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While rain may be the liquid most often associated with Portland, more and more visitors are discovering its tasty teas. From loose-leaf to bagged, high-grade brews are pouring on the charm thanks to the efforts of several creative merchants.
Steven Smith TeamakerThe biggest name in town is Steve Smith, a tea maker of legendary proportions who founded both Stash Tea and Tazo Tea. More recently, Smith created a new line of high-quality, small-batch teas under the name Steven Smith Teamaker. At his small facility just west of the Pearl District, Smith and company develop, produce and package the line while inviting visitors to see it all in real time. Tea lovers can stop by the tasting room to enjoy a tea flight and learn more about the brews courtesy of savvy staffers.
Steven Smith Teamakerwww.smithtea.com
Tao of TeaOne of the real treats for tea lovers is visiting Tao of Tea, set within the tranquil landscape of Portland's Lan Su Chinese Garden. During the summer, a chado tea ceremony is performed there monthly. Tao of Tea serves primarily rare and other Chinese teas both at their location inside the garden and in their teahouse — the city’s oldest — in the hip Southeast Belmont neighborhood.
Tao of Teawww.taooftea.com
Jasmine Pearl Tea MerchantsJasmine Pearl Tea Merchants launched their company inspired by family histories and world travels. They sell their tea and blends wholesale, retail and online, and they have a fairly new tea shop in the Pearl District.
Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchantswww.thejasminepearl.com
Foxfire TeasFoxfire Teas is another relatively new company run by a husband and wife team in southeast Portland. While they don't offer sit-down service in their retail shop, they will make visitors a cup of tea to take with them (free with a $10 purchase). Their loose-leaf teas can be savored at over 65 local cafés, carts and restaurants.
Tea Chai TéPortland boasts a number of teahouses throughout the city such as Tea Chai Té, with locations on bustling Northwest 23rd St. in Nob Hill as well as a red caboose-style facility in the Sellwood neighborhood.
Tea Chai Téwww.teachaite.com
Townshend’s Tea CompanyAt Townshend’s Tea Company, with locations on Alberta and Division streets, visitors can sample fine teas from around the world as well as a beverage called Brew Dr. Kombucha. Made with teas, medicinal herbs and organic sugar and often used for its purported health benefits, this fermented drink is quickly developing a following.
Townshend’s Tea Companywww.townshendstea.com