Our story begins with Steven Smith, a natural born teamaker from Portland, Oregon “since 1949.” First as co-founder of Stash, then as tea shaman of Tazo, Steve made a worldwide name for himself through his deep understanding of tea—culminating in this, his signature brand, concocted in 2009. Working closely with his wife, Kim, and a trusted team, Steve succeeded in making Smith the most uncommon name in tea with a curated line of flavors like nothing else in the world.
Today, Steve’s spirit lives on in everything we do. As an American tea company devoted to uncommon good taste in your cup, we source the finest teas and botanicals from friends in India, China, Sri Lanka and Africa. In most cases, these are growers, exporters and tea brokers we’ve worked with for over 15 years. Every blend begins with a moment of inspiration—maybe a nicely aged cask of merlot, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream—that is then perfected with decades of experience and a fine feeling for flavors and fragrance. Our real goal is simply to make tea that we like to drink. Because, at bottom, Smith is about the tea maker you become, when you brew a cup yourself.
Imagine for a moment that you’re magically part of our teamaking team. Here are the painstaking steps you take to make Smith consistently great:
In your constant pursuit of perfection, you know that finding exceptional tea is more than a good way to get out of the office. It’s a true passion. So you make buying trips around the world, and have samples arriving daily at the Teaworks from tea gardens, traders and brokers. Some are purchased directly, others from auctions held in the tea trading centers of Calcutta, Colombo, Mombasa and Jakarta.
To protect every delicate leaf and blossom (as well as your reputation for quality) you make sure that all teas are produced and blended in-house, in small batches, by human hands, using a gentle touch.
Before ever shipping to a customer, you’ll taste each tea four times: at offer, on arrival, during the bench-top formula, and first batch from blending.
And speaking of tasting, you’re constantly trying new ingredients, trading notes with like-minded friends, and looking for inspiration. When blessed with a fresh idea, you put it through a trial by fire in up to 30 variations. (In some cases, a promising notion may even be abandoned.)
Keeping it culinary
Always, you take an open-armed approach to cuisine, with an ever-deepening appreciation of thousands of teas, herbs and spices. That’s what makes teamaking so much fun. And that’s what we celebrate every day: The chance to cultivate in yourself the palate of a chef, the nose of a sommelier, the patience of a distiller, and the joy of an artist.