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About UsAn age old blend of organic black tea, a touch of sugar, loads of fresh ginger, and delicate spices.

About Sherpa Chai's founder, Pemba Sherpa

In 2001, I was fortunate to start Sherpa's Adventure Restaurant and Bar in Boulder, Colorado, where gallons of Sherpa Chai are served every day!

Our story began at 10,000 ft in the high mountain region of the Himalayas, situated in the town of Sengma.

Early in the morning, I would venture out on my 3 hour hike to school, which inspired me to one day build a suspension bridge so kids could walk to school in only half an hour!

My small village consisted of no more than 10 houses. As a young boy, I eagerly waited for my mother to serve me delicious chai, and the spiced tea would warm my whole body.

I grew up as a professional mountain guide, always enjoying a hot, fresh cup of my mother’s chai before, during, and after each expedition.

I ran up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,431’ of elevation) in a single day, run a 5K race in 15 minutes and 7 seconds, have participated in world-class ice climbing competitions, and practice yoga daily. 

"Sherpa Chai is as much about the community as it is about the chai. When we're cooking tea, we're thinking about the people in Nepal who picked it."

- Pemba Sherpa

Sherpa Chai isn't just the chai Pemba's mother made him. It's the chai her mother made for her. The chai her mother's mother made before that. This recipe has been integral to the Sherpa people that built their homes high in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal.

When Pemba was 16, he began working as a guide, carrying baggage and food to the basecamps of Everest and others of the world's highest peaks. Soon he was able to form his own trekking agency, Sherpa Ascent International, which lead tourists up peaks and on treks in Nepal, Europe and Africa. During each venture, he would leave his mark by donating cloths, time, and money to uplift the residents of each location. Pemba eventually made Boulder, Colorado his basecamp, directing and leading over 40 trips to Nepal over the course of 15 years. In 2001, Pemba started Sherpa's Adventurer's Restaurant and bar. It was here the first gallons of his age-old recipe were made, which evolved into the creation of the Sherpa Chai brand in 2015.


From a recipe passed down through generations of Sherpas.

Chai is a mixture of exotic spices, herbs and tea. It requires patience, concentration and experienced touch to make it more tasteful. However, Chai recipes are often family secrets passed down through generations each with their own twist. Invented by Pemba’s mother, she had passed the Chai recipe on to him which was served by the gallon every day. The taste and aroma of Chai became more famous and loved by everyone in no time. Everyone had started talking about it and, soon, many restaurants had also started serving this special Chai to people.

In 2013, Pemba decided to explore his territory and share his family’s recipe more widely and recognized by the whole world. Then, he found a partner - Jacob Dana with whom he could rely upon and start his business journey. This way, they both worked hard together and turned out the efforts into success by making Sherpa’s Chai into Sherpa Chai™. He is now proud to be the first indigenous Sherpa to offer this timeless beverage to you and your family.

Jangbu Sherpa who has summited Mt. Everest ten times without the aid of supplemental oxygen, remarked that at each camp on the way to the top there was a hot mug of this same family recipe waiting to keep spirits high and climbers warm. Lakhpa Sherpa, another Everest summiteer drinks Sherpa Chai every morning before heading to work at Sherpa's Restaurant.

Since than Sherpa Chai has embarked its name in the beverage industry. A hot cup of chai sends journeyers off and welcomes travelers home. It's a daily drink, but also holds a spot on the table next to Roxi and Chang during the various celebrations and festivals that occur throughout the year in Nepal. As chai is an essential beverage for millions in Asia, it is quickly becoming a staple in this country as well. In the US, iced chai is a refreshing beverage after a long hike, a grueling day at school, or non-stop meetings at work. Grab a mug, grab some friends and sit back and enjoy some Sherpa Chai!

Nanga Parbat is pictured on our label and is the ninth highest mountain in the world, known locally as “Killer Mountain.”

Jonny Copp, a close friend of Pemba’s, was an amazing mountaineer, filmmaker, and activist.

Tragically, Jonny was killed in an avalanche in China in 2009. In his honor, our label is an adaptation of a photo Jonny took on Nanga Parbat to honor his memory, his legacy of community-building, and his adventurous spirit.

Our label was created by the Sherpa Chai team with the professional support of Moxie Sozo, an award winning global design company based out of Boulder, CO.


Pemba Sherpa

Pemba Sherpa - Founder/Owner

After growing up in one of the poorest regions of Nepal. Pemba began leading expeditions to climb the highest mountains in the world.

After opening a Nepalese restaurant in Boulder, where he served hundreds of gallons of his family’s traditional chai recipe, the overwhelming demand for his tea lead to the realization that he needed to bottle and market his product to the world.

Dilli Koirala

Dilli Koirala - Master Brewer

Dilli makes chai and chai makes Dilli. Not only does this native of Ilam – Nepal's tea capital – craft the most delicious chai on the market, but he is a poet, social activist, loving father, regular blood donor, leader of charity organizations and documentary producer. His love for chai is as vibrant as his love for humanity. That fact is made clear by how thoroughly he chooses the ginger, lovingly inhales the intense aromas of the spices, and, when it's all said and done, blissfully sips the first sips of each batch of the still warm Sherpa Chai.

Ang Thukten Sherpa

Ang Thukten Sherpa - IT Manager

After growing up in the Khumbu region of Nepal in Pemba’s home village of Sengma, (near Mt Everest), Thukten moved to Kathmandu to attend school, where he studied business administration and worked as an operation manager in the travel industry. He then moved to the United States to attend university. He currently holds a bachelor degree in Computer Information Systems and is working on a masters degree. Thukten is Sherpa Chai’s IT Director and in addition, he helps brew the chai.

Chhewang Lama Sherpa

Chhewang Lama Sherpa - Brewer

Was born in the same district of Nepal as Pemba Sherpa, Solukhumbu district. Chhewang Lama attended high school at Janajagriti Mavi, the only high school in his village. He started his own construction company and spent five years building roads in his village. Chhewang then worked in a factory for the Samsung Television company for 10 years making parts. In 2017 he came to the United States and started working with his old friend Pemba. The two men have been friends for more than 30 years. Today Chhewandg works at Sherpa chai as a lead brewer.

Tshering Sonam Sherpa

Tshering Sonam Sherpa - Brewer

Was also born in the Khumbu region of Nepal in Pemba’s home village of Sengma, near Mt Everest, he and Pemba are relatives. Sonam is a university student studying engineering. Today he works as a brewer at Sherpa Chai and is our back up IT manager.

Alex Rojas Sanders

Alex Rojas Sanders - Brewer

Originally from Mexico City, Alex was raised surrounded by climbers and mountaineering books. As a young man he left his home country dreaming to climb around the world. He has lived and climbed in the Alps, the Andes, the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas. During his travels he has lived and climbed with the Sherpa people. It was through this shared love of climbing that Alex came to know Pemba and they continue to be great friends and rivals in climbing, running, and mountaineering. At Sherpa Chai Alex is referred to as the honorary Sherpa by the team due to his deep relationships and understanding of Sherpa culture. He's a naturalized American with experience in mountain guiding, ultramarathons, rope access, rigging, languages, and holds a master's degree in Electronic Arts. Alex is the go-to-guy at Sherpa Chai, doing everything from brewing chai to managing the shipping and delivery process.

Rashmi Tamang

Rashmi Tamang - Brewer

Rashmi grew up outside Kathmandu where she met Pemba some years ago. She has worked in Nepal as a singer, dancer and entertainer and recently received a green card to emigrate to the United States she arrived in Boulder in 2020 and began working at Pemba’s restaurant but has now moved to help brew chai for our team.

Nima Sherpa

Nima Sherpa - Brewer

Was born in the Khumbu region of Nepal in Pemba’s home village of Sengma, near Mt Everest, he and Pemba are cousins. He came to the United States at about the same time as Pemba and started his own business in construction. Over the years he has always been there to support the restaurant and in more recent time working to help build Sherpa Chai.

Amrita Koirala

Amrita Koirala - Social Media Technical Specialist

Amrita was born and raised in the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu. She has known Sherpa Chai’s founder, Pemba Sherpa, for most of her life and has been heavily influenced by both his strong work ethic and focus on achieving a degree in higher education.

Amrita holds a bachelor of science degree in Computer Science from Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom. She is bringing her strong technical background to Sherpa Chai in supporting optimal execution and monitoring site metrics of all social media platforms.

David McKean

David McKean - Owner/CEO

After spending 10 years in sales for the Discovery Channel, David co-founded The Knowland Group in 2004. Today, Knowland is the largest provider of group sales data in the world for the hospitality industry with more than 3,000 client hotels and 50,000 users globally.

As the Owner/CEO, David is taking his business acumen and applying it to building Sherpa Chai into becoming the national leading chai brand in the United States.

Phil Sadow

Phil Sadow - Director of National Accounts

Phil's career started in financial reporting and healthcare, where he quickly became a sales and customer experience leader in the field. His 20+ years of experience have contributed to a very successful transition into the CPG industry. As Sherpa Chai's Director of National Accounts, he builds crucial relationships, establishes company-wide best practices, and expands distribution by taking the Sherpa Chai brand from a regional to national player in the market.

Don Potratz

Don Potratz - Controller

Don is the owner of the Long’s Peak Payroll and has more than 30 years of experience in accounting. During his professional career, he has held director-level positions with several nationally-based firms like Waldenbooks and ADP. Don has extensive experience in developing SaaS - based payroll, financial products, and implementing large-scale payroll and HR systems.

Suzanne Steven

Suzanne Steven - Sales and Operations Strategist

Suzanne has 20+ years CPG experience working directly for manufacturers, syndicated data providers, and as a management consultant.

As a strategic consultant with Sherpa Chai, Suzanne is a collaborative partner with the senior management team, providing hands-on leadership in guiding both sales and marketing in product ventures and product expansion.

Jake Fell

Ryan Ebel - Sales Representative

He is one of our newest members at Sherpa Chai. This year, he will be an integral part of our sales team.

Ryan grew up in the Washinton, D.C. area as a passionate athlete and adventurer. In high school, Ryan won two rugby National Championships. Consequently, after putting his career on pause, Ryan’s affinity for exploration in the outdoors has drawn him to move to Colorado. In his free time, you will find Ryan hiking to the summit of the Flatirons, playing rugby, or skiing down a mountainside.

In addition, Ryan was compelled to join Sherpa Chai because of the company’s mission and overarching goals. Over the next few years, Ryan intends on finishing his education at CU Boulder and continuing his work with Sherpa Chai.

Hadley Thomas

Hadley Thomas - Social Media Marketing Specialist

After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Hadley joined Sherpa Chai as our Social Media Marketing Specialist. Hadley is a results-driven person who enjoys finding the best ways to reach new and returning audiences. She is passionate about growing brand awareness through creative, informative content that tells the story of Sherpa Chai.

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Hadley is both a city girl and an outdoor enthusiast.

Sherpa Group

The Sherpa Chai Team

The Bridge

Making a difference in Nepal.

This is a story about young Pemba Sherpa, who lived in the beautiful Khumbu region of Nepal where there are no cars, buses, or even bicycles. Untill this day, residents must walk everywhere. The little children of Sengma, Pemba's hometown, walked nearly an hour and a half downstream and back upstream from the nearest bridge only so that they could get to the school and study. Living in this area and experiencing life in Sengma, it built a foundation where Pemba gained his impressive qualities like strength, perseverance, and patience. Among these, the best quality he learned was compassion.

During a monsoon season, with heavy rainfall, a vital bridge got washed out and collapsed. The bridge was the only way for children to get to school. However, to allow the children to travel safely to and from school and receive their education, people from the village constructed a temporary bridge.This bridge allowed the children to cross the treacherous Dhud Koshi, which even at its lowest levels is considered a powerful torrent. As a boy, that Pemba witnessed a fellow school child get swept away to his death when the temporary bridge failed. Seeing this incident changed the life of Pemba and drove him made a big difference in Nepal and for the people in Segnma.

A new bridge.

When Pemba came to America to make his fortune, he immediately started working towards the goal of building a new bridge for the people of his valley and village.

Completed in 2011, the new bridge cuts the commute for the school children from 3 hours to only 30 minutes and provides safe passage to thousands of people in his home town.


In the Khumbu Region of Nepal, there are no cars, buses or even bicycles. For the children of Sengma, that meant walking nearly 3 hours to & from school.

Completed in 2011, Sherpa Chai funded the construction of a new bridge, which cut the commute for school children from 3 hours to only 30 minutes!

Additionally, Sherpa Chai worked with the Colorado rock climbing & mountaineering community to raise money after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

$110,000 in cash and over $65,000 worth of tarps, tents, clothing, sleeping bags, backpacks, and more were donated to the victims.

Pemba was also influential in aiding the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in Sengma in 2007.

The plant currently provides inexpensive, clean energy to hundreds of families living in the remote Himalayan Mountains.