Inca Tea CEO Shares Secret Ingredient in New Line of Teas
A trip to the land of the Incas inspired one young entrepreneur to give up his job and cash in his savings. The fascinating story behind a new brew that uses a South American ingredient famous for its health benefits. Joanna Gagis gets the inside story from Ryan Florio, CEO or “TEA” EO, of Inca Tea.
"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. You know, hiking through the gorgeous ruins of Peru's Machu Picchu is said to be life changing. And our first guest is here to tell us how that was absolutely true for him. He's Ryan Florio, Founder and "TeaEO" of Inca Tea. That's right. I see what you did there. You like that, huh? [laughter] I like that. [laughter] A good play on words. I love that. Very smart. Before we talk about your company, Inca Tea... Sure. ...let's talk about your trip to Peru. Yeah. In 2012? Yeah. I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Peru and hike the Inca Trail with my two best friends, and literally the very first day on our hike, our sherpa, over an open fire, boils some water. What's a sherpa? For those of us who have never been. He's a tour guide, in layman's terms. He's a guy who will show you around the ruins, and really, he knows the ins and outs of the actual trail itself. Right. And I have a lot of health problems personally, and I was told by my doctors not to even go on the trip initially. But... What were some of those concerns? I have... I've had both of my knees operated on, and my back operated on. So inflammation? Horrible inflammation in my knees, to the point where it was hard for me to even walk upstairs. Yeah, it was pretty bad. So how did you feel on that hike? Amazing. Believe it or not. And I had really no idea why. But going back to my sherpa, when he boiled that water over that open fire, he threw in purple corn, some cinnamon cloves, apples, and pineapples, and made an old ancient Incan tea. And I drank it every day for the next ten days during our ten day hike, and I never felt physically better than I did during that ten day hike. I've never heard of purple corn. Is it something that you had ever heard of before going there? Never. No idea. You know, you always hear about food props being made from blue corn. Like blue corn chips and things of that nature. But never purple corn. And I was so intrigued that when I came back to the States, I googled it just to learn more about it. So what did you find about the health benefits of purple corn? The very first thing that popped up on google was a doctor at Ohio State University, who is in charge of the food and..."