Tasting at Steven Smith Teamaker
While Portland is renowned for pioneering craft brews, it should also be known for hoisting mugs of another sort.
The local tea revolution reaches back to 1972, when Stash Tea Company steeped its first bag at its headquarters in an old Portland Victorian home. The company has since moved to suburban Tigard, but will be opening a shop on N. Mississippi Avenue this month.
Steven Smith, one of Stash’s founders, went on to found Tazo Tea (a brand now owned by Starbucks) and currently operates Steven Smith Teamaker, whose blends are available all over the city, including in the company’s tasting room and shop on NW Thurman Street.
Relative newcomers Townsend’s Tea Company opened in 2006, and has become a favorite with its Alberta Street Teahouse, where cups and bags are available for sale. Their new Division Street location opened this past year, and has quickly become a perfect pair with the neighborhood’s hot restaurant scene.
Loose-leaf cafes also pour it on in Portland, serving tea from bubble to bagged. The TeaZone in the Pearl District stocks more than 100 loose-leaf varieties from all over the world, and is a great place to tuck into a cuppa, along with some live music. Tea Chai Té is a cozy tea shop on NW 23rd Avenue that features comfy couches, games, books and a covered balcony. Fifteen different chai blends make it a must-sip. Lastly, but certainly not the least, The Tao of Tea has locations on SE Belmont Street — where they sell and serve organic teas in an old wood, bamboo and hand-painted shop and cafe — and at the Tower of Cosmic Reflections, the authentic and masterfully constructed tea house within Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden. With this many options, Portland surely has your cup of tea.