Skip to main content
Iroh's Corner

Iroh's Corner

By Jessi Freitag
A podcast based on Uncle Iroh’s wise words: ”Sharing tea with a fascinating stranger is one of life's true delights.” Interviews with entrepreneurs, industry experts, leaders, and other cool humans. Hosted by Jessi Freitag.
Where to listen
Amazon Music Logo

Amazon Music

Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Stitcher Logo


Ovation Coffee & Tea: Karter Elhabbassi
Join us for tea with Karter Elhabbassi, owner of Ovation Coffee & Tea, a chain of coffee shops in Portland, Oregon with a Moroccan twist to the menu. Karter shares about growing up in the US and Morocco, how his family started the restaurant Dar Essalam in Wilsonville, Oregon, and then started Ovation Coffee & Tea, how they infuse a culture of hospitality into everything they do, and and so much more.  We recorded this episode in April 2022, and since then, Yelp published a list of the top 100 coffee shops in the US and Canada, and I’m excited to share that Ovation is #3 on that list! We’re releasing this episode on National Coffee Day in the US on September 29th, with International Coffee Day being just two days later on October 1st. Congratulations to Ovation for being named the #3 coffee shop in the US and Canada, and if you find yourself in Portland, be sure to stop by. This episode was sponsored by Prompt'd Moments: Get 30% off your order at Prompt'd Moments using code TEA30 Episode Links: Ovation website & IG @ovationpdx Yelp's Top 100 List featuring Ovation KOIN story "Yelp says this brunch spot is the top reviewed in Oregon" Video from KOIN story for 2021 National Coffee Day featuring Ovation (and another clip here) Show Links: Want to support Iroh's Corner? You can leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or buy Jessi a one-time tea here Visit host Jessi's Linkedin or website Check out the Iroh's Corner Tea Library with host and guest tea recommendations Questions or comments about the episode? Email Jessi at
September 29, 2022
Suzor Wines: Mélissa Rondeau
Join us for tea with Mélissa Rondeau, co-owner of Suzor Wines, a small production winery crafting beautiful, sustainable wines from the Willamette Valley. Mélissa shares about growing up in Montréal and pivoting from business school to hospitality, working in vibrant hospitality establishments in Europe that shaped how she views hospitality today, moving to Oregon and meeting her husband and co-owner of Suzor Wines, Greg McClellan, all about how they make beautiful wines at Suzor through Methven Family Vineyards' custom crush program, and so much more.  This episode was sponsored by Prompt'd Moments: Get 30% off your order at Prompt'd Moments using code TEA30 Episode Links: Suzor Wines website & IG @suzor_wines Video interview with Mélissa & Greg by Rich Schmidt Mentioned Rose + Lincoln juices Négociant wine shop and delicatessen Domaine Roy winery in Dundee, OR Aesthete Tea Show Links: Want to support Iroh's Corner? You can leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or buy Jessi a one-time tea here Visit host Jessi's Linkedin or website Check out the Iroh's Corner Tea Library with host and guest tea recommendations Questions or comments about the episode? Email Jessi at
August 24, 2022
Tattoo 34: Nisha Supahan and Toby Linwood
Join us for tea with Nisha Supahan and Toby Linwood, owners of Tattoo 34, Portland’s only Indigenous & Black owned tattoo shop. Toby and Nisha share about their journey from meeting each other and multiple moves to landing in Portland, how Toby got into art and creating sculptures for the Olympics and ultimately tattooing, how they've intentionally built Tattoo 34, and so much more.
May 31, 2022
Farmhouse Teas: CeAnne Kosel
Join us for tea with CeAnne Kosel, owner of Farmhouse Teas, an online organic loose leaf tea company run from their farm in Oregon. CeAnne shares about how she fell in love with gardening, herbs, and blending teas, the journey from farmers markets to building a thriving ecommerce business, and her focus on education, customer experience, and her "secret sauce."
April 12, 2022
Bringing inventory operations software for CPG brands into the modern age with Ken Ojuka
Join us for tea with Ken Ojuka, founder and CEO of Fiddle, a modern inventory operations software for CPG brands and manufacturers. Ken shares his career path from being a CPG brand to creating a software for CPG brands, his focus on building inventory software with a modern, intuitive interface, and how he strives toward "work-life harmony."
February 22, 2022
Infusing joy, beauty, and abundance into artisanal, plant-based mylks with Amy Colville
Join us for tea with Amy Colville, founder, owner, and Chief Joy Seeker at aMYLK, a plant-based mylk company. Amy shares her serendipitous journey, including going from burn-out to creating a bliss-filled company, her own health needs leading her to making her own mylks, and how she intentionally grows and leads her team.
December 30, 2021
Blending history, conscious sourcing, and surprising flavors into high quality cocoas with Yvonne Fide
Join us for tea with Yvonne Fide, co-founder of Momo Cocoa, a high quality cocoa company that the Wall Street Journal called a "nostalgia-inducing, much better version of the just-add water hot chocolate we remember." Yvonne shares about her career journey from philosophy to law, going from vegan to vegetarian and realizing there were not great cocoa options, her knowledge on the history of cocoa and sourcing, and bringing her cocoa recipes to life online and in retail stores.
October 20, 2021
Starting Portland's tea festival and turning ideas into action as a serial entrepreneur with Jennifer Brenner
Join us for tea with Jennifer Brenner, founder and leader of Tea Fest PDX (Portland's annual tea festival) and founder and owner of Black Ink Books and Pine & Peat Candle Co. Jenn shares her journey from tea ceremonies in Niger to helping small businesses organize their books to turning years of ideas around a Portland tea festival into action and starting Tea Fest PDX.
October 06, 2021
Harnessing nostalgia through sophisticated vegan ice cream for your inner child with Mary Allen
Join us for tea with Mary Allen, founder and owner of Ramblin' Rose, a plant-based ice cream food truck in Portland. Mary shares about the beautiful story behind her truck, her passion for using local ingredients and building local partnerships, and her mission to make vegan ice cream for adults who never grew up (even though their palate did).
September 21, 2021
Cultivating healing with tea, herbal blends, and a passion for sharing knowledge with Briana Thornton
Join us for tea with Briana Thornton, founder of Aesthete Tea and co-founder of Thornton's Supply. Briana shares about her early career in art curation and branding, starting an organic loose leaf tea and herbal blend brand, and her passion for plant medicine, folk healing, and herbalism.
September 07, 2021
Paving new paths as an adidas leader & local brewery, event center owner with Jamie Gross
Join us for tea with Jamie Gross, Senior Director at adidas of the US Kohl's wholesale business and co-owner of Silver Harbor Brewing Company in St. Joseph, Michigan. Jamie shares about her career journey in sales from Whirlpool to adidas, launching Silver Harbor Brewing Company with her husband and friends, and how she manages it all with two young children.
August 24, 2021
Launching online - from macarons to innovating magnetic photography backdrops with Bolaji and Josalyn Osoba
Join us for tea with Josalyn & Bolaji Osoba, owners and founders of be. macarons and Kwerke. be. macarons is an online macaron shop and Kwerke sells easy magnetic photography backdrops and mini studios. Josalyn & Bolaji share about their career journeys, Josalyn perfecting macarons, Bolaji designing the Kwerke setup, and what it's like to launch multiple online businesses.
August 10, 2021
Farming a legacy of specialty fruits & featuring local flavors in unique fruit spreads with Laura and Mike Ellis
Join us for tea with Mike & Laura Ellis, owners and founders of Mt Hope Farms, an Oregon specialty fruit farm. Laura and Mike share about choosing their specialty crops (table grapes, aronia berries, and haskap berries), developing a line of artisan fruit spreads, and how they highlight the legacy of their farm and other local Oregon farms through their products.
July 27, 2021
Maximizing unexpected opportunities & business models to share mochi donuts with Emily Mikiko Strocher & Alex McGillivray
Join us for tea with Emily Mikiko Strocher & Alex McGillivray, founders and creators of Mikiko Mochi Donuts. Alex and Emily share about starting a mochi donut company during a pandemic, experimenting with more than four business models, the influence of family and tradition on Mikiko, and a not-super-distant dream of a retail shop in Portland.
July 20, 2021
Elevating childhood favorites - vegan yet fanciful pop tarts & treats with Courtney Lesnik
Join us for tea with Courtney Lesnik, founder and creator of Toast'd PDX, an elevated vegan pop tart company. Courtney shares about her love of baking and creating art on her pop tarts for pop-ups each week, being a vegetarian and then vegan, and how she navigates the tough topics of burn-out, life as a mompreneur, and growth plans.
June 29, 2021
Spreading the Happy Campers lifestyle through GF baking & authentic living with Jan Taborsky & Lacy Gillham
Join us for tea with Jan Taborsky and Lacy Gillham, co-founders and co-creators of Happy Campers Gluten Free, a gluten free, vegan, and ancient grain bread company. Lacy & Jan share about starting Happy Campers as students in Oregon more than 10 years ago, the steps to going from a local bakery to making bread available across the nation, and how they keep all aspects of their life nourished.
June 22, 2021
Sharing stories & bespoke teas from journeys on the road less traveled with Charity Chalmers
Join us for tea with Charity Chalmers, owner and founder of Chariteas, an online retailer of teas from the road less traveled. Charity originally started a corporate gifting company, then a tea cafe in Sandy, Oregon, and then converted the business all online to allow her to start a tea garden in the Philippines. Charity shares about her journey at Chariteas over the last ten years including how she initially got into tea, her travels to tea gardens in multiple companies to source her teas, and learning to blend teas.
June 15, 2021
Pulling Back the Curtains on Angel Investing with Jessi Freitag
Angel investing sounds esoteric and irrelevant to most of the population; however, it's more prevalent than you think and shapes the companies and brands we know and love. Join Jessi as she does an overview of angel investing - afterward, you can watch Shark Tank like a pro, spot angel investing in the wild, and understand which businesses are eligible for investment funds and why.
June 01, 2021
Establishing a landmark for gourmet soft serve & snacks in the Columbia Gorge with Emily Cafazzo
Join us for tea with Emily Cafazzo, co-owner and co-founder of Sugarpine Drive-in, a premier drive-in restaurant on the banks of the Sandy River in Troutdale, Oregon. Emily and her husband, Ryan Domingo, also have started Da Pine Grinds, a pop-up food truck, and are in the process of opening the Sugarpine Roadhouse. Emily shares about the source of her love for food, starting Sugarpine with Ryan, creating and maintaining a company culture, and adapting during a pandemic.
May 25, 2021
Learning the fickle and fun ropes of candymaking to create nutty, buttery, vegan candy with Anne Smith
Join us for tea with Anne Smith, founder and owner of Oregon Bark, a local candy line of nutty, all gluten free & vegan candies. Anne shares about her journey from animator, to cooking school owner, to confectioner, with lots of surprises along the way - especially about candy and its eccentricities. "Toe" candy versus "Finger" candy, dreaming up fancy ice cream sandwiches before the world was ready, and Anne's infectious laugh and affable nature are just a few pieces of this fun conversation.
May 18, 2021
Turning a personal frustration into the #1 camping app with Sarah Smith
Join us for tea with Sarah Smith, the co-founder & visionary of The Dyrt, the #1 camping app. Sarah shares about starting the The Dyrt to solve her own camping frustrations & the frustrations of millions of other campers. Other topics include fundraising, living abroad, emergency surgery & a lost passport in Nepal, and adapting team culture during the pandemic.
May 11, 2021
Investing in startups to create the world you want to see & life as an angel investor with Marcia Dawood
Join us for tea with angel investor (what’s that? You’ll find out!), Marcia Dawood. Marcia shares the role of an angel investor and how it compares to what you see on shows like Shark Tank, her mission and work to make investment funding available to more women and BIPOC, and her efforts to help more people become angel investors and realize how they can impact the world around them through investing in startups.
April 27, 2021
Making badass plant-based ice cream & the ebb and flow of entrepreneurship with Katelyn Williams
Join us for tea with the founder and creator of two plant-based ice cream companies, Katelyn Williams. Kate shares about her determination to make great plant-based ice cream, her learnings between her first and second ice cream shops, and her commitment to networking and uplifting other local makers. Kate’s Ice Cream is made using organic coconut and cashew milk and is 100% vegan and gluten-free.
April 20, 2021
Creating delicious teas & meaningful moments with Andy Hayes
Join us for tea with Andy Hayes, the founder and creator of a unique tea(!) company, Plum Deluxe. Andy shares about learning to create delicious teas, his inspiration to savor and seek out meaningful moments, and how Plum Deluxe inspired such a one-of-a-kind community.
April 13, 2021
Fashion merchandising at adidas, painting, & human connection with Steph Decker
Join us for tea with senior director at adidas, art gallery founder, mom of three, boxer, singer, and inspiration, Steph Decker. Steph shares about how she got into fashion merchandising, her career at adidas, her opportunity to go pro in boxing, her passion for art, her impressive painting goals for 2021, and her tips on human connection, leadership, and humility.
April 06, 2021
Stephanie Nash at Stephanie Nash Marketing
Join us for tea with Stephanie Nash - founder and owner of Stephanie Nash Marketing, which specializes in full service social media marketing for food, beverage and lifestyle brands. Stephanie shares about starting her own company, how she connects with influencers, and how she stays organized and inspired while growing her business.
March 30, 2021
Introduction to Co-Packing
Why do so many energy bars taste the same? When a product is labeled "Great Value" at Walmart, who made it? A a food entrepreneur, how do you decide whether to co-pack or self manufacture? This episode is a quick intro to co-packing (aka contract manufacturing). Jessi also shares LivBar's experience of deciding whether to use a co-packing for their bars.
March 25, 2021
Affouet Price at Hibisbloom
Join us for tea with Affouet Price - founder and creator of Hibisbloom. Hibisbloom is a premium hibiscus based beverage and cocktail mixer, produced and bottled in small batches in Portland, Oregon. Affouet shares about competing in the Oregon Entrepreneurship Network Angel Food event, developing sustainable packaging, deciding whether to use contract manufacturing (a co-packer), balancing motherhood and work, intentional growth speed management, and much more.
March 22, 2021
Kayla Freitag at Kayla Joy Creative
Join us for tea with Kayla Freitag - founder and owner of Kayla Joy Creative or KJC. Kayla and team develop recipes and content for food brands, and she shares about embracing unexpected opportunities, teaching herself photography and other skills, and growing KJC.
March 18, 2021
Start Here - Welcome to Iroh's Corner
A quick mini episode to introduce the host of Iroh's Corner (Jessi Freitag) and let you know what to expect on this podcast. Spoiler Alert: expect tea with fascinating strangers such as entrepreneurs, industry experts, leaders, and other cool people.
March 16, 2021