonder? Well, we have a unique approach to our vacations. We explore small, sustainable farms, carefully select single-origin, single-batch teas for the Herbs & Kettles collection, and contribute to red panda conservation efforts. Herbs & Kettles has teamed up with a non-profit organization in India known as the Prameya Foundation, and together, we initiated the Red Panda Conservation project. Our mission is to raise awareness, enhance surveillance, and combat the poaching of the endangered red panda.

Entrepreneur and tea sommelier Poorvi Chordia MD selecting tea for her Herbs and Kettles side hustle
Photo Credits: Avijit Dutta

Lessons Learned

Being a physician-mother-tea sommelier-entrepreneur has been quite the adventure, and it's been a journey of learning. Here are some valuable lessons I've picked up along the way:

  • Expect the Unexpected! There was so much I needed to learn, and I'm still learning every day. I didn't have prior knowledge of driving traffic to a website, order fulfillment, or even creating a SKU. The process was frustrating and slow, but I persevered and figured it out. Now, we have a fantastic and growing community of tea enthusiasts on social media, and digital marketing has helped boost our website traffic. We're also working on SEO to increase organic traffic. We have also been mentioned on Forbes, Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Atlanta Magazine.

  • Be Fearless! Despite being camera-shy, I found myself on live TV in January 2022 promoting Herbs & Kettles. I'm getting myself out there more, so I can increase brand awareness.

  • Have Plan B, C, D: In 2022, when we rebranded as Herbs & Kettles, we had to change everything, from social media handles to packaging. When we shifted from boxes to tins in September 2023, it was another round of changes, including new packaging, updated photos, and website revamping. But now, we're more giftable and present beautifully.

  • Yes, Nothing is Easy! Everything worthwhile is challenging. Juggling a medical practice, motherhood, and entrepreneurship is no walk in the park. I've had to start saying no to multiple commitments and become more intentional about how I spend my time. This includes outsourcing household chores. We're patient with the tea business because we want to stay self-funded and family-owned, ensuring we can call the shots and run the business as we see fit.

  • Yes, it's all Worth it! The best part is that we can give back to red panda conservation. We relish our visits to tea farmers, engaging with our customers, collaborating with local chefs and mixologists, all the while building our “communitea” one step at a time.

It's been quite a journey, and there's so much more to come. Thank you for being a part of our story! Cheers!

If you want to support Dr. Chordia's physician side gig while getting some great tea for yourself or friends and family at a discount, here's how! Dr. Chordia is a PSG affiliate partner, which means if you purchase from Herbs and Kettles using our partnership discount code PSG15, you'll get 15% off, and a portion of your order will support Physician Side Gigs too! We hope it's win-win-win!

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