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.
Black Lavender Black Tea Blend - Blend No. 14
A glorious bouquet of delicate French lavender paired with exquisite black Ceylon and lapsang souchong teas, fruity black currant and sweet vanilla. Handcrafted with great joie de vivre in the Smith atelier.
Crème Brûlée, leather, sweet berry wine
Ceylon and Zheng Shan black teas, French lavender, red rose petals, black currant and vanilla natural flavor.
Sri Lankan Black Tea
The Dimbula region is directly opposite the Uva region in Sri Lanka. Dimbulas are often called “Westerns” in the tea trade. They have a reddish amber color in the cup, with a medium to full body, slightly fruity flavor and mineral notes. Ceylon Dimbulas are often used in medium bodied blends, Earl Grey formulas and other flavored teas. The best Dimbula teas are produced from December to February.
Botanical from Provence
A fragrant evergreen shrub with beautiful purple flower spikes that bloom every summer. French Lavender has a more delicate aroma than its English counterpart and is often used in aromatherapy for its calming properties. Drive through the hillsides of Provence — a beautiful coastal region in the south of France — during July with a convertible and breathe in its beautiful scent.
It also happens to be where Smith Teamakers' founder Steve Smith was living when he had his “Ah-Ha” moment to start a tea company unlike any other in the world.
RED ROSE PETALS
Less utilized in our blends than their pink counterparts, dried red rose petals are more pungent and perfumed. The red rose petals in Black Lavender are from Pakistan, and they are harvested in the early Spring, usually March.
Chinese Black Tea
The original Lapsang, the most sought after smoked tea in all of China. Delicate and wiry black tea leaves are smoked with pine boughs for a complex and full yet smooth experience. The tea used in Zheng Shan is harvested in the spring and then smoked in the summer.
For best flavor, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to a boil (212 degrees) and steep five minutes, while letting your mind wander in fields of lavender.
15 oversized, wrapped sachets in a Gift Box.
Smith Teamakers' Black Lavender 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. 14
A tip of the old beret to our French friends on Bastille Day.
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."