Frequently Asked Questions

General Tea Questions

What is tea?

 All tea comes from the same plant – camellia sinensis! The different types of tea (black, green, oolong, etc) are made by using different methods on the leaves during the curing process. Every type of tea can be steeped in hot water to create a delicious and caffeinated beverage that’s full of antioxidants!

Want to learn a little more about this awesome plant? Check out “All About Tea” for a quick Tea 101.

All About Tea
Are there any health benefits from tea?

A cup of tea is calming, hydrating, and contains lots of antioxidants! Over the years, a LOT of studies have been done about the benefits of drinking tea. Certain types of tea (black, green, etc) have been linked to various different health benefits including decreases in blood pressure, increases in mental acuity, weight-loss, and more!

Because each of our blends has different teas and ingredients, they all have different health benefits. For example, our Golden Hour Tonic contains a lot of anti-inflammatory ingredients – turmeric, ginger, and pineapple – but contains no tea leaves so it won’t have as many antioxidants as a caffeinated tea blend (like Front Porch Special or Sassyfras Strawberry). If you’re looking for something in particular, browse through our blends and read the ingredients so you can find the one that’s perfect for you!

What’s the difference between the types of tea: black, green, oolong, etc?

The many varieties of tea (white, green, oolong, yellow, black, & Pu’erh) are all from the very same plant – Camellia Sinensis. The types of tea are created through differences in the processing methods. The main difference between the types of tea is the amount of fermentation and oxidation used in the curing process, although most types of tea have many steps involved in their processing.

Want to learn a little more about this awesome plant? Check out “All About Tea” for a quick Tea 101.

All About Tea
What’s the difference between an herbal tea and a tisane?

This is a bit of a trick question!

Most “herbal teas” and “caffeine-free teas” are in fact not tea at all, since they typically do not contain any part of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Such herbal teas are in fact better called “tisanes,” which is a French word used for herbal infusions. Tisanes usually have a base of dehydrated fruits blended with dried flowers, herbs, and spices. Tisanes, like tea, are steeped in boiling water to create a refreshing beverage that has none of the caffeine of tea!

I don’t like tea. Why should I try it again?

It may surprise you, but we actually hear people say that a lot! Sometimes these people change their minds after trying our blends because it turns out they’ve never tried high-quality teas before. Many people’s exposure to tea is limited to the bare-bones iced, black tea that most restaurants serve and cheap tea bags that contain low-quality tea fannings. Good, artisanal tea blends are a whole new world of flavor.

If you have tried many different types of teas and tea blends and aren’t a fan anyway, we still have something for you! Lucky for you, we don’t just have teas. We also have several blends that are called ‘tisanes.’ These blends don’t have any tea leaves at all – just fruits, herbs, and spices! Because tisanes have no part of the Camelia Sinensis plant (the tea plant), they taste nothing like a traditional tea. We have a wide variety of tisane options, including spiced, fruity, or minty blends – something for everyone!

Tea Brewing Methods

How do I brew a tea bag or a sachet?

 Brewing a sachet is very easy! For a regular serving of tea, follow these steps:

  1. Heat up 8-10 ounces of water and pour it into a mug (be sure to check the recommended water temperature for the blend you’re brewing! Boiling water is fine for most, but some blends are sensitive to high temps)
  2. Drop your sachet into the mug of hot water and start a timer (be sure to check the steeping time for the blend you’re brewing – each one is different)
  3. Use a spoon to stir (or bob the sachet up and down with its string) as it steeps – the flow of water through the bag will help you get a more full flavor. 
  4. When the timer is up, pull the sachet out! You can now add sweetener if you prefer. Then either drink it hot or pour the tea over ice to enjoy an iced tea
How do I brew loose leaf tea?

We know loose leaf can seem intimidating to some people, but it’s actually quite easy! If you’ve ever made pasta, you should be able to brew loose leaf tea. The principle is the same, except that with tea you want to keep the liquid after you strain through a tea infuser (which is like a tiny colander).

Loose leaf tea can be made in a couple different ways. The most popular method is a tea ball, shaped infuser, or other set-in-cup design. You scoop 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea into these types of strainers, close them, and then follow the same directions as brewing a sachet (see above). Another method is to brew the loose leaf directly in the water:

  1. Heat up 8-10 ounces of water and pour it into a mug (be sure to check the recommended water temperature for the blend you’re brewing! Boiling water is fine for most, but some blends are sensitive to high temps)
  2. Measure 1 teaspoon of loose leaf into the mug of hot water and start a timer (be sure to check the steeping time for the blend you’re brewing – each one is different)
  3. Use a spoon to stir as it steeps – this will help you get a more full flavor. 
  4. When the timer is up, pour the tea (leaves and all) into another mug through a strainer (you can use a tiny colander, a mesh coffee filter, an empty muslin bag, or anything that will work as a fine strainer! We once even used the corner of a t-shirt when we were in a pinch). The strainer will catch the leaves so that all you have left in your mug is delicious tea!
  5. You can now add sweetener if you prefer. Then either drink it hot or pour the tea over ice to enjoy an iced tea
How do I make my tea extra strong?

How do I make my tea extra strong?

Short Answer: The best way to make an extra-strong cup of tea is to use more tea! Try adding a little extra loose leaf to your strainer and brew for the recommended time. If it’s still not strong enough, add a little more in the next cup until you find the right strength for you.

Long Answer: We do not suggest brewing tea for longer than the recommended steeping time! While brewing for longer will make the tea taste stronger to a point, when you go past that point you will end up with a cup of very bitter tea. To get the best flavor from your extra-strong brew, adding more tea (or using less water) is the way to go!

Try adding an extra ¼ teaspoon of loose leaf to your strainer and brew for the recommended time. If it’s still not strong enough, add a little more in the next cup until you find the right strength for you! If you brew with sachets, you can try using a smaller cup (i.e. less water) rather than adding a second sachet (which might make it a little too strong).

If you’re ready to step up your tea game, the best way to easily adjust the strength of your tea is to brew it the way we do – as Concentrated Tea! Using Concentrated Tea allows you to make each cup as strong as you’d like. Plus, since it’s already brewed, you can taste your cup, add more concentrate if it’s still not strong enough, stir, and repeat! No need to wait for the next cup to find your perfect strength. You can go to our “Brewing 101” page to learn the Piper Process and brew concentrate at home.

What are common brewing mistakes I can avoid?
  1. Over-Brewing
    • Always pay attention to the recommended steeping time of the tea you’re brewing!
    • Tea can easily become bitter if you brew past the recommended time. This is true of all types of tea (black, green, oolong, etc). Tisanes, on the other hand, have no actual tea leaves which makes them less sensitive to brew times and won’t become bitter with over-brewing.
  2. Over-Heating
    • Always pay attention to the recommended water temperature of the tea you’re brewing!
    • Certain teas can become bitter when they’re brewed in water that’s too hot. This especially happens with green and oolong teas, which should be brewed around 180º F, rather than using boiling water (which is 212º F). Black teas and tisanes are much less sensitive to temperature, so boiling water is used to get the best flavor. 
  3. Not Measuring
    • Be sure to measure your water and your loose leaf!
    • Not measuring properly can lead to a cup of tea that’s too strong or too weak. Follow the recommended ratio of loose leaf and water to get the best-tasting cup of tea.
      • If you decide you’d like your tea extra strong, follow our guidelines on the question above this one to make sure you get the best flavor without any bitterness!
Why doesn’t my tea taste the same as when you make it?

There are a lot of reasons your tea might not taste the same as the tea you try in our shops and farmer’s markets. The first part of this troubleshooting would be to go through the common brewing mistakes (above) and make sure you’ve got the right measurements, temperature, and steeping time! The next step is to check for differences in brewing methods and sweetener!

We always brew our tea in a concentrated form (about 8 times stronger than a regular cup). For each drink, we mix 1 ounce of Concentrated Tea into 7 ounces of water to make the perfect, consistent tea every time. This is an awesome yet uncommon method of brewing that you can learn at home!

Another difference can be your sweetener! If you like your tea Southern Style Sweet (or even a little sweet), the type of sweetener you use can make a big difference in taste. We always use our simple syrup to sweeten, which is just two parts cane sugar and one part water boiled together!

Want to know more about Concentrated Tea & simple syrup?

Read More!

If you’ve tried all these methods and it still tastes funny to you, the last step is to check the water you’re using! Tap water can sometimes have an odd taste to it, depending on what area you live in. Try brewing with filtered water like we do and see how it changes the taste of your tea.

Piper & Leaf Tea Company

How are you different?

Here at Piper & Leaf we pride ourselves in partnering with our community. Since our start at a local farmers market more than 6 years ago, we have been focused on doing our best to help build community around us! We partner with small, local farmers in our area to bring you the best tasting fruits and herbs possible. Then we chop, dry and blend them with high-quality, organic teas from all around the world. Our blends have delicious, bold flavors without the use of any artificial flavors or preservatives. We aim to give you the best-tasting teas you’ll ever have!

More About Us
Is your tea local?

Every blend we have contains some local Alabama fruits, herbs, or spices which we purchase from local farmers, chop, and dehydrate ourselves. While we strive to be as locally sourced as possible, we do import the tea leaves themselves from all over the world so we can source the leaves from where they grow best. This way we are able to find high quality, great tasting, organic teas that we feel work best with our local fruits and herbs!

Our Blending Process
Are your blends all-natural?

Yes, we are all-natural all the way! We work with local farmers so that we know exactly what goes into each blend. The tea leaves themselves come from organic, high-quality farms all over the world. We never use any artificial flavorings, colors, or preservatives in our blends because we believe all-natural is the best. And we want you to have the best!

Our Blending Process
What is this “Piper Process” I keep seeing everywhere?

The “Piper Process” is our signature brewing method that we use for all of our events, farmer’s markets, and shops! This method involved brewing tea into a concentrated form (about 8 times stronger than a regular cup). Then every time we make a drink, we use 1 ounce of Concentrated Tea for every 7 ounces of water. This is an amazing and versatile brewing method that you can learn at home!

The Piper Process

Our Tea Blends

Do your tea blends come in tea bags?

We currently have most of our blends available as sachets (which are a pyramid-shaped silky tea bag) as well as the traditional loose leaf. We are working on getting every blend available in both styles, so we hope to have them ALL available in sachets before too long!

Are your tea blends for making hot tea or iced tea?

Both! Every blend must pass a taste-test as both hot tea and iced tea before it can become an official Piper & Leaf blend. That way, no matter your preferred style of tea, we can provide you with something amazing.

Our packaging has instructions to help you brew either iced or hot, so we recommend you try every blend both ways! Hot tea is a great way to stay cozy and warm, but iced tea is lovely and refreshing – you can’t go wrong either way.

It is important to note that all teas should be steeped in hot water for proper extraction! To make an iced cup, you still want to brew the tea hot (to get the best flavor) and then pour it over ice. But don’t forget that most sweeteners only dissolve in hot liquids! So stir your sweetener into the hot tea before you add the ice.

Is the tea sweet? What is it sweetened with?

There is no sweetner in our blends! If you brew a cup from our loose leaf or sachets, it will be unsweet until you mix in a sweetner. You can use any sweetner (sugar, honey, stevia, agave, etc) once the tea has been brewed!

If you’ve ever gone to our events, farmer’s markets, or shops, we sweeten our teas with a simple syrup made of cane sugar and water. So if you want your cup to taste just the way we make it, simple syrup is part of the key!

Why Simple Syrup?
Do you sell just plain black tea?

What we specialize in is tea blends, which contain tea leaves and other ingredients to create a unique flavor. We create tea blends (instead of single-origin tea) so that we can use local ingredients, support our community, and make flavors you won’t find anywhere else!

We take black, green, and oolong teas from organic tea farmers all over the world (wherever we can get the best quality) and blend them with fruits, herbs, and spices. We partner with local Alabama farmers to get the freshest, high-quality ingredients we can which we then chop and dehydrate so we can mix them in with the tea leaves! Every blend we sell contains something local, so you always get a little taste of Huntsville in every sip.

Do you sell any decaffeinated teas?

We don’t have any ‘decaffeinated’ teas, but we do have several completely caffeine-free blends! Look at our ‘tisanes’ for blends that are full of flavor and won’t keep you awake all night. You can browse our tisane blends here!

Why no decaffeinated teas?

Decaffeinated teas are made using regular tea leaves that have undergone a decaffeinating process. This process can be done with chemicals, carbon dioxide, or water. However, just as with decaffeinated coffee beans, the leaves cannot become truly and 100% caffeine-free (which can be an issue for those with caffeine sensitivities). Not only that, the process involved in decaffeination can drastically change the flavor of the tea.

Because of these issues, we do not sell any decaffeinated tea blends. Instead, we create ‘tisanes’ (often also called ‘herbal teas’) that are just fruits, herbs, and spices – no tea! They’re all completely caffeine-free so that you will be able to rest easy, no matter how many cups you drink!

Shipping Questions

What are your shipping & return policies?

Read all of our policies here! If these pages do not answer your question, please contact us at orders@piperandleaf.com so we can help!

Do you ship anywhere outside of the U.S.A?

Right now we are only able to offer our fast shipping (and low rates) within the United States. However, we may be able to offer international shipping for your order if you are willing to pay the extra shipping charges – and have the patience for long shipping times. 🙂 To inquire about international shipping, contact us at orders@piperandleaf.com so we can work together to get tea directly to you!

We hope to be able to offer international shipping at reasonable rates soon, so we appreciate your patience with us as we are constantly working on our processes in order to better serve you!

How long will it take for my order to arrive?

We will have your order packaged and shipped out 2-3 business days after your order is placed. From there, shipping time varies based on where you live (because we’re based out of Huntsville, Alabama). Most orders will take 2-5 business days between shipping and delivery!

Because there’s so many variables, we always send you a tracking number when we ship your order out. That way you can digitally stalk your package until it arrives at your doorstep! (No judgement – we do the same thing too)

For more details, read our shipping policy.

I have an issue with my order. Who do I contact?

We are so sorry you’re having an issue and would be happy to help. Just email us with your order number and the issue you’re facing and we will get back to you ASAP!

For missing packages, tracking issues, and damaged deliveries, please read our shipping policy here and contact us at shipping@piperandleaf.com

For defective products, missing items, and returns, please read our return policy here and contact us at orders@piperandleaf.com