Posts filed under ‘tea’

Tea, tea, tea – the third time’s the (extra) charm?

Tea has long been a matter connoisseurs have concerned themselves with, but in recent times the level of attention it gets as a connoisuers’s product in the general public has been growing significantly.  It is getting increased marketing as a specialty item, something to be picky about, and thus the number of people who consider themselves tea connoisseurs is on the rise.  You still get people who stick a bag of what-ever into their tea cup, don’t care about the temperature of their water, and call it tea (and in truth, this is still likely the majority), but, more and more, tea has become a place where those of us who love detail and subtle distinction have a lot of choice readily available on the market.

The Oregonian had an article in the Food section today about Steven Smith (who was one of the founders of Stash Tea Company, as well as one of the originators of Tazo Tea).  He has been living abroad for a year and has returned to Portland to continue his passion for tea.

If Tazo is perceived as step up from Stash, then Steven Smith’s new venture, Steven Smith Teamaker, is a leap into an even more upscale market.  His new company is set to make very small batch, hand picked and blended teas, done up in silken bags or sold loose leaf.  At first blush, it looks like he is taking a page from a number of different successful ventures (not to mention his own previous success stories).  His tea appears to be offered in a few ways – in loose leaf form, in pyramidal tea bags offered in a bag, and in individually wrapped bags (of more traditional shape) offered in two varieties of box.  I haven’t seen the tea bags myself yet, but from the pictures they look similar to those used by Mighty Leaf Tea, another tea manufacturer who makes use of different bag material and boasts of whole leaves.  The pyramidal bags look to be inspired by the bag shape introduced by PG Tips (now in use in slight variation by many companies) to increase water access to the tea during steeping.  I have to admit I am rather pleased by the string closure box, which has an elegant hand packaged feel.  Quality certainly matters more than packaging in my product choice, but I do enjoy a nice presentation.

Their description of the tasting room is brief in the article, but I am intrigued by the descriptions of the teas on the Smith Tea website.  I hope that I can make my way over to taste some time soon.  I am already a fan of Tea Zone and Tao of Tea, two of Portland’s well known tea houses, and am excited by the prospect of a new selection of teas to pick from for filling my tea cabinet.


October 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment