THE TEA MASTER

If you had to pick a name synonymous with tea enterprises, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than Steve Smith. A pioneer in blending and packaging and creating a market for fine tea, Steve hails back to the formation of both Stash and Tazo tea companies. His latest endeavor is aptly named, Smith Teamaker, and brings him closer to source and keeping it real than ever before. There’s a relaxed “this is a master at work” vibe at the NW PDX headquarters that let’s you know you are in special company the moment you walk in the door.

No scones, jams, chocolates or greeting cards – this place is all about tea. A refreshing focus that allows you to really concentrate on tasting the leaf. Teas are available by the pot or the pitcher. Or you can opt for the Smith Tea Flights which give you a guided tasting of four blends. Great fun to share with your favorite tea bud.

Hard to pick a favorite of the tastings but the Big Hibiscus has an aroma that is seductive. (Can’t wait to brew some for cocktails!) And I’m not a bottled tea fan but I went home with a 1 liter bottle of White Petal – an amazing elixir of white tea, pears and apples. Not only is the flavor clean and crisp, I was impressed with the low sugar content of 9 grams per 8 ounces.  It reminded me of a fine ice wine.  There are three blends available and can be purchased only at the tasting room.

Smith Teamaker is open M-F from 9 to 5:30. In addition to tasting, you can purchase boxed loose leaf or sachet teas as well as by the ounce. There are 33 to choose from among the white, green, oolong, black and herbal selections. If you’re a white tea fan, try #72 the White Petal blend.  Another one we enjoyed is called Fez – an aromatic blend of green tea, lemon myrtle and spearmint that’s perfect hot or iced.  Be sure to call ahead if you are planning to visit with more than four in your group. See you there!

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