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Tea with Kevin Rose: Masala Chai, Samovar Breakfast Blend, Wuyi Oolong

Fresh baked breakfast scones and strong black tea go great together, and Kevin and I enjoy them as we  chat about how he got started with social media site He’s not running Digg any longer, but he’s still going strong in his love for tea, and, well on his way with his newest tech startup.

Note: the video is edited down to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 48 minute audio interview on iTunes.

Continue reading Tea with Kevin Rose: Masala Chai, Samovar Breakfast Blend, Wuyi Oolong

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May 31, 2011

Looking to replace coffee or that energy drink, our Sweet Yerba Mate is your answer. Feel energized and get in the zone with this South American delight.

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.

– Seneca

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May 30, 2011

Often the forgotten tea category, pu-erhs are the richest in taste and fullest in body. Our Maiden's Ecstacy is a great way to enter the wonderful world of pu-erhs.

Success should be measured by the yardstick of happiness; by your ability to remain in peaceful harmony with cosmic laws.

– Paramahansa Yogananda

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May 28, 2011

Chinese green tea, rolled into pearls and naturally scented with jasmine flowers. Infuse and watch this tea expand in your cup.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.

– Henry David Thoreau

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May 27, 2011

Ryokucha remixes the classic "brown rice" green tea, adding matcha powder to the already powerful Japanese sencha.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

– Harold Whitman

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May 26, 2011

Earl Grey, a classic way to start your day.

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And whoever this ‘Earl Grey’ fellow is, I’d like to have a word with him…

– Jean-Luc Picard: Star Trek, The Next Generation

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May 25, 2011

Also referred to as Bai Hao Yinzhen, Silver Needle is one of the most traditional and most expensive teas today. We've added sweet Osmanthus flowers to give this a signature Samovar taste.

Tea tempers the spirit and harmonizes the mind; dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness.

-Lu Yu: The Classic of Tea

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How to Brew with a Gaiwan

1) Hot water, gaiwan, & cup
1) Hot water, gaiwan, & cup

2) Add 1-2 tablespoons of tea to the gaiwan
2) Add 1-2 tablespoons of tea

3) Add hot water
3) Add hot water

4) Cover the gaiwan and let brew for 15-30 sec.
4) Cover and steep for 15-30 sec.

5) Pour with index finger on top
5) Pour with index finger on top

6) Enjoy. Then repeat.
6) Enjoy. Then repeat.

Here is how we like to use this gaiwan (start with these guidelines, and then experiment on your own):

* Pre-warm the cup by adding some hot water to it, and then discarding that water
* Brew the tea directly in the cup by adding 2-3 tbsp of dry leaves
* Awaken the leaves. For oolongs and puerhs, cover the leaves with some hot water, and then immediately discard that first “rinsed” infusion. Leave the lid on the rinsed leaves
* Lift the gaiwan to your nose and tilt the lid open about 1/2” to release the aroma of the awakened leaves. Take it in. Inhale again and again, savoring this intoxicating scent
* Now add some hot water to these leaves, paddle them once or twice with the lid, and then replace the lid to let them steep about 30 seconds
* Tilt the lid back slightly and either start sipping directly from the gaiwan, or, decant the brew into another cup. At the lounges we use the Lotus Teacups for decanting. The teacups are great because the white color highlights the color of the tea, and allow the brew to cool just quick enough.

Experiment with both the quantity of tea and brewing time to find what works best for each tea. As a general guideline we suggest using 2-3 tablespoons of tea, and steeping the tea for just 20-30 seconds on the first infusion, extending the steeping time for each subsequent infusion. This method of brewing allows you to infuse the same tea leaves many times over, each infusion yielding a new and different experience.

All the teaware shown here is available in our online shop:

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May 24, 2011

A scoop of matcha powder, add hot water, and whisk away. A frothy, energizing tea enjoyed in traditional Japanese culture.

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive disenchanted.

– Japanese Proverb

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May 23, 2011

A rooibos, chai blend that's been Dalai Lama approved. Be enlightened, drink Ocean of Wisdom.

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

– Dalai Lama XIV

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May 22, 2011

The earthy notes of Pu-erh combined with the sweet, spicy kick of orange and ginger, brew our Blood Orange for less than 5 seconds and experience the awakening energies of this blended treat.

Do you value life? Then waste not time, for that is the stuff of which life is made.

– Benjamin Franklin

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May 21, 2011

Royal Garland: An oolong that has similar taste characteristics to that of the white tea varietal, especially Bai Mu Dan

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.

– Ghandi

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May 20, 2011

Golden Phoenix is a tea not to be forgotten. The sweet honey and stonefruit notes will linger far after you take your first sip.

I’ve been to Hollywood, I’ve been to Redwood, I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold.

– Neil Young

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Linchpin Meetup

If it’s never been done before, even better. Every interaction is an opportunity to make a connection. It doesn’t matter if I’m always right, it matters that I’m always moving.

These are just a few of the Linchpin ideals spelled out by marketing guru, Seth Godin. On Wednesday night, a Meetup group came together at our Yerba Buena location to discuss his best-selling book, Linchpin. Meetup members ranged from Y-Combinator graduates and Google employees to graphic designers and professional dancers. Yet no matter their backgrounds, all had been captivated by Seth Godin’s message of creating change with positive, contagious energy. Continue reading Linchpin Meetup

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May 19, 2011

Houjicha is the one Japanese green tea that can be easily appreciated by the coffee enthusiast because of its full roasted aroma and taste.

The linchpin is an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen.

– Seth Godin: Linchpin

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May 18, 2011

Rooibos - An herbal treat from our South African friends, rich in anti-oxidants and caffeine free!

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

– Leonardo da Vinci

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May 17, 2011

So buttery. So good. Our QingXin represents the real artistry coming from Taiwanese oolongs these days.

In the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.

– Jim Collins

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May 16, 2011

Rich and buttery with sweet, leafy green notes, our Fukamushi Sencha is a great way to enter the world of fine Japanese green teas.

How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.

– Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

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Samovar as Change Agent


This is a guest post from Joshua J., as leader of our Samovar’s ecommerce strategy.We would love to hear any feedback you have.

We believe that connecting deeply to the present moment, to ourselves, and to others is good for all involved. We practice this way through the ritual joy of tea drinking. There are many paths to living a full and meaningful life, and our path is not for everyone. But every satisfied Samovarian is a living, breathing, drinking, proof that our message resonates. Continue reading Samovar as Change Agent

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Tea and Chocolate Pairing

Join me and Charles Chocolates founder Chuck Siegal as we dive deep into world class chocolate and how to taste it, how to discern good chocolate, and pairing it with our stellar teas. Learn about the finer details of what makes good chocolate so good with San Francisco entrepreneur Chuck as he joins me in sipping awsome tea, and learning all about how to taste: Terroire, melt-on-the-tongue technique,  pairing white chocolate with matcha and more.

Continue reading Tea and Chocolate Pairing