Smith Teamaker Blog

Apple Pie Chai

Here in the marketing annex at Smith, we have been having a bit of a bake-off. Jayna started the week with a home-made apple pie filled with local Honeycrisp apples; totally delicious.  The next day, Joy brought in a sweet potato pie with marshmallow meringue; absolutely scrumptious. Alex rounded out the week with double-chocolate boil cookies; amazingly decadent. Now, in our sugary hangover, we need a bit of the hair of the dog to get us through the day. This Apple Pie Chai, brought to us by one of our tea companions, is just what the doctor ordered.


Makes two, 12oz servings in 8 minutes.

Ingredients for Apple Pie Chai:

1 cup (118mL) Apple Cider. We like to use Draper Girls’ Country Farm cider for its crisp, pure taste.
1.5 cup (177mL) Double-Strength Smith Chai
2–3 tbsp (30–45mL) Caramel-flavored Simple Syrup
1 cup Cinnamon-Infused Whipped Cream. (To learn how to make this cinnamon-spiced whipped cream, see our post here.)

Instructions for Apple Pie Chai:

Steep two sachets or 2 tablespoons (6 grams) of loose leaf Chai for 5 minutes in 1.5 cups of water that have been heated to 190°F (88°C). Remove the biodegradable sachets and discard them in a planter or garden for festive flower food. Divide the chai concentrate equally between two mugs.

Warm and froth apple cider with an espresso machine steam wand or simply warm in a sauce pan over low heat until the aromatic steam just beings to rise. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before dividing the warmed apple cider equally between the two mugs filled with double-strength chai.

Stir in 1 tablespoon of caramel-flavored simple syrup into each mug. More can be added for greater sweetness, but we think you’re sweet enough already.

Top each mug with fresh, cinnamon-infused whipped cream to taste. Garnish with a delicate dusting of freshly-grated nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.


Relief from the summer heat

Chai Cola featuring Fentiman's Ginger Beer

In the streets of Kolkata, chai wallahs sell near-boiling cups of sweet tea in tiny, clay cups. At two cents apiece, it is an easy way to get a little pick-me-up in the middle of the broiling day. We wanted to make our own refresher, something where the heat of Kolkata comes out in the flavor, and not in the temperature. We took our Masala Chai, brewed it as a concentrate, and blended it with Fentiman’s ginger beer and simple syrup. The result: the teetotaler’s chiller with a bit of heat.

For our friends outside of Kolkata or Portland, here is how to make the drink at home:

Begin by preparing a double-strength batch of Masala Chai. Steep two sachets for every 10 ounces of water in boiling water for 5 minutes. To cool, let the tea stand at room temperature instead of putting it in the refrigerator; compounds in the brew will cloud and lose flavor if you do. Despite its aversion to chilly temperatures, this concentrate will keep for 1-2 days.

In an ice-filled pint glass, measure out equal parts chai concentrate and Fentiman’s Ginger Beer. Gently spoon over two teaspoons of simple syrup. Using a long spoon or cinnamon stick, stir to combine. Sit back on your adirondack chair and chill. Tastes best with Miles Davis playing in the background.

We will be serving these teas at our Teaworks through the end of August, or until it cools off enough that we can put away our sunhats.

Feast 2013

Head Teamaker

It is not often the teamakers take the show on the road, but with all the great events happening at Feast 2013 here in Portland, we had to join in.

September 21st is the Beat the Devil; Create an Awesome Food Business Without Selling Your Soul event at Whitsell Auditorium. In this “Speaker Series” presentation, Steve will offer tips and insights on creating an ethical and successful gourmet business alongside other luminaries on the panel including Kim Malek from Salt and Straw, Piper Davis from Grand Central Bakery, and Chuck Eggert from Pacific Foods.

On Sunday, September 22nd, Steve and Kim will be teaching a class on the fine art of blending tea. This hands-on class begins with a tasting of different teas and botanicals and finishes with students taking home their own personalized blends.

Tickets for these events are already on sale and generally sell out quickly. So make sure to get your tickets soon, otherwise your Feast may be closer to a famine.

Lattes with Claire and Alex

With the new year upon us, we are all looking for ways to help us stick to our resolution. For people looking to transition from Coffee or other highly caffeinated beverages, a chai latte is a great way to get a little kick without all the buzz. Matcha lattes also have a touch of caffeine, as well as a delicious way of getting antioxidants, EGCG, and flavinoids. Both recipes are a snap to make and are great hot or iced. Check out the video for a quick tutorial.

Chai Latte:
6oz freshly drawn and boiled water
1 Smith Masala Chai sachet
2-3 oz dairy or plant-based milk
1 tsp. cane sugar or other sweetener

Begin by brewing the tea for 5 minutes in a 10 to 12 ounce cup. While the tea is brewing, heat the milk to around 160 degrees. Using a steamer is a great way to add texture to the latte, but a microwave or stovetop work fine as well. Once the tea is brewed, add sweetener and stir in the heated milk. For a caffeine-free version, substitute the Masala Chai for Red Nectar.

Matcha Latte:
8 oz dairy or plant-based milk
1 tsp Smith Matcha Powder
2 tsp cane sugar or other sweetener

Combine the milk, Matcha, and sweetener in a steaming pitcher or microwave-safe container. Whisk rapidly with a spoon or an electric frother until everything is evenly combined. Heat the mixture to about 160 degrees; hot, but not scalding. Pour into your favorite cup or thermos and enjoy.

OCAC Teapots: A 20 Year Retrospective

The Oregon College of Arts and Crafts is celebrating 20 years of its advanced metals class this year with a display of some of their favorite teawares. The 40 teapots on display, created by 3rd year students over the past 20 years, are being shown at the Hoffman Gallery through January 30th. The class that creates them is one-of-a-kind in the country and a rite of passage for students in the metals department of the school. With shapes ranging from panda bears to tanks, the creativity and imagination of the student artists truly shines. Smith Teamaker is proud to support this school and their teapots class through the sale of their exclusive “OCAC Craft Tea”.


Two Degrees

2 kids with bar

Smith Teamaker is proud to partner with Two Degrees for the month of November. Every order placed on will come with a complimentary whole grain bar courtesy of Two Degrees. Not only are these bars delicious, they also help support a great cause.

For each bar distributed, a child in a developing country receives a life-saving meal or medically formulated nutrition pack. The nutrition packs are made to treat severe and acute malnutrition in children under the age of 5 years. They have shown up to 95% efficacy rates in completely rehabilitating severely malnourished children. Two Degrees purchases these meals from producers in the region where the meals are distributed. This helps to support local economies by employing local workers and purchasing local ingredients. With over 500,000 meals distributed, Two Degrees is at the forefront of helping to end hunger worldwide.

Did we mention they are delicious? Two Degrees sent us a sample box, which promptly disappeared into Steve’s office. When people started asking about them, Steve exclaimed “I thought they were all for me, I must have eaten them all.” We eventually all got to try the different flavors, and Steve got to support a great cause. Certainly a win-win for all.

Learn more about Two Degrees Here

Good Times at the 2012 International Pinot Noir Conference

Some anthropologists think that humans evolved in a savannah. Maybe that’s one reason the International Pinot Noir Conference felt so comforting. The location, inside a shady ancient oak grove in McMinnville, Oregon, was pastoral and serene. The other reason this was a perfect weekend: the food and wine.

For three consecutive days every July, some of the world’s best pinot noir wineries give seminars, vineyard tours and pour samples for people whose love of pinot draws them to this quaint Willamette Valley town. This year, we at Steven Smith Teamaker were thrilled to offer IPNC visitors chilled glasses of our four bottled teas, and thrilled to share such a wonderful day with friends old and new.


Steve, Nova and Claire poured Black Cap, White Petal, Big Bamboo and Big Hibiscus at the event on Friday. My coworker Amy and I poured on Sunday. Named The Walkabout, the Sunday afternoon affair is the largest outdoor pinot tasting in Oregon, with tables of wine alternating with tables from some of the Northwest’s finest restaurants and bakeries. Between pourings, Amy and I took a few moments to stroll through the grove, sampling food. (more…)

Alison Roper’s Tea


It’s always a surprise to enter the Laboratory at Smith Teamaker- you never know who you’ll find mixing it up with Steve. This time, it was Oregon Ballet Theatre’s own principal dancer, Alison Roper. She met with Steve a few weeks ago to take a spin around the Teaworks, taste a variety of teas and botanicals, and choreograph a special blend she could share with her friends and fans of the ballet. Since Tiffany was on hand with her camera that day, we have photos to share with you. Enter the Teaworks and follow along with Alison’s journey of creating her own special tea blend.

Indian Summer Tea Recipe

Photo by Tiffany Talbott

Hello all friends of Smith Teamaker! I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working part-time at Smith since last Christmas, and just last week I had a work-time revelation. I used to not be a big hibiscus fan. I liked the idea, but the actuality was often too astringent for my tastes. Then I met Big Hibiscus. The deeply crimson flowers themselves are beautiful, both to the eye and the nose, and the blend is at once rich and light, floral and fruity, with the slightest touch of the aromatic. I love it.

We’ve had a lovely spell of much needed 83-91 degree days here in Portland, and this kind-of weather brings margaritas to my mind. So there I was, sitting on the line while we were running BH, and it hit me: these flavors would be GREAT in a margarita! On the way home that night I stopped and picked up a bottle of tequila and some lemons and limes along with my dinner sundries. After a little tinkering, I came up with a recipe I’m pretty excited about, and I thought I’d share it here in hopes that some of you would enjoy it as much as me. The resulting cocktail is unique and delicious, as well as being the most beautiful shade of crimson I’m calling it an Indian Summer in hopes that our beautiful weather will stick around for a while before the rains return. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Best, Elizabeth

Indian Summer

6 tea bags Smith Teamaker Big Hibiscus tea

hot water

5 lemons

5 limes

simple syrup (I’ll explain)*

kosher salt

tequila (I like a silver as opposed to gold tequila for this drink)

triple sec (optional) (more…)

How to Make Exceptional Iced Tea

Here’s Jack Smith showing how to brew an Exceptional Iced Tea.