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. Ahhhhhh....
We are 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
The Most Uncommon Name in Tea.
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. Unfortunately, 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 Tea Makers 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 rave verve and imagination. The proof is in each cup.
The tea is packaged in an oversized sachet whose shape is not unusual, but the artistry inside is unique. This biodegradable sachet encourages greater full leaf expansion for better flavor. And after steeping, you can sashay the sachet straight to the compost heap!
Steven Smith Teamaker Meadow Herbal Infusion — Varietal No. 67
A caffeine free blend of golden Egyptian chamomile flowers and mildly stimulating, fragrant hyssop, a flavorful herb said to improve one's focus. Add the smooth taste of Cape rooibos, a bit of lemon myrtle, rose petals and linden flowers. You may need a sun hat – any time of the year!
Egyptian chamomile, South African rooibos, fragrant hyssop, linden flowers, lemon myrtle, rose petals, safflower, cyani flowers and natural flavors.
With a soothing characteristic and a subtle taste and aroma that is apple-like and toasty, chamomile is one of the most popular herbal ingredients on the market.
Introduced to Egypt from Europe a half century ago, chamomile brings the joy of festive harvest to the oasis of Faiyum. Sourced from Central Egypt, the Nile provides ample water and fertile soil for the world’s finest tasting blossoms. Harvest season for these golden buds is January to April.
Botanical from Albania
This blue blossom, also called cornflower, is used primarily by teamakers to add color to dry blends. Grown in Eastern Europe, the flower is handpicked in July, and the calyx removed, leaving thin blue threads of color.
Southern Oregon Botanical
Hyssop is a well-loved ingredient in our pantry. Smith Teamaker uses hyssop for structure and sweetness. It grows best in arid regions and is particularly suited for the dry climate of Southern Oregon. Seeds are sprouted in greenhouses during the early spring to avoid frost and are then transported to prepared fields for the dry, hot summer. The fields are irrigated with fresh water regularly, helping the hyssop to flourish in the heat. After harvest — in June and September — the hyssop is dried and sorted for market.
Lemon Myrtle is commercially grown in Eastern Australia and the evergreen bush can be cultivated multiple times per year. It provides the unmistakable citrus notes in this lovely Meadow tea.
LINDEN LEAF & FLOWER
Botanical from Bulgaria
Grown in Eastern Europe, these dried leaves and flowers help make the beautiful blend that is Meadow.
PINK ROSE PETALS
Pink rose petals are a favorite ingredient. They provide sweetness and spice along with distinct floral qualities and are used to create complexity in the Meadow blend. The pink rose petals come from several regions in India and are harvested in March.
South African Botanical
Rooibos, also known as red bush, is perhaps the most tea-like and naturally caffeine-free beverage in the world. During the 20th Century, red bush went from being a mostly indigenous drink of South Africa to a global commodity and a cash crop for the Clanwilliam district. Rooibos is also known to be high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Similar to tea, rooibos generally undergoes an oxidation process after the leaves are cut, when it develops a uniquely sweet and creamy flavor, without the astringency of black tea. It is a common alternative to coffee or tea because it also stands up well to milk and sugar and can be served in various forms quite easily (hot, iced, lattes, etc.). Rooibos, which is harvested from January through April, can also be steamed after being picked to stop the oxidation process, which will keep it as green rooibos, a more vegetal and floral flavor than the more common red rooibos.
Botanical from China
Firey in color, with a bright yellow brew color, Safflower is often mistaken or used in place of safron, that is until someone tastes it. Safflower is slightly sweet with notes of squash. It also produces a texture that is used to round out brighter qualitites of other herbs when blending. The safflower in Smith Teamaker's Meadow herbal infusion comes from several regions in China, which is the birthplace of tea, and it is harvested in the height of summer.
Chamomile, apple and honey.
15 oversized sachets in a Tip Top gift box.
For best flavor, bring freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep five minutes. Imagine something beautiful happening somewhere else in the world.
Blend Numerology - Meadow Varietal No. 67
The famous Summer of Love (also a great year for the Chevy Camaro).
This Smith Teamaker Meadow 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.
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."