About Us

Who are we?

Welcome to Oonyall!

Owned and operated by a brother and sister duo, Rachel and Vivek Poovathoor, we are excited to invite you to connect with our own Malayali culture by sharing our favorite drink - chaya!

Chaya is the Malayalam word for 'tea' (also called 'chai' in Hindi).

For us, chaya is a symbol of love. The literal handing of chaya that happens in a South Asian household may be the only time when a parent can non-verbally say to their child, "Come, sit, spend some time here," or when a child can say to their older parent, "I am honoring you." That loving essence is what we hope our chaya steeps in your home over and over again.

What does 'Oonyall' mean?

Oonyall is the phonetic spelling of the Malayalam word ഊഞ്ഞാൽ, which means 'swing'.

Many houses in Kerala have wooden swings or rocking chairs on the front porch or living rooms. We used to sit on swings on the front porch of our family home in Kerala, sip on our chaya, and watch the monsoon rain fall. We would pass the time with conversation or just take in the beautiful scenery of Kerala while we enjoy our cup of chaya.

The "y'all" at the end is added as an homage to our Texan roots. Cute, right?

Why do we love chaya?

We’ve been obsessed with chaya since we were little kids.

After we landed in Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum, Kerala), our grandmother and aunt would welcome us home with breakfast, and at the end of breakfast, with our just-washed hair, sore backs, and tired feet, we would sip that "naadin" (homeland) chaya and everything would feel right. Our weariness from traveling would dissipate as we relaxed with every sip of fresh, hot chaya.

There's no doubt, we associate a lot of nostalgia with a cup of chaya, both for how we enjoy it at home (in Texas) and in Kerala, the motherland.  

Some of us are morning chaya drinkers. We grab our favorite steel pot, fill it with water, pour in some milk, measure the right amount of chaya podi (tea dust), crush some cardamom pods, and then slowly wait for our chaya to steep and rise to that perfect vibrant brown color; all while we run through the current list of tasks and problems brewing in our brains.

For others, chaya time is between 4pm and 6pm. The early evening signals to us to step away from our desks, log off of our computers, and begin to decompress. We walk into the kitchen, ignore the pile of dishes in the sink, and begin boiling water and milk to make some chaya. The smell of frothing milk, boiling tea dust, and cardamom magically gives us permission to unwind, even if just for a short while.

Why did we start Oonyall?

Regardless of how or when you drink chaya, we know the role a good cup of chaya (or chai) plays in a South Asian household.

Being South Indians, specifically Malayalis from Kerala, we sought out to find a way to bring the fresh taste of Kerala chaya back home to Texas.

We struggled to find decent chaya podi (tea dust) that represented an authentic South Indian chaya flavor in local grocery stores in the United States, and therefore the chaya we made here just didn’t ‘quite hit’ as it did back in Kerala. And we believe chaya should not be an afterthought. We wanted to really get it right.

So that’s when we decided to start Oonyall and import our own chaya podi from South India. If you're going to drink chaya, you might as well drink the most authentic chaya you can find!

By putting out an authentic representation of who we are, where we come from, and what we enjoy, we are sharing a little cup of our culture with you. 

What is our product?

We sell authentic South Indian chaya podi (tea dust). Our chaya podi is ethically sourced (TrusTea certified) from the Nilgiri Mountains.

The Nilgiri mountain range in South India contains tea estates that produce its own flavorful and balanced tea. Our authentic South Indian Nilgiri chaya is smooth, balanced, and flavorful. It's so much better than anything you can find at a grocery store in the US.