As the Northwest chill begins to settle in for the season, planners in Portland, Oregon, may want to consider an alternative to wine or beer tasting as a post-meeting activity—tea tasting. You may just find that it’s your group’s, well, cup of tea.

“We sample teas in much the same way as one would experience a beer or wine flight,” says Sara Kaufman, tasting room manager for Smith Teamaker. “Our guests are encouraged to choose their own teas or they can allow our teamakers to lead the way for them.”

Smith Teamaker was founded in 2009 by the late Steven Smith who also founded the tea companies Tazo and Stash. With two teahouse locations in Portland and a café in Seoul, South Korea, these tea-tasting hubs are famous for their tap teas, tea lattes and tea flights.

The tea sampling process at Smith Teamaker involves brewing four teas side by side and serving them lightest to richest. “We have a series of tour groups that pass through our tasting rooms that we do group tastings for, but most of our tastings are done in smaller groups of one to four people,” says Kaufman. 

The headquarters location in the Central Eastside Industrial District features 970 square feet of space, accommodating as many as 40 people. The Northwest Thurman Street location was once an old blacksmith shop. It has conference rooms that accommodate eight people seated and 12 people standing. Both locations provide views of the tea production spaces, making it easy for guests to observe the tea being made while simultaneously enjoying their beverages. smithtea.com 

TED’s five-year tenure in the Northwest has been filled with innovation, lessons and surprises. 

 

When looking for inventive event ideas or fascinating speakers, planners should turn to the annual event that continues to shake up the industry.