BELLEVUE, Wash. — Millie's Sipping Broth looks like a typical tea bag. But inside is a savory blend of herbs and spices, created by husband and wife team Lori Peha Kezner and Llance Kezner.
The idea came about during Lori's time as a school teacher.
"You get hungry around 3 p.m., but you don't want to ruin dinner. So I'd put a bouillon cube in water, so it would satiate me until I got home," Peha Kezner explained.
But one day, her husband Llance had the idea to try something healthier. She suggested whatever he do, he put it in a tea bag.
That's when Llance started experimenting.
"I took Lipton tea bags, ripped them open. I got some herbs and spices and put those in there, stapled it, and then we had something," Llance shared.
Several years later, their broth in a tea bag would go on to win the Sofi Gold award for outstanding hot beverage.
Millie's is named after Lori's mom. The broths come in four flavors: Thai Lemongrass, Tomato Basil, Spicy Tortilla, and the award-winning Pho.
"A tea bag is so convenient.," Kezner said. "You can keep it in a desk at work or take it on an airplane or hiking. It's the most convenient portable drink."
"We're taking a bit from tea and taking a bit from soup and creating this new category, but people have been drinking broth for thousands of years," Llance remarked.
But in 2022, it's hot again, with Millie's cranking out and shipping thousands of savory tea bags all over the country.
The broth is currently featured on the Weight Watchers website.
It's the comeback Llance hoped to create.
In 2009, during the great recession, he lost his job selling software. Wanting to make a living he could count on, they got creative in the kitchen.
Their first product, Garlic It, won a national award: Outstanding Food Product of the year.
It's a professional success that's also personal.
Llance has lost more than 100 pounds and the broth was part of his modified keto plan.
"To this day I have the broth around 4 or 4:30 and it just helps me avoid my snack danger zone," Llance shared.
Sometimes you don't have to reinvent the wheel to make a difference, you just need to reimagine it.