Steven Smith Teamaker…Quality, Whimsy & The Most Excellent Tasting Room

I’ve been noticing Steven Smith Teas the past couple years and had recently received their sampler as a gift from a friend…every time I steeped a variety, I was impressed with the beautiful quality and flavor of whatever I tried.  So, this tasting room was on my list of “must see” stops on our Portland, Oregon trip.  Awesome quality teas, cool packaging, and an excellent tasting room is what we found…Smith Teas was my kind of place…”just my cup of tea” (pun intended)…as well as, was my husband and nephew’s favorite tea stop too…it’s contemporary, yet exudes and acknowledges the historic Asian and Indian world view roots of where great teas reside.  Steven Smith, tea maker, wonderfully crafts small batches of tea in his Portland, Oregon tea atelier using fine ingredients picked at their peak.

Steven Smith Teamaker, Tasting Room, Portland, Oregon...on a quiet little street

Steven Smith Teamaker, Teaworks & Tasting Room, Portland, Oregon…located on a quiet little street

 

Steven Smith Teamaker Tasting Room...small brick building located on a tree lined small side street

Steven Smith Teamaker Tasting Room and Tea Atelier…small brick building located on a tree lined small side street

IMG_1617 IMG_1564

The tasting room is inviting with a small tea bar, as well as, a few tables for tasting.  There was a clear view of the manufacturing equipment and product displayed in an accessible and not overwhelming way (as some tea rooms almost offer too much variety and product for my taste).  Not here, everything was just perfect. And why not, Steven Smith is no newbie to the tea world…his resume includes starting another small tea company with friends in the the 70’s…called Stash Tea…sold it, then later started another small tea company you might have heard of called Tazo Tea (yes, the one Starbucks bought from him)…then after going to France to live the good life for a few years…he came back to Portland and his love for tea and voila…we now have potentially the coolest tea company around…Steven Smith …this guy knows what he is doing.

IMG_1586

Inside the tasting room...a small tea bar, a hallway leading to the tea maker's workroom

Inside the tasting room…a small tea bar and a hallway leading to the tea maker’s workroom

Our tasting…

IMG_1600 IMG_1598

Our tasting...we chose four teas to taste.  Their preparation and presentation was the really nice.  We tried a light green (Dragon well), an Oolong and two black yes...they have cards for each to explain what they are, their nuances and origin...just beautifully done.  The guys in running the tasting were knowledgable, friendly, and efficient too...well trained and loved their tea.

Our tasting…we chose four teas to taste. Their preparation and presentation was excellent. We tried a light green (Dragon well), an Oolong and two black tea varietals…they have cards for each to explain what they are, their nuances and origin…just beautifully done. The guys running the tasting were knowledgable, friendly, and efficient too…well trained and loved their tea.

Not only are the teas of the most excellent quality, their packaging is really neat.  If you go to their site, you will get the sense of whimsy and lighthearted fun Steven Smith and his team of tea makers has in numbering their products and creating descriptions of why the number and best way to consume.  They openly disclose their rationale for each box style and state that you are paying more for the packaging…which we bought as the boxes are so cool 🙂

IMG_1591 IMG_1590 IMG_1574

Steven Smith Packaging...string boxes hold 15 whole leaf individual bags..

Steven Smith Packaging…string boxes hold 15 whole leaf individual sachets as do the Tip Top boxes inspired by the Crayola Box..

They offer just a small display of  tea equipment and I loved it all…particularly the glass teapot…everything is tastefully merchandised

IMG_1612 IMG_1611 IMG_1607

Tea making accessories display tastefully...I love the clear pot with stainless steel infuser basket...clean ...and the tasting cup was perfect

Tea making accessories are tastefully displayed…I love the clear pot with stainless steel infuser basket…clean looking and easy to keep clean …and the tasting cup was perfect.  Their merchandising area also had tins and bags for sale with whole leaf varieties…they would pack up whatever amount you desired too

Every single eating establishment we went to in Portland proudly offered two things…Stumptown Coffee and Steven Smith Teas.  We loved every cup, along with the whimsical sayings on each package ..such as No. 39 Fez…says “best when shared with friends while lounging on pillows”

Each number has a rationale (go to their site where each is explained).  It’s worth the read. I would have liked to have been in the room as each tea description was developed, that must have been fun.  Again, these guys know what they are doing!   We’ll be back to Steven Smith … and my teapot is in the mail.

Drink tea…it’s good for you and your being!

No. 39 Fez

No. 39 Fez

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. You have another teapot on order?

    • You’ll love it…really…I will get my cracked, chipped one off the counter when this sleek new one comes in 🙂

  2. What an amazing looking place, I love that shot of the four teas in tasting bowls, the colours are so diverse. The packaging reminds me a little of Tazo tea (perhaps not too surprisingly), it all looks very tempting. Are we going to get a look at your new teapot when it arrives? 🙂

    • Yes you will get a photo of my new teapot…I didn’t get a good one at their shop, so will do so when mine arrives.
      It is so nice to find a tasting room like this…they were open to your trying several different teas that they prepared perfectly for a nominal charge.
      (it was a total of $8 for three of us…)…of course, I came home with several teas.

      • That does sound like very good value for money.