All North Alabamians know and love Piper & Leaf and now there is a second location in Madison!!You can’t pop into a local farmer’s market without seeing the long lines of smiling faces coming from the Piper & Leaf tent and for good reason. Their tea is, in a word, divine.With flavors like Apple Cart Blossom, Pumpkin Moonshine and Strawberry Shindig there is a tea for everyone. The new location is in the Sprout’s shopping center, tucked nicely against The Juicery, allowing you to get all of your healthy treats in one area. To kick of the grand opening Piper & Leaf threw one of their Splendid Shindigs, which included morning yoga, henna painting, contests, raffles and much more. Olivier and I arrived to the new location, which is light and modern. I’m so hesitant to use the term hip, as the hipster movement has such a bad rap, but the new location was all the good parts of hip. Clean, interesting, local, fresh and energizing. It was also very inclusive, accepting of all with judgement of none, which is very unhipster. There are lots of comfy sitting options throughout. You can enjoy your tea and nosh at the bar and watch the masterful tea artists at their best or in the overstuffed sofas in the back.The Piper and Leaf has amazing french cookies and house made pastries, so Olivier and I each got a savory pastry to pair with iced Piper Mint Blue at half sweetness (my favorite). My french husband said the pastries were the best he’d had.. outside of France of course, but still that is a huge compliment. Unfortunately, I went into complete glutton mode and forgot to find out what the names of the pastries were. They were delicious and I’d guess you really can’t go wrong. I will say they were presented on the most stunning wooden trays and I recommended eating them in-house for just that reason. The trays are created but the ultra talented artist Joshua Arney from locally produced Alabama hardwoods. Each one is a unique masterpiece so make sure you follow him at The Irish Crafter.Piper & Leaf also has dry tea and brewing accoutrement for the homebody and if you don’t need an entire jar they sell smaller bags. There are also samples if you can’t decide!Pop over today and enjoy the new location. It’s comfortably close to my house so I think I’ll be spending a lot more of my money on tea! You can also stick with the tried-and-true and visit the original Piper & Leaf at Lowe Mill Arts in Huntsville.
We don’t often get snow in Alabama, so it is an epic event when we eventually get some. Everyone is outside, making snowmen and forts, sledding on sheet pans and cardboard, having snowball fights, and of course making snow cream. But rather than make the tradition snow cream, I made snow cream with a southern twist: sweet tea! I used Peaches and Cream Tea from the amazing Piper & Leaf and it was delicious. You can purchase it at the link above and I highly recommend that you do!The only snag I ran into was placing a bowl outside to catch clean snow and then forgetting about it. At first I thought someone had stolen my bowl, but then I realized I just had to dig it out from the snow. At least I had plenty to work with!
To make the Sweet Tea Snow Cream I just added cold tea, heavy cream, and raw sugar to fresh snow. It was so tasted I made a second batch as soon as I ate the first one.
Also check out my post for traditional Snow Cream. Includes photos of gnomes!
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a tea brewing class with a local tea house, Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Bar. We learned the art and subtleties of tea brewing in a causal setting with other passionate tea drinkers.While sweet, cold tea is guzzled throughout Alabama as a slight reprieve to our hot, sticky summers, coffee and, the less healthy option, Coke Cola rein supreme when it comes to a daily pick-me-up. But recently tea houses have started popping up around Huntsville and we are discovering what the rest of the world knew centuries ago: the magic of tea. Piper & Leaf has done an exceptional job to bring delicious tea to our community and has all of us flocking to buy their brew. When I learned about their tea brewing class I signed up right away, which was good, because it filled up quickly. While I won’t give away any of the classes secrets (you’ll have to sign up for the next session) I will say that we learned 5 different brewing techniques. I especially enjoyed brewing concentrated tea in the french press, and though I own a french press, it never occurred to me to brew tea in it. So obvious!
There were lots of people in the class and it was nice to be able to chat with people about their love to tea. People were excited to be there learning new things, which is always nice. I took the class with a friend, Kami, who as a true southerner with deep dixie roots was skilled in the art of reading tea leaves, a skill she learned from her grandmother. Kami instructed me to drink most of my tea, leaving a tiny bit of liquid in the bottom. She then had me place my cup upside down on a plate, turn the cup clockwise three times and then lift up my mug for inspection.
As Kami looked into the cup, a roadmap to my future, she raised her eyebrows.
“Don’t say a baby!” I said, reading a look on her face.
Kami said nothing.
“Dangit Kami!” I fussed.
Every time I get my tea leaves read the reader sees a freakin baby. I can barely handle my houseplants let alone a baby!
After a long pause Kami said, “I don’t see a baby, but I do see a toy dinosaur. That could mean lots of things.” But I am not convinced. I think it means a kid in the house playing with toy dinosaurs.
Kami showed the woman across our table my cup for a second opinion and she also sees a toy dinosaur.
Then Kami says, “Oh there it is, I see a baby right here.” The woman also sees a baby, but I just see a bunch of flakes in a random pattern. You can be the judge. Here is a photo of the ‘baby’ Kami and the other lady saw in my tea leaves.
It was a good thing I was in a tea house because after the shocking news that I may be having a future spawn I needed a calming cup of tea to relax. Piper & Leaf has numerous flavors, with lots of ingredients produced by local farmers.
After the class Piper & Leaf sent us home with their delicious Peaches and Cream tea, so we could go home and practice what we had learned. Though the class was supposed to end at 9:00 we all stood around chatting and I didn’t head to my car until almost 10:00 (on a work night, how irresponsible!).Please check out Piper & Leaf. Happy Brewing!