Our Story

Mighty Leaf was born out of a shared passion for whole leaf tea. Founders Gary Shinner and Jill Portman fell in love with whole leaf tea in the mid-90's over a pot of Chinese Oolong tea while shopping for engagement rings in Chicago. A few years later, they made the bold decision to leave their jobs in investment banking and architecture to open a modern day tea house to share their love of whole leaf tea with others. They packed up their lives in Chicago and moved to San Francisco where “Tea & Company” located on Fillmore Street, opened its doors in 1996. Tea and Co was the first of its kind in San Francisco and perhaps a little ahead of its time.

Tea & Company Shop in San Francisco in the 1990's.

After the dot-com crash, Jill and Gary decided to close their doors in 2000. However, they were not giving up on their passion. They already had some wholesale customers and knew that they could share the whole leaf tea experience with a broader audience by supplying upscale restaurants and hotels. Jill and Gary developed the signature Mighty Leaf hand-stitched pouch to make the whole leaf tea experience more accessible and over the next 10 years, built an impressive clientele list including Michelin starred restaurants, five-star hotels and luxury cruise lines, most of whom Mighty Leaf continues to serve today.

Mighty Leaf's Customer's Logos

In 2014, Mighty Leaf was sold to new owners, one of them being Peet's Coffee & Tea. Mighty Leaf chose to join the Peet's Coffee family because of their commitment to quality. Like Mighty Leaf, Peet's began as a small shop in the Bay Area with the vision to create incredible hand-crafted coffee & tea blends. Today, our team is led by Tea Master, Eliot Jordan who has over 30 years of experience sourcing the highest quality, whole leaf teas from around the world. Eliot shares Jill and Gary's passion to create artisan whole leaf tea blends by sourcing the finest ingredients available.

Eliot Jordan, Mighty Leaf's Tea Master.