Smith Teamaker Cafe in Seoul
June 29, 2017: Smith Teamaker Café in Seoul opens to the public. More than five years in the making, this café was a shared vision between Steve Smith and our South Korean partner and friend, Hosik Chang. Despite this shared vision, this reality took time and patience, as good things always do.
A Little History
In early 2012, a Mr. Hosik Chang stopped by the Smith Teamaker booth at the Baltimore Natural Products Expo. Through his interpreter, he told Steve that he was starting a business to import Oregon-made goods into South Korea and wished to offer Smith Teamaker to his new customers. He also wanted to open a café similar to our tasting room in Northwest Portland. Hosik had no experience in food or beverage, or importing goods for that matter. Steve was interested, however, just cautious, as he was not ready to focus on having a café outside of Oregon and because he was worried about quality and execution.
Hosik walked away from this discussion excited and inspired; he did his homework and stayed in touch. It didn’t take long before we came to respect his passion, business prowess and attention to detail. Later in the year we released a shipment of Smith products to South Korea and ever since then you can find Smith Teamaker at better restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars throughout Seoul.
At Smith Teamaker Café Seoul, you can expect the same high-quality teas, great service and attention to detail found in our tasting rooms in Portland and in all that we do. Flights, teas on tap, single origin varietals and delicious blends, all brewed to perfection and made with a love of our craft. In addition, and only in Seoul, you can start your day with a tea smoothie - made fresh and from real ingredients. And what a way to start your day. Choose from a matcha avocado smoothie made with almond milk, mango, avocado and Japanese matcha, or a chai tea lassie made with Smith Masala Chai, Greek yogurt and peaches, or a bright and refreshing Northwest strawberry banana basil, made from our Red Nectar tea, whole strawberries, banana, fresh basil and rose bitters.
Before the café opened, I visited Seoul to taste our products, get to know and train the staff and assist with any challenges. I am so impressed with the café and the staff who have already become part of our family. If your travels take you to Seoul, you would be wise to stop in for a cup of tea. Tell Hosik we say hi.
- Tony Tellin, Head Teamaker