Caleb and Brigette Christopher turned their love of tea into a business. The unique blends of Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Co. are a crowd favorite at farmer’s markets throughout northern Alabama, and you can expect to wait in line at Pepper Place if you hope to sip one of their concoctions. Bonus: Piper & Leaf teas are served in gorgeous mason jars.

Tea.Why did you choose tea as your main product?

Tea chose us in a way … We started P&L as a one-night-a-week hobby, trying to sell organic compost we had made over the years to gardeners and small farmers. We had tea on the side as “something special,” using local fruit and herbs blended with tea. After 3-4 weeks of selling no compost and selling completely out of the tea, we decided to donate all of the compost to our farmer friends and focus on locally-blended tea. After three months, we became an official business. Our first shop opened three years ago at Lowe Mill. The second last year. The third any day now.

What should someone new to Piper & Leaf try on their first visit?

If you are new, let us know! We want to give people the entire P&L experience, ranging from getting to know each person to trying amazing flavors for the first time. We have “traditional” tea, which most people start by trying. We then create some unique brews for the more advanced or adventurous palate.

How did so many different styles of tea come to life?

We receive inspiration from the local fruits and herbs in season that grow around north Alabama and by our visits to other cities. We travel around food as it is the natural gathering point of any community.

Why is using local farms/agriculture important to you?

It tastes the best! Food is the cornerstone of the human experience. We have to eat to survive. If our food systems collapse, our community collapses. This is why supporting local gardeners and farmers is so important. It is the freshest, juiciest, ripest produce you can find.

Why is Alabama a perfect market for your product?

This is our home. Alabama is filled with our friends, family and terrific people.

All images courtesy of Shutterstock.