TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Fine Teas From Steven Smith Teamaker
 A calming herbal blend (all photos courtesy Steven Smith Teamaker).
For a Mother’s Day gift of fine tea, look no further than Steven Smith Teamaker of Portland, Oregon.
Smith was* tea royalty in the U.S., first as co-founder of Stash, then as founder of Tazo, then as co-founder, with wife Kim, of Steven Smith Teamaker.
Steve not only had the expertise; he had the commitment to seeking out the best, and the palate to know the best. When he started his eponymous label, his curated teas were noticeably superior to other “superior” tea brands. There’s no brand we like better.
The company’s staff travels the globe to to personally select the finest small-batch teas and botanicals. They buy from longtime colleagues in the world’s best tea-growing regions in Africa, India, China and Sri Lanka.
There are boxes of sachets (tea bags) and tins of loose tea in every style. A sampling of some of our personal favorites:
But you don’t have to make a decision here: There are black, green, herbal, oolong, pu-erh and white teas galore on the Smith Tea website, including special blends for iced tea.
Each container has a batch number that you can enter to see the provenance of the ingredients, the date it was packed, and personal notes from the tea blender.
There’s a specialty blend to take note of, called Nancy And Beth, created by singer-actresses Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt. The name is the title of their latest album.
An herbal tea, this floral blend begins with rose petals, which are blended with chamomile, cyani (cornflowers), ginger, licorice and osmanthus flowers. Five dollars from every sale will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Find it here.
If you’re in the Portland area, stop by the tasting room for a cup or two.
Check out our Tea Glossary.
†Portland is called the Rose City for its proliferation of rose bushes. The climate is ideal for growing roses outdoors: warm, dry summers, rainy and mild winters, plus heavy clay soils.