Guillermo Casarotti, MBA '94:
A New twist on tea
The key to making great tea, Guillermo Casarotti will tell you, is having a great tea blender. Fortunately for Casarotti, when he decided to start a premium tea company in 2001, one of the best "noses" in the world–a woman named Ines Berton, a resident of Argentina, his adopted home--was available. Since Inti Zen Teas was launched in 2004, Berton has designed eight distinctive blends with names like Silencio Andino, Patagonia Bee, and Inca Rose. Casarotti, formerly a brand manager at Frito-Lay and Burger King, says that what makes Inti Zen blends distinctive is the infusion of elements native to South America–aromas from the Andean mountains, flavors from Patagonia and textures from Brazil.
A practitioner of Tai Chi and meditation, Casarotti always saw a connection between the spiritualism in Buddhism and the earth religions of ancient Latin American Indian cultures. The company's carefully selected brand name–Inti Zen–reflects this. "Inti," is a Quechuan Indian word for "sun, energy, and spirit," a concept similar to the better-known Zen of ?Eastern cultures.
With Inti Zen, Casarotti wanted to "trade up Latin flavor, to make it something upscale." Over the past three years the company has grown by an annual rate of 100 percent and been honored with an award for exporting excellent from Argentina's most prestigious newspaper. Ubiquitous in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and now available in the U.S., Inti Zen tea is also seeing success in upscale stores like Harrods's of London and La Grande épicerie in Paris. And though Inti Zen employs only a small staff of seven – including two packagers – Casarotti has been committed to running his business according to the highest fair trade guidelines.
He has fans at home, as well: his 17-year-old drinks Earl Grey with rose petals every morning before school, and his three-year-old has been known to stomp into the kitchen with her sippy cup held high, chanting "Tea! Tea! Tea!"
Riding the success of Inti Zen's original blends, a new line of herbal infusions – Chamana – was launched in November, and Casarotti couldn't be happier.
"I live the product everyday," he says. "I just love to do what I do."
– Mark Rader, MFA '02