• Smith Teamaker Offers Group Samplings

    POSTED October 24, 2017

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 

The CDC defines close contact as within six feet or less, for 15 minutes or more with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. At gatherings of many kinds, contact tracing is used to trace the people that someone has come into contact with, before they learn that they have tested positive. This allows the people that the sick person came into contact with to be aware of the situation, and to make health-informed choices. 


In 2020, Houston First Corp. (HFC) reported that the city was slated to host 252 meetings and 611,000 room nights. By March 14, the Bayou City had already hosted 115 conventions and 137,400 room nights. Then the pandemic hit, and meetings and events across the country came to a screeching halt.

We asked Michael Heckman, acting president and CEO of Houston First Corp. (HFC) how the health crisis has influenced the organization’s business model moving forward.


Chances are, you won’t know you’re living through history until it’s too late. It’s already happening. A chain reaction has been set in motion and the ground has begun to slide beneath your feet.

This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. As a global pandemic sent the world reeling, planners were left grasping for footholds as the event industry was brought to a standstill, and many of the most fundamental elements of live meetings and events were cast in a new light.