Small Business Q&A: Mo'Mint and Thyme
Home grown organic herbs provide the central flavors of hand-crafted beverage and Jamaican jerk seasoning produced in East Cobb.
A moment in time can be measured by a clock or by the impact made on your memory. Mo'Mint and Thyme founder Byrma Braham is committed to creating lasting memories on taste buds in Greater Atlanta with her fresh, all-natural, hand-crafted beverage concentrates and jerk seasoning.
Braham grew up in Jamaica where her family ate and made fresh and preserved produce and meats that were raised in their 3 acre yard.
"My mother taught home economics and also had a government job teaching people in rural areas how to use the foods that are available," Braham said, "We made ice cream every Sunday, the joke was what flavor will it be this week."
Braham puts the flavor of Jamaica in her Mo'Thyme Jerk Seasoning. According to Braham, the trio of onion, garlic and thyme can be found in the majority of Jamaican recipes.
Mo'Mint products are made and packaged in the shared facility, Collective Kitchen, on Johnson Ferry Road. Current beverage concentrates include Mo'Mint Mojito Mix and Mo'Mint Ginger Zinger. Mo'Mint employs one full-time and two part-time workers and Braham who is 'head cook and bottle washer.' Braham plans to grow the company and add employees.
All Mo'Mint products are preservative free which limits product shelf life and requires refrigeration for the bottled beverages. The mojito mix is made from fresh yerba buena, an aromatic herb in the mint family; lime juice, cane sugar and filtered water; the same ingredients used in the Cuban night club where author, Earnest Hemingway, drank his rum and mint inspiration.
Mo'Mint and Thyme products are sold at local farmers' markets and at Simply Fresh Market and Carry Out Cafe in East Cobb.
Q. What's the best thing about your job?
A. Seeing people enjoy the product samples at the markets, seeing their reaction to trying something fresh that was made with care and enormous attention to quality. The feedback I hear is that a lot of people enjoy the fresh, unadulterated flavors.
Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?
A. We found our perfect demographic in Cobb; diverse, upscale people who appreciate local food, local markets and are adventurous in their tastes. A lot of people we meet at the farmers' markets are willing to try new things.
Q. Why did you choose to open your business in East Cobb?
A. I moved to Cobb from New York in 1995 on the recommendation of a good friend who was already living here. When I got here, I opened a private art dealership, Avisca, at the office near Roswell and Powers Ferry roads which is where I grow the organic mint and thyme in raised boxes.
Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?
A. I was imprinted with growing and making food for my family and friends.
Q. What are some of the services you offer that people may not know about?
A. We offer the convenience of the concentrated mixes. If you are having an event you can order a few bottles. I have ideas to expand the brand, there are a lot of things that I make. I've got a margarita mix and make my own bitters.
Q. When did you start your business?
A. May 2011. I felt an overpowering pull to go in the direction of growing and making fresh food. When you grow something lovely you want to take it to the table.
Q. How did your business get started?
A. I started making my own mojito mix after my first trip to Cuba. It is hard to find the right spearmint so I started growing my own. I opened Avisca Fine Art Gallery on Roswell Rd in 2006 and started participating in the First Friday Art Walks. We wanted to serve a signature drink at our events, mojitos came to mind. People loved them and many said that I should bottle and sell the mix.
I had all this mint and it started taking over my garden and I had plenty of thyme, so, I applied to be a vendor at the Marietta Farmers' Market, thinking that the waiting list would be long. Johnny Fulmer called right away and said there was a spot open on Sundays. We took it and only sold bunches of fresh, organic yerba buena and thyme for a couple of months until we got our Georgia Department of Agriculture permit, business license and liability insurance. Cobb is business friendly and the Ag Department rep was helpful and held our hand.
Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?
A. The main thing is to be totally committed to what you are doing. It is hard work to get a business off the ground and you should, to some degree, enjoy what you're doing.
Byrma Braham, owner, mix meister
Mo'Mint and Thyme