Biodegradable tea sachets used by Smith Teamaker.

Ifanyi Bell / OPB

What does it take to brew the perfect cup of tea? To get some ideas, OPB’s Dave Miller visited the Smith Teamaker Headquarters in NW Portland for a taste test.

Portland teamaker Steven Smith is responsible for some of the most recognizable labels in the business, including both Stash Tea and Tazo Tea. (Starbucks bought Tazo from Smith in 2006.)

After taking some time away from the industry, the call of creating the perfect cup inspired Steven to develop his new Steven Smith Teamaker label.

Dave Miller interviewed Steven about his experiences as a longtime teamaker for an episode of The Speakeasy.  Then Tony Tellin, tea-lover and jack of all trades at Smith Teamaker, took Dave on a “sipping tour,” sampling the best teas from China to India.

Just like wine tasting, tea tasting is serious business: