Our Roots


Great chai is always the culmination of many different flavors, aromas, and experiences. Gray Duck Chai is no different, both in the chai you drink and the people that make it.

Inspired by the great tea that she had tasted throughout the country, Katey Niebur realized that bringing that experience back to Minnesota was her new goal. Katey went to school in New York, achieving her bachelors at the Culinary Institute of America. It is here that she developed a love and a passion for all things food and made the decision to start her career in that world. Eventually moving to Seattle, Katey was exposed to a coffee and tea culture unmatched in the country and fell in love with chai in particular. After some years away from her home in Minnesota it was time for her to move back and bring that love of chai with her.

Jon Alden was very lucky to meet Katey while working together at a local restaurant in Minnesota. It was there that Katey shared her love of chai by brewing her own version of the spiced tea for him, and giving Jon a new found passion for the craft. Jon quickly realized that Katey had something special and encouraged her to take her passion and share it with the world. Shortly after Gray Duck Chai was born, as well as a new partnership that was developing into something more.

Originally, Gray Duck partnered with local, independently owned coffee shops in the Minneapolis/ Saint Paul area, offering our chai in returnable growlers. We are extremely proud to continue to work with these amazing cafes and work alongside some of the best coffee roasters in the country. Eventually we started bottling Gray Duck Chai for grocery stores so anyone could have an amazing cup of chai at home the way Katey and Jon used to have.

Almost inevitably, a passion for great tea blossomed into something more. Katey and Jon were married in December of 2015 and live happily together in Minneapolis. Most recently, in June of 2017, the 2 gave birth to 2 identical twin boys, Maxwell and Wyatt in addition to Jon’s daughter Maddi. They now have a very full house.