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What is it about really, really good tea? You hold the cup in your hands, take a sip, and the whole world seems to collapse down to the very moment at hand. You relax, the noise and distractions of Every Day Life fade and the present becomes clear. Some call it mindfulness. And escape. Ahhhhhh....
We are pretty serious about tea around here. And, that is why when I first tasted Steven Smith's exceptional teas, heard their story and learned about their small-batch blending process with top quality, sustainability oriented ingredients from around the world, I knew we had to bring them to you!
In no generation in the past 5,000 years have we had more than a few people like Steven Smith. He makes astonishingly good blends.
— James Norwood Pratt, author of the definitive Tea Dictionary
Steven Smith Teamaker — The Finest Name in Tea Since 1949.
The lexicon of tea is full of exotic terms. Oolong. Pu-erb. Matcha. Mao Feng. To these, we humbly add Smith.
In a former blacksmith shop on tree-lined Northwest Thurman Street in Portland, Oregon, you could find Steven Smith — one of the world's most respected tea makers —and his fellow Tea Makers blending and crafting wonderfully small batches of teas that offer a drinking experience like nothing else in the world.
He was often described as "Merlin meets Marco Polo" because of his insatiable desire to find the best teas and blend them in new, magical ways. Sadly, Steven Smith passed away in 2015, but his legacy is deeply steeped in the culture and craft of Smith Teamakers. Such is ensured by Steven's wife and co-founder, Kim, as well as many loyal co-workers — handpicked by Steven and Kim - who are committed to a vision of excellence.
Steven Smith Teamaker imports teas and herbs directly from sources around the world, as well as through traders they have worked with for more than 30 years.
Smith Teamakers work to deliver the freshest tasting tea, and they blend in small batches to ensure that the leaves and flowers packed are not crushed.
Each is created from ingredients picked at their peak and artfully combined with verve and imagination. The proof is in each cup.
Chocolate Peppermint Pu-erh — Blend No. 95
A complex and complementary offering combining the creamy flavor of Pacific Northwest grown peppermint leaves with rich cacao nibs, aged pu-erh and flavorful orange peel. Delicious treat any time of day.
Cocoa, crème de menthe, malt
Pacific Northwest peppermint leaves, cacao nibs, Shu cha pu-erh, orange peel and natural chocolate flavor.
Peppermint - Pacific Northwest Botanical
The world’s most flavorful peppermint comes from the Pacific Northwest, where the summers are hot and dry. Smith Teamaker harvests its peppermint just before it begins to flower, when the oil content is highest. After cutting, the plant is allowed to field dry. Then the stems are removed and the mint is sorted into uniform leaf sizes. With intense menthol and rich chocolate notes, Pacific Northwest peppermint is a real wakeup for your senses.
Cacao Nibs - Dominican Botanical
Cacao nibs come from the Theobroma cacao tree and are one of the main raw ingredients used for making chocolate. Whole cacao beans are shelled, fermented and then broken down into chopped bits of cocoa seeds. These nibs then go through an additional roasting step, resulting in a more flavorful and less bitter tasting cacao nib. Smith Teamaker sources its cacao nibs from the Dominican Republic during the main harvest between the months of April and July
Pu-erh - Chinese Pu-erh Tea
A highly prized Chinese Pu-erh tea, this full-leaf fermented black tea is aged for 3 years. Grown at around 5,000 ft elevation in Feng Cheng, Yunnan, China, this tea produces a dark liquor with smooth and complex earthy flavor and sweet lingering finish.
For best flavor, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to a boil (212 degrees) and steep for five minutes. Use one sachet of tea per 8-10 ounces of water.
15 oversized, wrapped sachets in a Tip Top gift box.
The tea is packaged in an oversized sachet whose shape is not unusual, but the artistry inside is unique. The sachets, which are created from plant-based material, encourage greater full-leaf expansion for better flavor. And, because each one is 100% compostable, after steeping, you can sashay the sachet straight to the compost heap!
Additionally, Smith Teamaker sachets are sealed with sound wave technology, meaning there is no glue or staples present anywhere in the process. Smith Teamaker has tested its sachet material through a 3rd party to ensure its safety, and most importantly, they can assure you that their sachets are not comprised of PET plastic or nylon.
Blend Numerology - Blend No. 95
The year Chef Vitaly Paley, for which this blend was originally made, opened his first Portland restaurant – Paley’s Place.
Smith Tea on Sustainability:
"Being on the ground in the countries of origin where we purchase tea allows us to review the production process from the plucking of the leaves and flowers and the harvest of the barks and roots that are used in producing our blends, as well as seeing how the workers are treated. Some of the teas we source are organic, but are purchased without a certificate
All sources that we purchase from operate their farms and their collection of botanicals in a sustainable manner, recognizing that nurturing the soil and the plant is the only way to create a sustainable crop.
Many of our long-time suppliers also sell products into the European Union, which has much more standards for organic certification than does the United States. Our black and green teas are all EU compliant."