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Steven Smith Teamaker

Polara Product Shoot Smith 082009 169


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.

Two Leaves and a Bud Tea

I’m in Chicago right now, and it’s cold. Really, really cold. That means two things around the JS headquarters: lots of hooded sweatshirts, and warm drinks. Thanks to the folks at Two Leaves and a Bud Tea, we’ve been enjoying a fantastic blend of quality teas, like this one here, African Sunset. Only teas that are grown in single geographic regions using traditional growing methods are used — that means lots of time picking, testing, and tasting. It also means they never blend with less expensive “filler teas,” which is party of the reason these teas taste so delicious.

The company is based just down the road from Aspen, Colorado in a little place called Roaring Fork Valley. It was originally started because founder Richard Rosenfeld was frustrated with the US selection and couldn’t find the high qualities he so much enjoyed during his travels through Asia and India. We’re glad you brought some new and unique teas back with you. Thanks Richard!

Treleela Tea

Treleela, a total-experience tea, is a take-anywhere treat. This boutique tea line by Ineeka integrates innovative design, responsible philosophies and superior flavor into one cool package. These aren’t you grandma’s tea bags"“ the Treleela Pochettes are made to replicate the experience of a traditional good brew. Simply tear where the arrows tell you to, attach the wings on each side of your favorite mug, and pour hot water over the opening. The flavors and aroma will amaze you and inspire you, like Treleela Visionary, a green-chai, did for us. Cultivated on Ineeka’s own family farms, these 100% organic whole leaf teas are produced by an industry pioneer of environmental and social responsibility standards. Treleela is truly a feel-good experience, making your taste-buds and your conscious happy. Treleela will be available at the Hello Delicious Store when it launches on January 18th.

Via Hello Delicious

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