Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Cash.
Hi Caitlin, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m the founder and maker of Kinship Milk Tea. I fell in love with milk tea while working in South East Asia in 2013. I was teaching English, and every day I would grab a milk tea from the 711 or the local boba shop. When I moved back to Austin, I really missed having milk tea in my daily routine – it’s truly the best. I figured that I had two options – drive to a boba tea shop or make it myself every time I wanted one.
I’m more of a doer, so I turned my tiny home kitchen into a test kitchen and got moving. Many months of trial and error and lots of spilled milk later, I landed on something that I felt proud of and wanted to share. Whenever friends or family would come over, I’d make them milk tea and force them to try all of my latest concoctions. Lots of excellent feedback later, the train picked up speed more and more as I served milk tea to friends and family, and those folks shared it with their circles. I launched this company officially in late fall of 2019, right before the pandemic hit. That ended up being a pretty rough time to start a small business, but we are back at it! It brings me so much joy to serve milk tea to the Austin community and to ride the roller coaster of the small business club.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
With every small business, there are high highs and low lows. I officially launched Kinship in the fall of 2019 before the pandemic hit in full force. For almost the entirety of 2020, I took a production pause. I tried to use that time to work on other aspects of the business – rebranding, redesigning the label on the bottle, working on a new website, doing more and more recipe testing. There were definitely times during 2020 that I thought we might not ever make another bottle, but we started to see the light early in 2021!
We’ve been impressed with Kinship Milk Tea, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Kinship milk teas are handcrafted in Austin, TX in small batches. Made from the highest quality ingredients, we put our hearts into every batch, every time. Strongly Brewed Loose Leaf Tea. A splash of oat milk and a touch of raw cane sugar. Drink it straight from the bottle or pour over ice – your call.
We are carried in small grocery stores and bodegas around Austin – think the Quickie Pickie’s, Royal Blue’s, and Thom’s Markets of the world. Kinship Milk Tea makes ready to drink, caffeinated tea lattes. They are 100% vegan – helping you stay energized throughout the day.
I am most proud of the logo and label design on the bottles. One of the brand tenets is a kick of weird fun, and I wanted all of the branding and creative to reflect that. Nothing on the label is exactly perfect or a straight line – all of the text headers are meant to be a take on Japanese woodblock prints and each one is slightly askew and raw. Nothing is perfect, and we wanted to drive that home in the branding!
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I definitely can see an upswing in the beverage world in the better for you category – think CBD drinks, euphorics, botanicals and more. It seems like a lot of people are wanting to consume delicious beverages that actually make you feel good. Matcha paved the way for tea to come on the scene in a bigger way, and I am excited to see tea gets its fair share of recognition within the next several years and beyond!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: kinshipmilktea.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kinshipmilktea/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kinshipmilktea
Nicole Slevin (studio shots, Park Ranger) Jinni J (photo of me with bottles at table)