General Tea Questions

Collapsible content

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

All tea comes from the same plant –camellia sinensis! The many varieties of tea (white, green, oolong, yellow, black, & Pu’erh) 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 additional steps in their processing.

Every type of tea can be steeped in hot water to create a delicious and caffeinated beverage that’s full of antioxidants!

Shop Black Teas

Greens & Oolong

Herbal & Tisane

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 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!

Our Tisanes Shop Everything

Are there any health benefits from tea?

A cup of tea is calming, hydrating, and contains lots of antioxidants! Over the years, many studies have been done about the benefits of drinking tea. Through these studies, certain types of tea have been linked to various different health benefits including decreases in blood pressure, increases in mental acuity, weight-loss, and more. It is believed we have a lot to learn about the potential benefits of tea.

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

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

A cup of tea is calming, hydrating, and contains lots of antioxidants! Over the years, many studies have been done about the benefits of drinking tea. Through these studies, certain types of tea have been linked to various different health benefits including decreases in blood pressure, increases in mental acuity, weight-loss, and more. It is believed we have a lot to learn about the potential benefits of tea.

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

Browse All Blends

Tea Brewing Methods

Collapsible content

How do I brew tea bags or sachets? How do I brew loose leaf?

We have easy-to-follow instructions for several different brewing methods! Check out our brewing page to start making a delicious cup of tea. Step-by-step process is listed for tea bags and loose leaf as well as Concentrated Tea (i.e. the Piper Process).

Start Brewing Shop Tea

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 as normal (for the recommended time & temperature). 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 is the way to go!

Try adding an extra ¼ teaspoon of loose leaf to your strainer and brew in the normal amount of water for the recommended time & temp. 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! Our Piper Process teaches you to make Concentrated Tea, which allows you to make each cup as strong as you’d like. Plus, you'll be able to taste your cup, add more concentrate if it’s not strong enough, stir, and repeat! No need to wait for the next cup to find your perfect strength since Concentrated Tea is already brewed.

Learn more about Concentrated Tea today!

THE PIPER PROCESS BREWING INSTRUCTIONS

What are common brewing mistakes I can avoid?

1. Over-Brewing

  • Always pay attention to the recommended steeping time for the tea blend 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; tisanes typically 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 usually be brewed around 180º F. Black teas and tisanes are much less sensitive to high temperature, so freshly boiled water (212º F) is used to get the best flavor. 
  • If the water is too cold, however, it is hard to extract flavor from the blend. This can result in a weak tea.
  • Remember, the water should always be heated before you add the tea leaves. Adding your tea before heating the water will lead to over-brewing (see above) and continuing to boil your water with tea leaves in it can lead to over-heating.

3. Not Measuring

  • Be sure to measure both 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!

Brewing Instructions

Why doesn't my tea taste the same as when you make it?

There are a lot of reasons your brew might not taste the same as the tea you've tried in our shops and farmer’s markets. Check these four steps below to troubleshoot your tea!

1) The first part of this troubleshooting would be to go through the common brewing mistakes (the question above this one) and make sure you’ve got the right measurements, temperature, and steeping time. These are the most common tea mistakes!

2) The next step is to try out the Piper Process, which us the brewing method we use for our shops and markets. We always steep our tea into an extra-strong, 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 get a perfect, consistent tea every time. This is an awesome yet uncommon method of brewing that you can learn at home!

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

Want to know more about Concentrated Tea & simple syrup? Read more!

4) If you’ve tried all three of the above steps and your tea still tastes a little funny, 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, or different mineral composition that can affect the pH of your drinks. Try brewing with filtered water (like we do!) and see how it changes the taste of your tea.

The Piper Process

Piper & Leaf Tea Company

Collapsible content

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 for locally-sourced fruits and herbs, we do import the tea leaves themselves from all over the world so we can get our tea leaves from wherever they grow best! This way we are able to find high-quality, great-tasting, organic teas that we feel work best with our local ingredients for a rich cup of amazing flavor.

Are your blends all-natural or organic?

Our blends are all-natural, all the way! We work with local farmers and growers who use all-natural processes so that we know exactly what is going into each blend. Because of the great expense and rigorous testing farms go through to undergo receiving Organic Certification all of our local farmers we partner with are not certified. That said, we do ensure each farm we partner with are practicing natural processes. The tea leaves themselves come from organic, high-quality farms from 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!

*Yes, even the bright colors of our brews are all-natural! The striking blue color of our Piper Mint Blues is due to the butterfly pea flowers. Blends like Orchard Peach and Briar Patch Brew get their bright red/purple color from hibiscus flowers. There are so many incredibly vivid, all-natural colors available that can give our tea blends a beautiful look that matches their delicious flavor.

Are your teas gluten free?

Our tea blends don't contain any ingredients with gluten, but we are not Certified Gluten Free. We get our ingredients from a lot of small farmers and local gardens, so we cannot guarantee those have not come into contact with any gluten before they reach us for washing and processing. We do process our fruits and herbs in a separate building from where our baking happens and we do not add any gluten to products, but we have not been certified and so we cannot make any certain claims about cross-contamination.

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!

Concentrated Tea lets you make consistently delicious drinks, whether you want hot, iced, or something special! It's fast and easy to use, plus it lasts for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. This method is great for so many reasons. Learn more and start brewing today!

Try The Piper Process

Where can I find you?

We are based out of North Alabama! You can find all of our store locations and hours on the Locations page, as well as a link to see our upcoming farmers markets and events. We got our start in the Huntsville, Alabama farmers markets and now we have two shop locations in Huntsville, one in Madison, and another in our new headquarters in Lacey's Spring.

Locations

Want to bring our renowned tea service to you? You can! Check out our Weddings & Catering info to see about bulk ordering and full-service tea bars. Our Classes page is a great place to sign up for Brewing 101 with all your friends. Or apply to carry our teas at your own business through our Wholesale program. Piper & Leaf is everywhere!

Weddings & Catering

Tea Classes

Wholesale

Our Tea Blends

Collapsible content

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

It is important to note that all teas should be steeped in hot water for proper extraction! That's how you still get a strong flavor in an iced tea. To make an iced cup, you will still brew a hot tea, but with a little less water than usual, and then pour it over ice to cool it down. But don’t forget that many sweeteners only dissolve in hot liquids! So stir your sugar into the hot tea before you add any ice.

How many calories are in a cup of tea?

No matter which blend you're brewing, one serving of tea has negligible calories! The only countable calories in your cup of tea will come from any sweetener or cream that you may have added to the tea after brewing.

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) as an additive once the tea has been brewed.

If you’ve ever been to our shops or events, we sweeten our drinks 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!

Simple syrup is a part of our Piper Process - the brewing method we use to make every cup of tea or special-tea drink. Read more about it here:

Piper Process Brewing

Do you sell just plain black tea?

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

We get 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 and mix in with the tea leaves!

Every blend we produce contains something local, so you always get a little taste of Huntsville in every sip.

Piper Points, Shipping, & Returns

Collapsible content

What are Piper Points? Where can I see them?

Piper Points are a bonus you receive to your account when you make an order from our website! These points can be redeemed later as a discount on a future order. To view your points and see how to spend them, click on the star icon in the bottom left of your screen. That green bubble contains all your points & rewards! You can also go to your Piper Points from this link here:
Piper Points

(p.s. make sure you're logged in first)

What are your Shipping, Return, & Refund policies?

You can read our Shipping policy or our Return & Refund policy by following the buttons below. If these pages do not answer your question, please contact us so we can help!

SHIPPING POLICY

RETURN & REFUND POLICY

CONTACT US

How long will it take for my order to arrive?

We will have your order packaged and shipped out within 1-3 business days (Monday-Friday) after your order is placed. From there, the carrier's shipping time will vary depending on where you live (we are based out of Huntsville, Alabama) and which shipping service you have selected at checkout. Most U.S. orders only take 2-5 business days between shipping and delivery, even with the 'standard shipping' option. That means you should have your package in less than 8 business days!

International orders typically take longer to arrive, depending on the carrier, the customs process, and international shipping delays.

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). The tracking number should be activated by the carrier within a couple days of shipping.

For more details, read our shipping policy:
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. Simply email us with your order number and the issue you’re facing and we will get back to you ASAP! You should hear back from us within 1-3 business days (Monday-Friday) during our operating hours: 9:00am-4:00pm (Central Time).

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

For defective products, missing items, and returns, please read our Return Policy and contact us by emailing orders@piperandleaf.com

For all other inquiries, contact our office through info@piperandleaf.com

Shipping Policy

Return & Refund Policy