Steven Smith Tea, Portland, Oregon

What the heck, we were already here for a class. So after class, we trotted over to the Steven Smith Tea Shop, in the northwest part of Portland, Oregon. Small and intimate, it was a welcoming stop after spending two hours and three million dollars at Powell’s Bookstore, the greatest bookstore in the world for book lovers.  This, of course, is only my opinion, but it is my blog…

We sat at the tea bar, and smelled several teas before deciding on the four that we sampled in a tasting session called “A Flight of Teas”. The four that we chose were  White Petal, Jasmine Pearl, Yunnan, and Big Hibiscus: white, green, black, and an herbal tea. From the subtle and delicate white tea to the big flavor of herbal hibiscus, it was quite the treat. White Petal was soft, whispery, and sweet while the Jasmine Pearl (green) was drier, with a little more astringency. I can drink either all day. The Yunnan (black) seemed uninteresting to me, and the Big Hibiscus was overflowing with flavor. Anything with hibiscus and ginger has my vote. We tasted one more: Bungalow, a first and second flush organic Darjeeling black tea. It was smooth and almost buttery with a nice aftertaste. It’s not your grandmother’s tea.

I appreciated the idea of tasting four teas at once, and the price was right: $8. It was enough tea for the both of us. Steven Smith has a brilliant idea in four-tea tasting, and this is a great way to sample various teas without having to commit to buying quantities of tea you may not like once you get them home. Sometimes tea smells wonderful, and the taste doesn’t match. It’s somehow less; too astringent, cloyingly sweet, overly smoky. 

Other tea establishments might consider a small sampling to educate the public about tea, and encourage novelty in tea tasting. Do you really need to buy the same tea time after time, day in and day out? It’s monotonous, just so you know.

If you are passing through Portland, or have some reason to be there, stop by Steven Smith Tea Shop. It isn’t far from the Pearl District, and there’s parking. I love that. 

Steven Smith Tea, 1626 NW Thurman St, Portland, Oregon, 1-800-624-9531.

It you are in Seattle, you can find Steven Smith Teas at the Perennial Tea Room, 1910 Post Alley, Seattle, Wa, 1-206-448-4054.

Be adventuresome. Life is too short to be boring!