Steven Smith Teamaker

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Popular Teaware from Steven Smith Teamaker

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Recent Tasting Notes

78

Thanks to getanzt for this one! This is tart and a bit interesting. It has a little bit of spice and a tartness that isn’t overly sour. I drank this cold. Some sips are more intriguing than others. I find myself wavering between wishing for future cups and finding this unremarkable.

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70

From a TTB. This one doesn’t really stand out from other breakfast blends. I found it decently strong the first time I had it, but the second time, I found it a little thin and lacking. It wasn’t bad, but not exciting, just a plain unexceptional tea.

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57

Always a sucker for a dessert flavored tea, I initially balked at the price, but went for it in the last iteration because this flavor seems to sell out and isn’t always available. The scent of the dry leaf (and even while brewing) is very butter-forward. Like, seriously butter. A little vanilla sweetness is detectible as well. But upon tasing the brew, it’s very underwhelming. Heavy butter scent, super mild butter and vanilla taste. Really subtle. I may try brewing longer next time, because I feel confident that I did not underleaf.

Here’s the weird thing: I decided to have this tea after dinner with a couple of gingersnap cookies leftover from when I made a peach tart earlier in the summer. For whatever reason, taking a small bite of the cookie and then a sip of tea made it really delicious! Odd, since I didn’t think it would go together, but there’s an almost toffee-like aspect to the cookie that not only compliments but greatly enhances the dessert flavor of this tea. Go figure. So, a win, I guess? It was very enjoyable with the cookies, but the milky oolong base of this tea is a no-show.

Flavors: Butter, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

Grabbed from a TTB. The black tea had decent depth, but I’m not a fan of the inclusion of puerh here because I don’t personally love that fishy profile, and the flavor is pretty strong. It’s not strong enough to make me stop drinking, but I certainly wouldn’t choose to have it again.

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100

I had been wanting to try out this blend for quite some time, and finally decided to take the plunge.

I ordered the sachets, as I know from past Smith Teamaker experiences that I really like their little box of neatly organized sachets. I was very annoyed to have received a box of 15 teabags, not individually packaged (the other box I ordered came in the traditional packaging and the website doesn’t state that they aren’t individually packaged like the rest of their products). This is a first world problem, I realize. But, having such a large collection makes it hard to drink through things quickly, and having a bunch of unwrapped teabags isn’t ideal for longterm flavor preservation.

That annoyance aside- this tea is good. Really good. Annoyingly good.

This is the creamiest, most delicious bowl of vanilla ice cream you’ve ever had. It’s a milk oolong cranked to 1000.

Ugh, it’s been a long time that I drank a new tea that I got this excited about.

Flavors: Cream, Milk, Rice Pudding, Vanilla

derk

“Ugh, it’s been a long time that I drank a new tea that I got this excited about.”

Feel that, maybe for a different reason than you. I don’t often have the freshest tea anymore due to my cupboard size.

Good to see you’ve found a tea that sparked joy!

AJRimmer

I always throw unwrapped tea bags into old tea tins to keep them fresh longer!

Martin Bednář

I do like individually packaged tea bags for two reasons. First of all, I collect them. Secondly, they keep tea fresher for longer time, as it was mentioned already. So win-win for me.

ashmanra

I have tiny zip top baggies I bought in a craft store but now can only find on Amazon. You could put them in those, plus they are handy for swaps or carrying about four teaspoons of loose leaf tea with you.

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Early in my tea journey I didn’t like Breakfast Blends, but I am warming to them now.
This is fairly nice. Strong, but not so strong that it affects the taste. Its just the sort of gentle hand I like to ease me into a morning.
I rarely have tea with milk or sugar in it, but i think it would taste really nice with this tea. Maybe I’ll have to try it.

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70

This needs a short steep so it doesn’t get too murky. It’s not the best mint, just sort of average. Cold and sweetened, it’s enjoyable, but not the freshest or most delicious. I still wouldn’t turn down a cup!

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69

Another from the TTB. I taste a lot of different herbal ingredients here. The strongest one is definitely mint, but I sense something savory too – maybe the pepper. Everything combines in an okay way, though it’s not great. There’s just a lot going on. It’s best cold. There’s something that lingers – maybe the licorice and/or echinacea.

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This one continues to be good. The blend borders on grassy from the other green tea bases, so I am following my two to three minute rule with it. I’m still not sure what to rate it. Flavoring and combo of flavors is in the 90s because it highlights what I like about Green teas. None of the flowers clash, and it remains heady and fruity without cloy. I’m going to have to pick it apart some time.

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I only have 5 bags left. My mom, girlfriend and I have gone through this one fast. Ordered more impulsively, but it’s officially a top tea from Steven Smith.

Paired incredibly well with a peach bourbon garlic butter trout I broiled.

eastkyteaguy

It has long been my opinion that Steven Smith Teamaker handles jasmine teas exceptionally well.

Daylon R Thomas

I almost bulk ordered their standard jasmine from a barista wholesaler.

Daylon R Thomas

The odd thing is that the jasmine is not the most forward of the flavors. It serves more as a body for the nectarine flavor.

Leafhopper

Sounds like a great pairing! I can’t remember when I last had a jasmine tea and may have to rectify that.

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I didn’t expect this one to be a hit. I expected good and unique. Instead, it’s a tea on the levels of good as Rose City Genmaicha. The smell is incredible, fruity and floral with some household freshening spice hints. Having cardamom and ginger with a jasmine tea would probably clash badly, but the flavoring, rose, and osmanthus smooth this out. I actually didn’t really taste the jasmine that much. First brew is primarily jasmine, nectarine, and rose. As it cools, the ginger is a little more prominent with the osmanthus. Second steep was more cardamom, but it’s not dominating. It enhances the rose and nectarine in a skittles like effect. Got it to the third cup, more ginger. Good hot or cooled way down.

So yeah, in short, it tastes like skittles. Taste the rainbow this spring. I will likely down this soon.

Flavors: Candy, Cardamom, Floral, Ginger, Green, Jasmine, Nectar, Nectarine, Osmanthus, Rose, Smooth, Sweet

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87

Finally rating it. Since I opened the bag and just let the leaves spread around the tin, the flavor and aroma has been far more forward. Opening up the tin now smells like pineapple sage and cream next to a bundle of lilacs. Brewing it in my Eclipse also improves the flavor significantly leaning harder into pineapple overall than just the heavy amounts of soft lilac and cream. It’s sweet enough to use the condensed milk description I hoped for.

Overall, I think this tea could replace a lot of the Qin Xin’s I buy for a slightly cheaper price. I’m glad that Steven Smith opted this tea to be a regular on the lineup instead of their Alishan because I think this tea is superior. It doesn’t quite beat out my favorite Lishans or Shan Lin Xis, but it’s up there.

I was very tempted to rate it 90, but I think 87 is fair. This is a really good 4 grams western or 3-5 grams grandpa/tumbler tea, but it’s been too soft for me gong fu. It’s easy for me to over or under-leaf it causing an overly soft or overly grassy session, which I know is an error on my part, but I get more of the lilac gong fu and don’t get pineapple until later in the session. Western and grandpa makes all the flavors more forward. I’d still suggest gong fu to people trying to look for dimension because it does change in very subtle ways, but the profile wasn’t as layered as it was with longer steeping times. Thus, it loses a little bit of points gong fu.

Easily, this tea is one of my favorite pure teas from Steven Smith. I’m very tempted to refill my tin in the future. We’ll see how my budget is.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 45 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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87

Backlog and current log. Hot tumbler brew.

Decent, went lighter on the leaf around 3-4 grams ish. Butter, herbs, lilac after about 5 minutes. More florals and green flavors later, edging on pineapple skin. The fruit flavors did not develop until about 10 minutes in. I think it was a little too hot. I swear the metal raised the temperature in the tumbler, but it gote sweeter as it sat. I’m re-brewing the leftover leaves in a regular kyusu since they are open and smell fresh and fruity. I hope it gets something good…

And yes. WAY fruitier notes. Still soft green oolong, but clear lilac pineapple, and a little bit of creamy mango in texture. Not super forward, though more what I like. Maybe I should do longer steeps western with less grams?

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87

Surprise-it’s been more flavorful as a coldbrew. I stuck some, maybe 3-4 grams or more in my bamboo tumbler and let it sit and steep as I worked today. First time after about an hour it was creamier and sweeter than when I had it hot. It had the Qin XIn texture and pineapple skin floral flavor, but the mouthfeel was fuller cold. Second time I refilled my bottle, and more cream. It was subdued, but then after about 10ish minutes, diffused faster than the first one. Lilac was prominent in a soft green edamame-ish body, and then a sweeter finish sneaking up. The drips of remaining water at the bottom soaked more juices from the tea basket/strainer, and were heavy with pineapple taste and acidity, almost being a nice ripe flavor. I decided for another go.

After an hour steeping…not much. Darn. Either way, there’s improvements. I will have to do another tumbler test with the tea but with less leaf and cooler than 185 F water to see how it does.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Green Melons, Pineapple, Snow Peas, Soft, Soybean

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87

Surprisingly pleasant note: the tea reeaally works tumbler style. The water was a little too hot to drink, so I actually poured what I had in another cup. Same notes, but balanced and evenly layered. Beginning lilac, pineapple, cream, and finishing the typical qin xin grass milk taste. I did it again, let it sit well over 5 minutes, cooled down and….not astringent. Or bland. OR BITTER. Just smooth pineapple, creamy milk in the roof of the mouth, grass and fuller texture. I am very happy with it so far. It’s not super complex or as dramatic as my other Qin Xins, but we’ll see how this tea does in other methods.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Grass, Lemongrass, Milk, Pineapple

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87

I’ve wanted to try this one since Oolong Owl posted about a few years ago either at a World Tea Expo or a West Coast One. It’s also a floral fruity pineapple kind of oolong, so up my alley. I originally didn’t buy it as a limited tea because they were charging close to $40 for two oz originally, maybe less, but too much for something I could get cheaper. This time, I got it at about $27 for 3.5 oz and a tin with a new impressive seasonal release.

I gong fu’d it, and had trouble with the first steeps. 10, 20, 20, 10, 15,20, 25, 45, 55, 65 were the brews with 7 grams. Initial 10 sec rinse was creamy, milky, floral, and lilac leaning, though extremely soft like a Jin Xuan. Second was much the same, but third was floral, bordering on bitter, but again soft. Pineapple crept in profile, then bloomed in steep four making the tea more fruity and Qin Xin like as rebrewed it.

I am impressed with what the tea was able to do and has its Taiwanese flavor, but more of a Chinese tea’s texture. Since I had to coax the leaves, it was not quite as forward as I hoped. I don’t think I’ll have trouble figuring it out. I’m not sure if I’d get a full 3.5 oz again, but I won’t mind having it around nor a tin I can store my other oolongs in.

Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Grass, Green, Lilac, Pineapple, Soft

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62

Mastress Alita’s Monthly Sipdown Challenge: a tea that includes a color in its name
Sipdown 1/37

This is okay. Really, really strong lavender with just a touch of fruitiness against the black base.

Flavors: Black Currant, Lavender

getanzt

Hi there! I was wondering if you might be interested in swapping teas? There are several I am interested in from your cupboard and I see you have participated in past tea swaps so I wanted to see if you might be interested. Please feel free to send me a message if you are. :)

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Mastress Alita’s Monthly Sipdown Challenge: a sleepytime tea

Sipdown 4/29

Not really sure why I bought this…because this isn’t really something I would drink. It basically tastes like chamomile with a tiny bit of lemon myrtle. Not getting any of the floral qualities of the rose or linden flowers. Meh.

Flavors: Chamomile

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80

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge January 2022: A Tea with Bean Notes

Another tea bag unearthed during the Great Congestion. I consider this quite the find and don’t know where it could’ve possibly come from. Back when I first started venturing more into tea I really wanted to try this tea company, and this tea in particular. Don’t ask me why. I don’t believe they ship to Canada, however.

Before steeping, it was not promising – a generously filled satchet with some brown looking, sour smelling, long-leafed tea. How old is this thing? Add water and the leaf remembers it’s green and gives off a wonderful lemon-hued butter veggie aroma. To taste, it has notes found in other Chinese green and white teas (ie – Silver Needle, Dragon Well): lemon, sesame, green beans, spinach (you know how spinach has that milky calcium quality?), melon. It’s smooth, nearing cream and butter.

Yeah, this is a treasure in a tea bag.

Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Lemon, Melon, Nutty, Peas, Sesame, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML
Evol Ving Ness

This tea company has also been on my wanted list. Maybe one day.

CrowKettle

I made a mock order and they do ship to Canada – for $20.

I think I may wait to visit Portland directly (or for a particularly weak-willed evening).

Mastress Alita

I went to Portland in 2019 for the PDX Tea Fest and visited one of their local stores while there. I was a bit sad that even visiting them directly, other than ordering just a cup of tea, I still couldn’t get a bag of loose leaf smaller than 4 oz (which is just too big for me).

Daylon R Thomas

They have some unique blends like Rose City Genmaicha and a good Jasmine, but I think they are a bit overpriced. The company has become especially steep with their limited edition blends, and there are some quality loose leaf that you can get elsewhere for cheaper.

CrowKettle

The lack of size selection and generally high prices is further exacerbated on my end by the exchange rate and shipping costs.

The Rose City Genmaicha and Ice Cream Oolong are big temptations for me but, even with a 10% coupon and this delicious mystery sample, I think I’ll pass for the time being (to be revisited at a time when the tea cupboard is smaller and bank account is fuller).

Evol Ving Ness

All of those factors come out to a firm no. At least for now.

Kittenna

Ice cream oolong?!

Daylon R Thomas

They call it Ice Cream Royale. The original blend had jasmine with Jin Xuan, salt, a lot of vanilla, sugar, and some amaretto. The modern one uses chamomile. It’s a brilliant blend, but they charge close to $2 or more a sachet, which is insane.

Evol Ving Ness

That one sounds tantalizing, but with all the prohibitive factors, especially for us in Canada, still a firm no.

CrowKettle

If I ever cave and order online or pick some up while visiting Portland I’ll buy 4oz and share it. XD

Evol Ving Ness

I adore you for even the thought of it. It doesn’t actually have to happen. :)

Kittenna

Ugh, so tempting! One day. If I could get one sachet, I’d be cool with paying $2 or so for it. I mean, I’ve paid nearly $7 for drinks from Starbucks before!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Kittena, for bringing logic to the tea math.

CrowKettle

Yeah, it’s just within the realm of what I’m willing to pay for tea. A coupon would sweeten the deal, but I don’t want to pay shipping on top of it if possible (US free shipping threshold is a low $39 so if I can arrange a border PO in WA that would be fine).

I don’t mind buying 3.5oz – 4oz as either as long as my cupboard is emptier and I have possible people to share it with (stale tea is sad tea). Right now my cupboard is full from DF’s 4oz Christmas splurge, and some reaaally old teas so I’m looking at spring lol.

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83

Another Christmas Giftie to try.

I have to say I really like this one; which is good because I was given a large box of it! I taste rose, grapefruit, and chamomile. I think I might add this to the list to purchase when they release the 2022 batch.

Flavors: Chamomile, Grapefruit, Rose

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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88

After a hectic Christmas celebration, I thought this would be a “good morning” tea. A friend had dropped off a tea gift bag in the middle of the night including this one. She loves this brand of tea and introduced them to me.

The tea bag is huge and I’ll remember that for my next cup and brew a pot instead. Enjoyed while watching children decide which Xmas gift to break open for the day.

A good, smooth, and strong black tea. Might be a new favorite black tea for me.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec
gmathis

I remember liking this one. We don’t have many Steven Smith retail options around here, so I haven’t seen it on shelves in ages.

Mastress Alita

I’m a fan of SST. This one is one of my favorite “breakfast” style teas. I also love their Earl Grey, which has currant notes to me.

Jen vB

The same friend gifted me some Earl Grey! Can’t wait to try it tomorrow!

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Last week it was almost summer weather, but we’ve had a cold snap in the last few days, and I could not be happier.
I’ve pulled out this to sip down, as it feels more like a “cold weather” tea to me, so it feels right.
Ah, to be snuggled with a cup of tea. My happiest of happy places.

gmathis

Sounds like we’ve swapped weather patterns. We’ve gone from cold/stormy/rainy to BAM! Heat! This week, I’m grabbing anything that will ice down in my office, whose HVAC thermostat is set to “Russian roulette.” This week, it’s been a sauna.

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Oh, it’s been a crazy few weeks. I’ve been in a one night only play, I’ve held down my office during the busiest season of the year, my boss has taken a week long vacation immedietly after, and now, his MIL has covid, so what this week will look like yet.
Ooof. Tea to the rescue?
I hope she’s ok, and my boss is ok, and his small child is ok.
Eeeesh.

gmathis

I admire your fortitude! KPO! (Which, as I understand it, was short for keep plodding on and was how Winston Churchill bucked up his clerical staff in times of trouble.)

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