The Steven Smith Teamaker shop is one of my favorite places to go on a rainy afternoon like this one. It is, for me, the best tea I’ve ever had. Now the Wall Street Journal has taken notice, in an article called “The All-Star Alchemist of Top-Shelf Tea”. Some interesting quotes –
Quality leaves are essential to good tea, but so too are the expertise and imagination of the person creating the blends, said tea-expert James Norwood Pratt, author of the definitive “Tea Dictionary.” “In no generation in the past 5,000 years have we had more than a few people like Steven Smith. He makes astonishingly good blends,” Mr. Pratt said.
…Sometimes Mr. Smith tastes the ingredients individually and then mixes them with spoonfuls of tea, paying attention to how the look and smell changes when the tea is steeped, or infused in water. He writes down the formulas in a black notebook as he goes. Other times, when he’s on a plane or waiting in his car at a gas station, he comes up with the formulas in his head and writes them down, specifying how many grams or drops, without tasting them until they’re blended. He tries to avoid ingredients that taste and smell perfumed—oily and overly floral—and draws a distinction between herbs that taste “vegetative” and those that taste “brothy.”
If you haven’t been to Steven Smith Tea, which is right next door to the NW Olympic Provisions, you should. Nice people and great tea – it is one of my “must go” places when visitors come from out-of-town. We sat down and did an extensive interview with Steven here.
You can read the entire article here [membership required]