If you like tea, you’ve probably heard of Lipton or Bigelow and probably of Stash or Tazo, but not Steven Smith. That is ironic, because Steven Smith created (and subsequently sold) both Stash and Tazo. Then, he retired to France! But, being the serial entrepreneur he was, he couldn’t just let things be. Instead, he returned to the state he loved most and opened a tea shop in Portland, Oregon. There, Steven Smith Teamaker produces about 35 different offerings ranging from single dedicated flavors like Yunnan to blends like Fez (green tea with spearmint) or your classic Chai.
I am a huge tea lover. I love coffee too but at work I brew at least two cups a day of tea. I was recently made aware of Smith’s story and became fascinated. I learned that a new coffee shop in town was carrying his wares so I swung by after an early morning and bought a box of Fez. I split it with a friend and we both agreed – this was some good tea. Smith has a knack for blending but also packaging. The boxes hold 15 packets and inside each bag is a sachet. Teas need room to breath and unfurl while they brew. That’s why I always use loose leaf tea and a tea basket. However, sometimes this is not practical. Sometimes, you need the convenience of a disposable, self-contained vessel. The Smith teabags are a light mesh material in a pillow (sometimes pyramid) shape. There’s a a lot more volume for the tea to swirl around compared to your typical tea bag.
High end food/cooking stores like Williams-Sonoma and even clothing shops like Portland’s own Blackbird are catching on; they are carrying his line of teas. This all comes at a price though. The teas do cost a premium, about $12 for a box of 15. However, that’s always been Smith’s style. When he introduced Tazo, he priced them at more than double what other brands were asking. If you’d pay for premium beer or coffee, why not tea? So, if you’re a tea drinker, invest in a box. I’d recommend a variety box to start off with. I keep one at home for guests. It makes a great presentation and they’ll be impressed when you present them with something other than that old package at the back of your pantry.
Inspired by Warhol’s unconventional representation of icons, and the playful use of codes and colour in his work, Dom Pérignon commissioned the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design to reinterpret its timeless bottle. The result is a unique collection of three bottles, each with its distinct label in red, blue or yellow, paying homage to Warhol’s iconic colour games.
If there was ever a luxury beer made for food pairing, my South African buddy Rui created it with Collective Sao Gabriel. And damn, they did such an incredible job with packaging. Wonder how it tastes? Stay tuned.
Idyllic summer nights in Brooklyn leave little to be desired–unless you’re Q Tonic founder Jordan Silbert, that is. The gin and tonic lover discovered that the tonic water he was drinking four summer ago was chock full of artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup, and in the name of not standing up for something so undignified, he set out to create a crisper tonic. After pulling together quinine from South America, organic agave and lovingly designed floral-inspired glass bottles, Silbert’s concoction can now be found at Gramercy Tavern and the Four Seasons in New York and NOPA in San Francisco. “One of the things that excites me most about Q Tonic is that it enables you to actually taste the difference between and gin and tonic made with different gins–a gin and tonic made with Plymouth and Q Tonic tastes very different than a G&T with Hendricks and Q Tonic,” says the drink maker, who slaved over the recipe in his Brooklyn kitchen for more than a few seasons. “Unlike when you use mass produced tonic waters, you can actually taste the different botanicals that make different gins great in their different ways.”
Since I started up cycling again, I’ve been thinking about how to help my body recover not only after, but during the ride. I drink a ton of water when I am doing cardio, but lately it occurred to me that if I’m going to be drinking anyway, I may as well bring electrolytes into the mix. Enter nuun (pronounced noon), a startup by a professor and student duo from Darthmouth’s business school. Nuun comes in five different flavors (such as orange ginger, lemon-lime, and citrus fruit) and is packaged in convenient tubes that hold 12 tablets each. Each tablet, when mixed with 500ml (16 oz) of water, forms the perfect hydration tool. It’s effervescent and two minutes after dropping it in (no stirring or shaking required) the tablet is completely dissolved. I love that once it’s dissolved, it’s not fizzy (harder than it sounds); the last thing I need to drink during my workout is something carbonated.
You are going to have to manage your carb intake because nuun has none. It is strictly sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. It contains no sugar nor does it leave a powdery residue at the bottom of your bottle. If you give nuun a try, tell us what you think!
When you’re watching over a city, it’s imperative that you’ve got enough caffeine to get you through the night. So, put down the decaf and pick up a 10 oz. can of “Veidt Enterprise’s Nite Owl Dark Roast” created by celebrity photographer Clay Enos’s charitable coffee company, The Organic Coffee Cartel. Inspired by the coffee Dan and Laurie drink aboard the Night Owl, this limited-edition java blend is guaranteed to have you staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m — which, would be an ideal time for you to thumb through Watchmen Portraits, a book of photographs from Enos, the official photographer on the Watchmen set.
In addition, any customer who purchases a collectible blend before February 26 will have a chance win two tickets to the Los Angeles premiere and after-party for Watchmen from the OCC.
After Oprah endorsed aÃ§ai — the Amazonian berry that’s making a sensation on the grocery aisles and likely in your tummies in your part of the world right now — it was only inevitable that cachaÃ§a, the Brazilian rum made from sugar cane and the main happiness ingredient in a caipirinha cocktail, would follow. Brazilian cachaÃ§a maker Sagatiba is one of the first companies making a pointed foray into the U.S. market and are bringing the contagious fever that is Brazilian culture with it: art, music, fashion and even culinary. I want to point you to their website, which gets two superb street artists on board, Flip and Bruno 9li, starring in their own short movies about their work. They’re super insightful, inspiring, and as a marketing strategy, seem like the authority on Brazilian culture within their market. Sagatiba might have hit it on the head. As great as the whole idea is, am I the only one who finds it curious that a street artist would lend his name to an alcohol company? Are these artists any different than, say, an Inc. partnering with another Co.? Is this a new proposal that Brazil is opening for other artists? Send in your comments.
Normally we would say that weaponry and drinks don’t mix but there are those unforeseen events in which you might feel the need to call in the heavy artillery. For refreshment aficionados looking to add an arctic blast to their mixed drink but prefer the novel or militaristic approach over cold cubes, there’s now the AK Ice Tray. Fill your glass with 12 rounds of beverage piercing bullets that will turn your cocktail into a chilly, yet dangerous delight.
The Apple iPhone has many practical uses. Owners employ their magical machine for just about everything from taking photos or surfing the Internet. Many treat their jack-of-all electronics with the tender loving care they would treat a newborn babe. In other words, they would never use it as a coaster. (You wouldn’t balance a beer on an infant either.) Luckily, Brazil’s Meninos Design has the cure for such slightly inhumane inklings. Their iPhone Icon coasters allow fans of the phone to place their drinks on their favorite applications — without the touch screen getting all freaky.