In order to realize their dream of founding a food company, Olivia Chen and Pauline Ang chose to create Twrl, a milk tea business that embodies their beliefs as mothers, graduates of Berkeley, and members of the AAPI community.
For their whole 20-year friendship, they have always shared a love of food.
In spite of the challenges of setting up a tiny business in the midst of a pandemic, Pauline took the time to experiment and eventually make the tea she wanted. In the Twrl, she invented the first vegan, low-sugar, and low-fat milk tea.
The two eventually hired a co-packer and a food scientist for their canned and on-the-go product.
The co-founders’ early supply purchases from small family farms had been stirring. They were able to help them by making them their suppliers and even assisted them to get non-GMO certification through their products.
Because peas have a neutral flavor, require very little water, and produce significantly fewer carbon emissions than soy and almonds, Twrl used them to make sustainable milk tea.
Olivia and Pauline chose the name Twrl for their company based on a Chinese tale about brewed tea. Twrl is a company that embodies tradition and history with a touch of modernism.
As Asian-Americans who grew up drinking milk tea as part of their family heritage, they are major admirers of it and have even changed its ingredients with their loved ones.
Olivia went on to say that teas in cafés have extremely high-calorie content, low-quality ingredients, and impractical portability. In Twrl, they created its antithesis.
Olivia said they are motivated by the need to create a product that accurately represents America as a nation of immigrants, just like them and their families. A company that offers people the chance to blend their races and serve as role models in the community.
She clears up that as the organization’s founders, they are an Asian-American brand rather than an Asian or American brand.