The new Smith Teamaker tasting room in Portland’s industrial Eastside is truly an ode to the legacy of its founder, Steven Smith, who passed away in the spring of 2015. The 13,000-square-foot facility is a classroom for tea-drinkers ready to take the next step, with palate-expanding tea flights, traditional Chinese tea ceremonies, and a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes process of professional blending.
While the original tasting room in Northwest is still in action, the new location, set across the street from the brand new House Spirits distillery and the Olympic Mills building, offers expanded seating for up to thirty patrons seeking expertly blended brews.
Education takes priority here: plush leather chairs and all the required reading (tea encyclopedias, for example) are stacked around a smoldering fireplace as soft light filters in through two huge garage doors. Visitors quickly learn the meaning of words like “dandy” (not what you think) and “fussbudget”—a cranky, obsessive head tea maker. If you’re looking for a hands-on lesson, the “tea-ristas” will deconstruct Smith’s notable blends, letting you ruminate over each individual ingredient.
In addition to Smith’s tea lattes, kegged sparkling teas, and tea flights, the new location offers an interactive tea experience with its gong fu tea grate, allowing for participation in a traditional Chinese brewing ceremony. Smith Teamaker opens to the public on December 2.
Steven Smith Teamaker
110 SE Washington St.
Mon-Fri: 9 am to 5 pm
Sat: 11 am to 5 pm