This is a Family Run Tea Company

We are a family run local tea company. Creating gourmet blends that are simply divine to sip iced on a steamy summer night, or hot on a long winter evening, and serving the joy, are our passions. All of our teas are blended with as many local ingredients as possible, straight from the garden, farm, forest, and briar patch.

If you are looking for a cup or jar of our delicious brews, come to almost any farmers market in the North Alabama area, visit our Tea Shops located in Huntsville, or click Find Us for a list of quality businesses carrying our tea.

We also sell at many events and festivals, and you can hire us to come to your event as well. One of our specialties is a Full Service Tea Bars, perfect for weddings, parties, or any festive occasion.

Come say Hi and meet the Piper & Leaf Tea family! Let us have the chance to share something special and serve the joy.

Meet the Owners

Connor, MaryClaire, & Brigette are all siblings. Brigette and Caleb are married. There are many more family members involved in the business, along with all the friends we could rope into the operation.

Brigette, one of the four owners of Piper & Leaf, standing in a creek

Brigette Christopher

Caleb, one of the four owners of Piper & Leaf, holding a basket of freshly picked blueberries

Caleb Christopher

MaryClaire, one of the four owners of Piper & Leaf, carrying a gallon of tea over a wooded creek

MaryClaire Thomas

Connor, one of the four owners of Piper & Leaf

Connor Knapp

our classic Samovar Gardens diamond logo

How We Started

During his college years, Connor somehow underwent a change from a Taco Bell and Mountain Dew junkie to a granola munching, community-minded free spirit. He had been living in and exploring Northern California, much of the West Coast and North Pole Alaska, but he decided to turn down his next adventure of a job offer in Antarctica (no joke). Instead Connor, by this time Physical Therapist Dr. Knapp, chose to move back to the homestead and try his hand at making a difference in the Huntsville community.

Caleb and Brigette were running Caleb’s lawn care company and pouring every ounce of their time, money, and heart into a new business concept that Caleb had dreamed up when he was a teenager. They were just on the verge of getting it off the ground when Connor started going on about farmers markets and how he wanted to sell something at one. At first they paid little attention, but as he kept mentioning it, Caleb and Brigette decided to do something about it. Ever ready to jump into a new business concept (by this point in their lives they had had several different business ventures between them), they did something they had sworn to never do… enter a partnership. The justification for this was that this was just a little side project that would never really get anywhere… just a way to have some fun and get some much-needed grocery money for their growing family.

Charlene, Caleb & Brigette's daughter, helping turn the compost.

So one wintery day they called up Connor and said they were going to start a farmers market booth selling compost and compost tea, and did he want to be a part? Connor probably answered with his now iconic “sure” and, with $850 of his cash, and a bunch of running around and coming up with concepts and plans from the other two, Samovar Gardens was born.

Why compost? Well, from years of lawn care, Caleb had amassed a mountain of deliciously dark, rich compost. Several of the farmers at the markets heard what they were planning and were enthusiastic about the success they thought it would be. There was only one problem though. When they got to their first market day the farmers were all coming up offering to buy truckloads, which would have cleaned out the entire supply in a week. Meanwhile, the market customers were trying to figure out what on earth they would do with buckets and jugs of compost.

Luckily though, the threesome had brought a side product to the market that turned out to be the dark horse champion. Connor had very much wanted to sell something out of a mason jar, and Caleb had been mixing teas all winter for his own consumption. Caleb had had an incredible knack for mixing and making drinks that people loved ever since he was little. Just a few months before the market venture he had a resounding success at mixing his own specialty sodas for a party, and ever since people had been telling him he should sell them. But he had not given it a thought.

Now, however, Caleb mixed up a few special tea blends using herbs from his garden. The first night at the market it was obvious what the true product was. The tea sold out, and people were asking if they could drink the compost tea. Compost was quickly removed from the picture, and tea in mason jars became iconic of Samovar Gardens.

Success Stories: Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Co.

What Happened to Samovar Gardens?

Only a few short months into our tea adventure, we began receiving letters demanding that we “cease and desist” using the term “samovar.” For several months we tried to figure out a solution, but at the end of 2013, we were compelled to abandon our original company name of Samovar Gardens. While our attorney told us that a generic object such as a samovar cannot really be trademarked in the industry in which it is used and that we could win this fight, we believed our creative energies, time, and resources could be used for much higher things than years of petty litigations and proving points. After much deliberation and sifting through over 500 new name options, we settled on the name: Piper & Leaf.

The word “piper” is an old English term for a singing tea kettle, which is also where the phrase “piping hot” originated. “Leaf” symbolises the tea leaves and the herbs used in our teas. Coupling the word “piper” with our icon of a samovar brought a more multi-cultural 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 choosing to steer away from this fight, and our new name choice, both reflect our true goals.

Who We Are

LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

– Isaiah 26:12

These words are written in Hebrew in the chalk drawing on the wall at the Lowe Mill shop. Despite the wild ride that starting this company has been, the Lord has brought peace to us through it all. None of what Piper & Leaf is today could have happened in our own power.  

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 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 and brighten the culture, health, and education of people who come in contact with our tea. Our custom, locally blended and brewed teas are created with herbs and fruits that we grow, pick, forage for or obtain from other farmers and friends, and mix with heaping doses of happiness, love, and joy.

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

What Makes Our Tea Awesome?

Read more about how we create our unique blends

Caleb & Brigette with their 5 children