Piper & Leaf Tea

Sweet home Alabama! Located in the Heart of Dixie is quaint little tea company. They have novel blends that mix their love of tea with southern flair. Ever wanted to try Sassafras in a tea? They have it. Or heck how about some catnip? Yup, they have that too. Now get on over to their website and give em’ a try!

Location

  • Piper & Leaf Tea Co. is based in North Alabama! We got our start at the farmers markets in Huntsville, AL and we grew from there. We now have shops in Huntsville, Madison, Birmingham, and (in the summer of 2021) Lacey’s Spring. All our locations are listed on this page: https://piperandleaf.com/locations/ 

Company Focus: 

First and foremost, we are a family who loves working together and sharing the talents, joy, and love with which God has blessed us. We love being a part of creating a community, growing local, working as family and friends, and serving delicious tea.

The goal of our company is to learn and grow as we work together to improve the culture, health, and education of the people who encounter our tea. Our locally blended and brewed teas are created with a variety of local ingredients. We grow, pick, and forage for many of our fruits and herbs, while others we obtain from small local farmers and friends. Then we mix everything with heaping doses of happiness, love, and joy.

We are always looking for ways to use more local ingredients to blend with the high-quality tea leaves that we import from farmers all over the world. Every sip of Piper & Leaf tea is the unique taste of Alabama in a cup (or jar!) 

Social Media: 

We are active on several social media platforms!

Most popular company tea(s)?

  • Front Porch Special is our most popular blend by far! It is the most similar to a classic, southern iced tea but with a bit of a twist. Front Porch Special contains two types of black tea, jasmine, bergamot (Earl Grey), cornflowers, and spearmint. It’s delicious hot or iced and leaves you reminiscent of lazy days spent sipping tea in a rocking chair on your front porch.

    A few more of our most popular blends: 
  • Briar Patch Brew – a caffeine-free berry blast. Enjoy the delicious combination of blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, and hibiscus. 
  • Sassyfras Strawberry – a light & fruity green tea. This blend is a refreshing combination of green tea, strawberries, and sarsaparilla. 
  • Orchard Peach – a caffeine-free tropical breeze. Peaches, pineapple, and papaya create a beautiful blend of fruity flavors. 

Does the company name have a meaning? 

  • Yes! The word “piper” is an old English term for a singing tea kettle, which is also where the phrase “piping hot” originated. “Leaf” symbolizes the tea leaves and the herbs used in our teas.

For a bit of backstory: 

  • Our original name was actually ‘Samovar Gardens,’ a reference to the Russian samovar which is where we got the inspiration for our unique method of brewing. A samovar is kept full of boiling water and has a small teapot on top where tea is brewed in a concentrated form. For each drink, you pour a bit of the concentrate into your cup and then fill it with boiled water from the samovar. This ensures every cup of tea is fresh and delicious!
  • Only a few short months into our tea adventure, we began receiving letters demanding that we “cease and desist” using the term “samovar.” Our attorney told us that an object such as a samovar can’t be trademarked in the industry in which it is used, so we could win this fight. But we believed our creative energies, time, and resources could be used for much higher things than years of petty litigation. After much deliberation and sifting through over 500 new name options, we settled on the name we have today: Piper & Leaf. Though we kept the samovar shape in the center of our logo!
  •  Coupling the word “piper” (as an old English term) with our icon of a samovar brought a more multicultural feel to the brand, keeping it from being restricted to a strictly Russian look. Serving tea is about serving joy to all people. We believe our choice to steer away from that fight, and our new name choice, both reflect our true goals. 

Do you participate in any charities? 

  • Yes! We focus all of our charitable efforts on something very close to our hearts: adoption and fostering. Many of the Piper & Leaf family have had fostered or adoptive siblings, children, and other family members, so it is something that really speaks to us as a company.
  • Right now, we are in the beginnings of a partnership with a local non-profit foundation called “Kids to Love,” which focuses on finding ‘forever families’ for children in the Alabama foster care system.

What is your (or any of your other co-workers’) favorite tea? 

  • So, it’s hard to have an easy answer to this since we all have a different favorite! I always enjoy hearing the favorites of my co-workers because of this reason, though. I’m happy to know that we don’t have only one amazing tea; each and every blend is loved!
  • Personally, my favorites are Front Porch Special (I love it iced and sweet) and Golden Hour Tonic, which is a blend of ginger, turmeric, apples, and citrus! I drink my Golden Hour Tonic hot at any time of the day since it’s caffeine free.

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry? 

  • We believe that transparency is particularly important in the tea industry. Customers should know as much as possible about the quality and ingredients of the tea they enjoy.
  • Historically, when tea bags started to gain popularity, production companies realized the leaves weren’t easily visible through the bags. Many places took advantage of this and started using lower quality leaves, like tea fannings and even sweepings from the factory floor, inside the bags they shipped to the U.S. overseas. This reduced quality damaged the popularity of tea in America. It was only the past few decades that tea has had a resurgence as higher quality options and more varieties became available. 
  • We also love transparency when it comes to ingredients. When we first started, we had a few other companies who sampled our tea and asked us questions like “where do you get your strawberry flavoring” and “what flavor spray did you use in this one?” We were as confused by these questions as they seemed to be by the answer: we used actual strawberries. When you look at the loose leaf of our blends, you can clearly see the tea leaves, the pieces of dehydrated fruits, the dried herbs, and the spices! There are no artificial flavors anywhere. Just all-natural ingredients! 

What role does tea play in our lives? 

  • To us, tea brings people together. Enjoying a cup of tea is a communal activity to bring you closer with your family and friends. Maybe it’s sipping sweet, iced tea from a mason jar while chatting on the porch; having a little tea party with your children on a rainy day; or simply comforting a sick family member with hot tea and honey. Each glass can be an expression. Surely, tea is delicious alone but it’s truly a wonderful experience when shared with the people you love. Tea fosters fellowship in people, so we’re proud to be even a small part of the relationships built by those in our community.
  • For me, tea always brings back fond memories. An iced glass takes me to warm summers of my childhood, enjoying my mother’s sweet tea. A hot cup makes me reminisce about visits with our British friends who always had new teas for us to try. And Piper & Leaf tea reminds me of the amazing community I discovered at Huntsville farmers markets. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

  • We are truly blessed to be where we are today. This company started out as nothing but a hobby – one night a week. We planned to sell organic compost at the farmer’s markets as a way to get involved with the growing local community and we decided to sell a little tea on the side just for fun. But nothing ever goes according to plan, right? It turned out that tea was the star of our show (we sold almost no compost) and it kept growing and growing. After only a year, we opened our first brick-and-mortar store. Five years later we had four locations in North Alabama and a couple hundred wholesale partners serving our tea all over the country. 
  • When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we were very afraid for our little family. Not just for their health, but also for their security. As sales plummeted for most businesses across the world, we spent hours making contingency plans for distinct levels of profit losses. Our goal was to ensure our employees (the amazing Piper & Leaf family) could still have a job here, even if things were tight. It was incredibly difficult to even think about the alternatives if the initial huge losses continued throughout the year. 
  • But thankfully we were blessed by the Lord and our local community. Everything we put hard work into was recognized and the results were so positive. We set up our stores with safer ways to come get tea, including curbside and delivery. Then we reached out on social media to our loyal customers, and they gave back and supported us. We pivoted our main focus to online sales, where we saw some amazing growth. We noticed people were searching for chances to connect with each other, even from a distance, and we offered ways to do just that. Through the efforts of our whole family and the blessings of God, we were able to get through the year without any layoffs. We had profit losses, but they were small when compared to the industry average. We are still strong, if not stronger than ever, knowing we have the tenacity to face anything.

TeaTiff Picks: Old Fashioned Birthday Cake. Happy Birthday to you! All of that wonderful birthday cake flavor without the calories. What I love most is that there is no artificial flavoring like many companies add.

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