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Amai Tea & Bake House

I have been away from Lovescool this past week preparing for a Valentine’s day sale of Champagne Brownies. We will be offering the Champagne Brownies for sale from February 1 – 10, to be delivered in time for Valentine’s day. More details of the sale will be posted next week, but before we get to the brownies I believe it is important to tell you more about the company they are coming from.

As most of you know, my new company name is Amai Tea & Bake House. Many of you have asked how we came up with the name “Amai.” The answer is short and sweet, literally. The word “amai” means “sweet” in Japanese and we liked the meaning, as well as the sound of the word (pronounced like “ah-my”). While the name does have a definition in Japanese, we look forward to it taking on a life of its own, beyond any particular language.

The concept of the bakery is to provide exquisitely packaged, adventurous items. We want to offer products everyone knows and loves, but with a twist. Champagne brownies are an excellent example of this since it takes a classic dessert and adds something unexpected. We also want our products to be uplifting and fun, and not heavy or overwhelming. Our products and packaging are Asian-inspired, and we aim to take a more “healthful” approach to dessert. Keeping in mind that dessert isn’t considered “healthy” by most nutritionist’s standards, we believe that natural ingredients and appropriate portions can make dessert something we can enjoy without guilt. You will always find something rich and chocolaty at our bakery, but you’ll never find a cookie the size of a plate (of course if you choose to eat 10 of our smaller cookies, that’s up to you!) Beyond baked goods we will also be selling tea, as well as baking with it. Tea tastes wonderful, can be beautifully presented and has numerous health benefits associated with it. It’s another great example of a natural, delicious product that we can’t wait to explore further.

Getting to this concept has been a long road. We’ve gone through everything from cupcakes to dim sum, and landed on something we feel passionate about. We have already learned many things in the few months we have been operating. For example, the decorative dragées included on the last round of brownies will no longer be part of our champagne brownie offering. They were beautiful to look at, but we had a few people ask us if they were ok to eat and I realized that something unnatural like that should ever be on our products. No one should ever ask if something is edible from a bakery! We have also found better ways of sealing the brownies and expediting shipping, so they will arrive fresher and faster.

Many of you have also asked about the “we” I refer to when speaking about the bakery. I am not alone in this venture and have a wonderful business partner named Kathryn. Kathryn and I worked together at Starwood and both discovered we had a love of sweets. We started talking about opening a bakery together last summer, and it became a reality when we filed the official paperwork at the end of last year. Kathryn has a great business sense and sales experience, and is incredibly fun to work with. She is from Australia and can win anyone over with her friendly personality and charming accent. Whenever she has had too many cookies (for research purposes, of course) she says “I feel like such a peeg.” Translated to US English, “peeg” means “pig.” It makes me smile every time.

The bakery will begin with a wholesale focus, concentrating on the hotel industry. We are preparing individually wrapped baked goods that are perfect for hotel turn down gifts and amenities. We will also be selling gift items directly to customers online, so you will always have a chance to see what we’re up to. Over the next year we will continue growing our wholesale presence, with a goal of opening a retail space in 2007. We have big plans and we thank you all for helping us get on our way.


Paige says on January 26th, 2006 at 8:57 am:

Congratulations, Kelli! It is inspiring how you are following your dream. All the best in your baking ventures!

Jiraffe7 says on January 26th, 2006 at 10:17 am:

Best of luck on the bakery! I can’t wait til February 1st to buy some brownies! P.S. I hope you keep up the blog through all of this – it’s great reading about your experiences in opening up a bakery.

Tabatha says on January 26th, 2006 at 10:37 am:

Thank you for taking us (readers) on this journey with you. Sounds totally cool, I hope to be able to score some of those champagne brownies this time around. Awaiting with bated breath for your opening!!!!!!

Catherine says on January 26th, 2006 at 11:05 am:

So Exciting! Congrats on all this coming together. So ready for the brownies – missed the last round!

Beastmomma says on January 26th, 2006 at 11:32 am:

That sounds so exciting. I am looking forward to seeing what new things develop.

Mariko says on January 26th, 2006 at 12:49 pm:

This is so exciting. Good luck and congratulations! I know the Amai will be a grand success (it already is, judging by those champagne brownies).

Mona says on January 26th, 2006 at 2:23 pm:

Wow, that sounds really exciting. I commend you for just going for it. I’m really jealous too. So, you’re saying us regular peeps won’t be able to enjoy your goodies unless we’re in a hotel? I hope not! And how do we order the champagne brownies…those would be fun for V-day at work.

From Our Kitchen says on January 26th, 2006 at 9:27 pm:

Congratulations and good luck! I hope you’ll keep us updated on how the bakery is coming. It’s my dream to open a bakery some day too, so it’s great to see/hear about others’ successes in this area.

Latifa says on January 27th, 2006 at 9:39 am:

Best of luck. When we get to see your charming bakery photos?

Bill and Tricia says on January 27th, 2006 at 1:43 pm:

Congratulations kathryn,and to your partner in this venture,knowing you for so many years,we do know that this will have been carefully thought out,and that the top priority will be the customer care,we know if it can’t be 110% you don’t want to know.Hope the V day goes well,love from your friends in the UK.

Leann Rines says on January 28th, 2006 at 10:53 am:

Hi Kelli! I love this site. I just got a new kitchen aid for xmas and want to know a great bread and desseert recipe that’s easy and yummy!

Congrats on Amai! i will be defintely ordering some brownies for my boy :)


Nahal says on January 30th, 2006 at 7:53 pm:

Im so excited to see all of this take shape! way to go! 2 thumbs up from me!

Kristin says on January 31st, 2006 at 12:02 am:

Well I look forward to “peeeging” out once you get those Champagne brownies up and running! OOO I’m excited!

Ray says on February 1st, 2006 at 12:40 am:

As an Amai investor I encourage all of you to buy lots of brownies. Your taste buds will love it!

Catherine says on February 1st, 2006 at 10:28 am:

Never heard more about ordering, did I miss it.

TCB says on February 1st, 2006 at 1:38 pm:

Will they be avail soon? and can they be shipped to us fans not in the area?

Laurie says on February 3rd, 2006 at 2:22 pm:

I’m sitting here glowing with happiness & good wishes for you. It’s very exciting to see how things are progressing. Congratulations & full speed ahead!

georgie & dan says on February 7th, 2006 at 1:16 am:

Greetings from Oz!

Congrats on the start up – we heard all about it over Xmas with Kath while she was home.

We look forward to seeing the development & growth of what we are sure will be a company with a lot of heart, soul and creativity. Love the name AMAI too!

LOL from the downunder Gambles :)

Carlos from Italy says on March 3rd, 2006 at 2:55 pm:

Ciao Kelli & Kathryn,

I want to say that your cookies are delicious! There are no other words to describe them. My girlfriend Colleen has bought me 3 packages of cookies: Chai Alomond, Earl Grey and Currant and my favorites Lemongrass and Ginger.

Everybody in the family ate them!!! I had to hide the boxes from my mother so I can enjoy them next weekend.

Here in Italy we like eating those types of cookies while drinking Prosecco wine as a dessert.
I can’t wait to come back to New York City and get more delicious cookies from you girls.

Molto buono and Good luck!

Bagel In Harlelm says on March 8th, 2006 at 11:05 pm:

Congratulations on all this – how exciting! Are you considering opening the retail space in East Harlem?
Warm regards,
Bagel In Harlem

Lisa says on March 14th, 2006 at 11:46 pm:

Have been thinking of you Kath and wondering how it is all going. Sounds like things are certainly up and running and from the rave reviews….going very well. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Your dreams are certainly coming true! Just wish we could buy some in Oz!

Lisa (Sydney xx)

Pat Collins says on March 23rd, 2006 at 10:43 pm:

Dear Kelli and Kathryn,

I just ate the most wonderful brownie ever, next to my own recipe…very moist with that wonderful hint of champagne. I enjoyed mine with a glass of champagne….out of this world! Thanks Bazzini!

From Tampa Florida

Pat Collins

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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