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jetBlue Airways Raves About the Samovar Tea Lounge

jetBlue Raves About Samovar Tea LoungeRestaurant Review: Samovar Tea Lounge

By Eliza Sarasohn
December 07, 2009

“At its three locations around the city, Samovar Tea Lounge has mastered what many restaurants aspire to but which few achieve. More than just a business, it’s a lifestyle. Denizens here aren’t just cooks, waiters, baristas, and regulars — they’re  ‘Ambassadors’ on a ‘mission to create peace through tea.’

“Samovar’s approach involves sourcing small batch, organic teas at fair trade prices from artisan family farmers, educating the public on the benefits of tea, and promoting traditional tea culture through the restaurants, events, and extensive Web site, While the globally-inspired menu offers choices from dinner to brunch, small plates to dessert, the star is the tea, which Samovar implores you “sip slowly, filling you with calm and vitality.”

Read More:

Media Contact:
Jesse Cutler, Samovar: (415) 655-3431 / [email protected]

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Samovar in SF Chronicle’s Affordable Holiday Gift Guide

SFGate Mentions Samovar TeaMerry & Bright

December 4, 2009

In a year when luxuries have to come with small price tags, the San Francisco Chronicle gives Samovar Teas a nod in their affordable gift guide:

Photo by Mike Kepka / The SF Chronicle
Give the Gift of Samovar Russian Blend! (Photo by Mike Kepka, SF Chronicle)

“No gifts, no glory — yes, it’s that time of year. The quest for lasting value made our holiday shopping different this year. Quality trumped quantity, an old-fashioned notion that’s new again and, when we did the math, affordable. We took our Champagne-tastes and found indulgences, treats and all kinds of surprises on a ginger ale budget. The challenge made us creative. We’re delighted with the high-low mix. And as you wrap your selections, we know you’ll be basking in the giver’s happy glow.”

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NY Times Gift Guide Features Samovar Teas!

The Hawaii-Grown Tea Collection
The Hawaii-Grown Tea Collection as Featured in the New York Times Gift Guide

Florence Fabricant of the New York Times picks Samovar’s Hawaii- Grown Teas for the Times’ holiday gift guide!

“Hawaiian Tea –  Hawaii is known for its Kona coffee, but now serious commercial growers are cultivating high-quality teas. Tea Hawaii’s black tea has a winy richness, and its oolong is layered with subtle earthiness. Neither is bitter. Hawaii teas can be ordered from in San Francisco, for $25 an ounce.”

Read more at The New York Times or check out the exquisite Hawaii- Grown Teas.

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Live Music and Sunday Brunch with adeptsect at Samovar Yerba Buena

adeptsect blends worldly beats at Samovar this SundayJoin us for a special brunch this coming Sunday at Samovar Yerba Buena as we welcome the worldly sweet sounds of adeptsect.

adeptsect(all lowercase) aka Aden Liggett will be steeping an aural blend of downtempo and world elements to delight the senses.

adeptsect is originally from Austin TX and now calls the East Bay home.  He currently runs and owns a small Oakland studio where he spends most of his time mixing and producing his music.  He’s hard at work on his first self-titled EP, which is slated for release on January 1st and will be available for digital download at the I-Tunes music store.

It will be a fantastic afternoon of live music, amazing teas, and delicious Samovar brunch!

Sunday brunch with adeptsect
When: Sunday, November 15, 2009
Time: Live music 1 pm – 3 pm.  Brunch and other great food all day.
Where: Samovar’s Yerba Buena location
730 Howard Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)?San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 227-9400

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Live Music & Sunday Brunch: Jef Stott of Six Degrees Records Performs at Samovar Yerba Buena

Jef Stot brings worldly sounds to Samovar during Sunday Brunch,
Jef Stott brings worldly sounds to Samovar during Sunday Brunch.

Join us for a special brunch this coming Sunday at Samovar Yerba Buena as we welcome the deep and spirited sounds of Six Degrees recording artist Jef Stott.

Jef Stott has consistently been at the forefront of the International Global Electronica movement for over a decade as a composer/performer and DJ.  His DJ sets stylistically span the globe with sonorities from Arabia, Africa, South Asia and Northern Africa.

Stott will have with him an arabic stringed instrument called an oud(pron.ood) which he will play while mixing sounds of his own, and fellow six degrees artists’.

It will be a fantastic afternoon of live music, amazing teas, and delicious Samovar brunch!

six degreesDetails:
Sunday Brunch with Six Degrees recording artist Jef Stott
When: Sunday, October 25, 2009
Time: live music 1 pm – 3 pm.  Brunch all Day.
Where: Samovar’s Yerba Buena location
730 Howard Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)?San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 227-9400

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Fair Trada Gala: Celebrate Fair Trade Month

Fair Trade Gala: Samovar Yerba Buena- October 29, 2009In celebration of fair trade month (October 2009), Samovar Tea Lounge will host a special Fair Trade Gala on Thursday, October 29, 2009 at their Yerba Buena location (730 Howard Street, San Francisco, 415-227-9400).

Please join the Samovar Team, and several game-changing Fair Trade folks, for a fun and informative Q&A. Speakers will represent all facets of the Fair Trade movement from suppliers, to certifiers, to retailers, and farmers.

The following companies will offer samples of their exceptional fair trade products: Alter Eco Olive Oil, Frontier Herbs and Spices, La Yapa Quinoa, Tcho Chocolate, Swoonbeams Chocolate, and others. The Fair Trade Gala marks the launch of Samovar’s line of Fair Trade Teas. Tastings of our latest line will be available as well as other Samovar favorites. Sweet and savory snacks will also be provided.

Speakers include executives from the Fair Trade Certifying organization TransFair, amongst other trailblazers in the Fair Trade movement.

Tickets are $10. Pre-order tickets are available for purchase from Samovar’s Yerba Buena location (415-227-9400).

The Fair Trade Gala
When: Thursday, October 29, 2009
Time: 7 pm – 9 pm
Where: Samovar’s Yerba Buena location
730 Howard Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)?San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 227-9400

Cost: $10.

Fair Trade Month Official Website:

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Africa Comes to Samovar

Joanne Jorissen and new life
Joanne Jorissen and new life

Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley will host an evening of African tea and a discussion with Joanne Jorissen, a midwife in Africa and founder of African Mothers Health Initiative.

An award-winning short documentary on her work in Malawi, Africa will be shown, and you will have an opportunity to try some rare handcrafted African teas (voluntary donations for tea will go to Joanne’s organization, African Mothers’ Health Initiative).

You are welcome to have dinner while listening to Joanne speak of her travels, work, and commitment to change through the African Mothers’ Health Initiative.  If you can’t make the event, please visit her website:

When: Monday, October 19, 2009
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley
297 Page Street @ Laguna
San Francisco

Phone: (415) 861-0303

The event is open to the public and free of charge.

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Celebrating 800 Years of Matcha!

matchabowltea600x399World renowned 16th generation tea master, Mr. Kazunori Handa, is coming to the Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco to share his life’s knowledge of Japanese Matcha tea.

When: Friday, October 9, 2009,  3:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: Samovar Tea Lounge (Hayes Valley location)

297 Page Street (@ Laguna Street)
San Francisco,CA 94102
Phone: (415) 861-0303

Admission: Free!

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Blackbook Magazine Highlights Samovar


San Francisco: Top 10 Eggs Not for Breakfast
by Katie Robbins
October 6, 2009

Samovar Tea Lounge (The Castro)

“This bastion of relaxation pays homage to the tea rituals of many great chai-centric societies, including a classic English service, a Moorish medley, and a Chinese tea tasting. If your hot beverage mood is steering you to Russia with love, then the house-blend black tea goes brilliantly with Samovar’s devilled eggs, which takes the traditional Ruskie whole wheat blini topped with caviar and egg yolk and inverts it, instead stuffing the egg with caviar and serving alongside wheat crackers.”

Media Contact:
Jesse Cutler, Samovar: (415) 655-3431 / [email protected]

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Samovar $10 Weekday Lunch Special

blog lunchNourish yourself and release financial tension with tea at Samovar.

Every single weekday:


Enjoy our lunch special for $10. Tax included!

Fill your belly and sooth your soul with: soup, salad, 1/2 sandwich (grilled tofu, or turkey) and, of course…tea (Ryokucha green tea, Earl Grey black tea or Ocean of Wisdom herbal infusion)! That’s the Samovar Lunch Special.

Down with the slumping economy and up with tea!

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S.F. Business Times Reports: Samovar Sees the Green in Tea

Jesse at Samovar Yerba Buena - Photo Credit: Spencer Brown
Jesse at Samovar Yerba Buena - Photo Credit: Spencer Brown

San Francisco tea lounge opens third site in Hayes Valley, boosts web site
San Francisco Business Times – by Elizabeth Rauber

September 18, 2009

The United States has never had much of a tea culture, but Jesse Jacobs thinks that a change is brewing.

Jacobs is the owner of Samovar, a chain of three San Francisco tea lounges and an online tea emporium that emphasizes artisan, fair trade, organic teas grown at small farms around the world.

Already, Samovar has grown revenue to $2.3 million in 2008, more than doubling 2006’s $1.1 million in revenue. Jacobs projects 2009 revenue to hit $2.8 million, due in part to the addition, eight months ago, of the third Samovar location in Hayes Valley.The newest site follows the original Mission-Castro location, opened in 2001, and the Yerba Buena Gardens lounge, opened in 2006.

Samovar’s web site allows customers to buy tea and “tea gear” and serves up information about different teas and how to brew them. In 2009, Samovar’s revenue from the web site increased 500 percent over 2008’s revenue from the web site.

Media Contact:
Jesse Cutler, Samovar: (415) 655-3431 / [email protected]

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Samurai and Tea

the humble tea bowl

Walking amongst the weaponry, armor, formal attire and musical instruments at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum on a recent weekend, I was delighted to find that the “Lords of the Samurai” exhibit included not only swords and masks, but also ornate utensils used in 16th century tea rituals. It turns out Japanese generals rewarded success on the battlefield not only with land or a higher rank but with prized utensils for tea ceremony! A plaque next to a lacquered wood tea container dated 1615 and decorated with Mother of Pearl and gold powder explained, “There was a time when a single tea utensil could be valued as highly as the land compromising an entire province.”

Inspired by the efforts of the Samurai to balance military strength with a thorough knowledge of art, literature and tea, I realized they were far more than professional warriors. Pausing to take in a humble looking tea bowl displayed next to a case of swords, the exhibit stirred me to consider the dualities of my own life, my own embrace or aversion to the coarse and refined.

Continue reading Samurai and Tea

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How to Make Tea Ice Cream


Samovar Masala Chai Ice Cream- To Die For!!!If you’re reading this, you probably love tea. Unless you hate sweets or cold things, you probably love ice cream. So… how about tea ice cream?

We’re not talking about some cheaply made, overly sweet stuff you paid too much for just because it’s a frozen, imported product. I’m talking about making the good stuff at home. It’s about as easy as making ice cream ever is, but the effort is oh-so-very worth it.

How to Make Tea Ice Cream

1. Select your tea. Anything that’s good as a tea latte is good as an ice cream. Some others will work, too.

2. Select an ice cream recipe as a base. * Vanilla ice cream recipes are the simplest to alter. If you want to get more creative with it, you can select a more complex flavor that pairs with your tea, like strawberry for Nishi Sencha Green Tea or chocolate for English Breakfast Black Tea.

3. Warm your cream or non-dairy alternative to your tea’s brewing temperature.

4. Infuse 3-4 teaspoons of tea in your cream or non-dairy cream for about 5 minutes.

5. Strain and chill.

6. Make the ice cream according to your recipe, replacing the cream/non-dairy alternative with your creamy tea infusion. Consider making it with slightly less sweetener and flavor (vanilla extract, cocoa powder, etc.) than the recipe calls for – it will get extra flavor from the tea.


Ice Cream Mix-Ins

If you want to get more creative with tea ice cream, you can add ingredients to the infusion or you can add mix-ins to your ice cream once it’s semi-solid. Try infusing organic rose petals with Samovar Moorish Mint or orange zest with Samovar Breakfast Blend.

For mix-ins, try crystallized ginger bits with Samovar Masala Chai, or fruit jam mixed into Tart Peach Black Tea ice cream just before it’s done.

If all of this sounds like a dream to you, but you have the feeling you’ll never have time to actually do it–not a problem! Use an electric spice grinder or coffee grinder to grind your tea into a powder and blend it into slightly softened ice cream. Or try a dash of matcha (powdered Japanese green tea).


Tea Simple Syrup

If you have time to cook, but don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make tea simple syrup (recipe below) and drizzle it over your ice cream. Here’s how:


1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp loose leaf tea


1. Infuse 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves in 8 oz. of boiling water for 3 minutes (use water below the boil, around 170 degrees, for green teas).
2. Strain the tealeaves.
3. Bring the tea to a boil.
4. Add the sugar.
5. Keep at a low boil, stirring often, until the mixture has become one cup of smooth syrup.
6. Chill.
7. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container and use within one month.

You can also use tea simple syrups for instant tea “sodas” and cocktails/mocktails, or as toppings for fruit salads, cakes and other sweet foods. Depending on the tea, it could even work as a sort of chutney/sweet marinade alternative for meats or tofu!

This post wraps up our series on ways to enjoy cold tea in hot weather. If you missed previous posts, check out the others on iced tea lattes, tea punches, iced tea, cold-brewed tea and frozen tea treats.

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Tea, Ceremony, and the Way to Peace

Chief Phil
Chief Phil

Out on the hardpan of Arizona’s Sonoran desert, huddled together in the blackness of a low, stick-framed structure covered with heavy tarps, a dozen people form a tight, ceremonial circle, seated around a stack of orange-hot stones.

The blazing rocks warm the otherwise pitch-black space, uniting heat and darkness in a mystical bid to blot out both time and space. With the clank of a metal ladle slowly drawing water from a bucket, heads bow, throats clear, and the heartbeat-throb of a drum begins.

Under the intonations of a Lakota prayer, water from the dipper splashes and sizzles the hot stones, steam rises, and an ancient song lights up the space as well as the people.


Continue reading Tea, Ceremony, and the Way to Peace

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Watermelon Tea Cocktail Recipe

Delicious Watermelon Tea Cocktail
Delicious Watermelon Tea Cocktail

Watermelon Tea Cocktail Recipe

As summer wanes, I’m still trying to capture the flavors that make it so delicious. I recently created this watermelon-tea cocktail. My husband says it tastes just like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. I think it tastes like the end of summer. Try it and let me know what you think!

*1/2 small, seedless watermelon, pureed and run through a fine mesh sieve for about 1.5 cups juice
*1.5 cups dry-yet-fruity white wine (like 2008 Pigmentum Ugni Blanc Colombard)
*1 cup Lobocha Fukamushi Sencha Japanese Green Tea, brewed and chilled
*Squeeze fresh lime juice

*Stir, chill and serve.

~Lindsey for Samovarlife

Lindsey “Vee” Goodwin is a professional tea writer and consultant. She founded Vee Tea, is a contributing editor to World Tea News, writes for non-industry publications about tea and writes web copy/press releases for tea companies. She is also a consultant to several tea companies and teaches about tea through staff training and individual/small group classes and tastings. Click here to reach her by email.

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Well-being Q&A: Jesse Jacobs, Founder Samovar Tea Lounge

Jesse Enjoying a Chai at Samovar Hayes Valley
Jesse Enjoying a Chai at Samovar Hayes Valley

Well-being Q&A: Jesse Jacobs, Founder Samovar Tea Lounge

Everywhere I go, people tell me how horrible it is to be drinking so much coffee. I get it. Extreme coffee experiences can put your whole sense of well-being out of whack even if it does jolt you to your basic senses first thing in the morning.

So more and more, I’m substituting my coffee routine with tea and I’ve rediscovered a long forgotten passion that began steeping in my soul since my childhood. Growing up in Texas, I was raised on iced tea. Huge tumblers of frosty deep amber tea with lemon.

Tea has always been in my life in one way or another. And when I spent a summer in Winchester, UK when I was 14, my admiration for tea culture was officially born.I found the perfect teapot for my mother and I ritually drank my tea while reading Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia.

Later, when I went to college in Boston, I had boxes of herbal teas stashed in every corner of my apartments just to help fend off the biting, inhuman cold. Later, I lived in a Zen Center in Hollywood, where I enjoyed the art of tea ceremonies during retreats and using hot tea at every meal to clean our eating bowls.

So it was with great pleasure that I recently discovered Samovar Tea Lounge. Based is San Francisco and shipping around the globe, Samovar recently put together a custom blend prepared for His Holiness The Dalai Lama called Ocean of Wisdom. The tea accommodated The Dalai Lama as he traveled to various art institutions exhibiting the project “The Missing Peace.”

Samovar has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today rated Samovar teas as one of the top ten teas in the US.

Jesse Jacobs founded Samovar six years ago. I recently had the chance to ask Jesse some tea-related questions.

JHR: We live in such a dense coffee culture, but it seems like tea drinking is on the rise. Is that true and, if so, why? Also, can people really “get going” in the morning with a cup of organic, hand-crafted, artisan tea? Isn’t espresso, you know, faster?

JJ: In the ’90s, the specialty tea industry made $1 billion. In 2007, it was at $7 billion, and its forecasted by 2012 it will be at $14 billion. So, the tea industry is definitely on the rise. Samovar Tea Lounge has grown 300% in last 3 years. Tea has caffeine, and yes it can be used “as a get up and go beverage,” but with less jitters, and more focused awareness. It doesn’t have the same amount of caffeine as coffee, but artisan teas naturally carry caffeine and L-theanine, which induces the alpha state. Its scientifically proven that L-theanine aids in a state of relaxed awareness. This is helpful for the start of your day.

JHR: You’ve created a culture of mindfulness in your business. How important is mindfulness in the hectic life of a business?

JJ: Its very important because life is hectic and can be a frenzy, so there is more need for focus to get things done. I think mindfulness is the same as awareness. Awareness is the key to living fruitfully because if you are aware, you know what’s going on around you. You are sensitive, you can listen to the marketplace, to your customers, to your vendors, to yourself. And if you can listen, and hear, you can make effective and adventageous decisions. Interestingly, awareness is intrinsic in the practice of tea. So, the practice of tea aids in a successful practice of business.

Business is never ending, it is literally a practice, like meditation, or yoga or a martial art. It takes continual refinement, and as a practice, it requires mindfulness. Any study on mindfulness whether it be in meditation, drinking tea, yoga, martial arts, it’s helpful in achieving a better handle on how you approach business. I spent all of my life studying mindfulness practices, on the mat, on the cushion, in the martial arts dojo. Now, this business is just another manifestation of my mindfulness practice.

JHR: It seems like having tea is a time to slow down, connect and regroup. If someone wants to plan the perfect tea time, what are some important elements?

JJ: The important elements are having the freshest, best tea you can find. Having good quality hot water. And, having a moment to manage brewing the leaves, a mini-ritual to slow you down, stop you in the moment, and allow you to consciously take your next step.

JHR: What are some of the health and well-being elements of tea?

JJ: The scientifically proven health benefits of tea are that it is full of antioxidants, there are cancer fighting elements, and numerous vitamins and nutrients. Thousands of studies have been conducted on the benefits of tea. Additionally, a benefit of tea is that is it delicious, it pleases the palate, but also allows for a sense of setting a mood. It serves as a gentle awareness inducing uplifter. Tea brings people together, it serves as a natural social lubricant today just as much as it has when it was discovered several thousand years ago. It brings business, family and personal relations together, and today we really need togetherness. It creates ritual in our highly digitized, fast-paced, frenetic world. We are lacking ritual… the ritual that offers us to slow down, make us healthy, and connect us to the earth, and our humanness.

JHR: What is your current favorite and why?

JJ: Organic Masala Chai: I love this tea because the taste is very complex: spicy, great fragrance, nutty, sweet, aromatic, and earthy. Cooking the chai at my home or at Samovar, it fills the entire space with these overwhelming aromas. The caffeine is a natural and stimulating uplifter.

JHR: You started a podcast series called Passage to Peace linking tea to promoting universal peace. How did that come about and what has the reaction been?

JJ: It came about by looking at what our customers, and therefore the world needs. They need peace. This is part of our mission. So, I thought it would be interesting to connect the people involved in the tea business (i.e. carpenters of peace) to the world at large through a multi-media, educational visual medium. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, which has motivated me to continue the series in an expanded new direction. We are launching a new video series.

JHR: What ignited your passion for tea?

JJ: My need for slowing down, and having time for myself and for my friends and family. And a remembrance of my childhood on the East Coast where I grew up with being surrounded by constant tea culture. I was always exposed to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and European influences.

JHR: Can you share five books that have either influenced you or that you just like to read with, well, a good cup of tea?

JJ: Shibumi: Trevanian; The Sun Also Rises: Ernest Hemingway; Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi; The Book of Five Rings: Miyamoto Musashi; Body and Mature Behavior: Moshe Feldenkrais and Carl Ginsburg
The Executive In Action: Peter F. Drucker

Note: Samovar Tea is nationally available for purchase at

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My Gourmet Connection: Spotlights Samovar’s Jesse Jacobs

Jesse Jacobs
Jesse Jacobs

My Gourmet Connection: Spotlight on Jesse Jacobs

Jesse Jacobs was raised in a home overflowing with culture and community. His curiosity about tea was sparked by a steady flow of visitors whose one common thread was taking time for tea.

Growing up, he experienced exotic teas from around the globe, not to mention the sense of kinship that arose from drinking tea with others. Jesse spent his early life working in a variety of occupations.

Sometime during the “dot com heyday,” Jesse found himself deep in the world of technology in San Francisco. As his passion for the corporate world dissipated, so did its economic viability.

Taking advantage of the ideal timing, Jesse determined that he needed to get back to his roots: “connecting to people, communicating.. experiencing the cultures of the world.”

Out of his desires to create a company rooted in the timeless traditions of tea – equanimity, community and vitality – and to establish a place where others could escape the stresses of daily life, Samovar Tea Lounge was born.

Through Samovar, Jesse partners with tea experts and suppliers from small family farms across the globe. As more and more people are turning away from coffee, Jesse is at leading the way to a new generation of American tea culture.

What were the initial challenges you faced in turning your passion for artisan tea into a business?
It is one distinct experience to be excited and passionate about something, to embrace it as a lifestyle. It is an entirely different experience to be challenged by the realities of real world business: leading people, managing a P&L, negotiating, product sourcing, and dealing with what is commonly referred to as “fear.”

The biggest challenge I have faced is the simple realization that business, and life, are complex, and that “problems” are never-ending. And in fact that problems are never actually problems or obstacles.

Every new wall that arises that seems to block creativity, potential and vision, actually has a hidden door within it. The joy, and the challenge and the pain, and the pleasure is finding that door, walking through it, and experience the new set of experiences that that walk brings.

All the usual suspects were and are challenges… managing the personalities of diverse staff, trying to unify them to our common mission, managing a very tight cash position in light of tight margins – means constant negotiating with vendors about patience, and perseverance, and faith.

How do you convince a confirmed coffee lover to try adding tea to their repertoire, aside from health benefits?
Easy. Why does the coffee lover love coffee? It is usually for either the caffeine, the bittersweet rich flavor and aroma, or the sweet and creamy taste you get from milk and sugar with coffee.

There is a tea that satisfies each of those needs and also offers much more complexity in flavor depth, cultural connection to the traditions and cultures that make tea, and proven health benefits that come with tea drinking.

Thousands of years of tradition and ritual with tea stands for something… and it’s proven the test of time. What is old is new again, and both Baby Boomers and Gen-y’ers are embracing it voraciously for the reasons above.

There are so many interesting and unique teas available today. How would you advise the “tea novice” to begin educating their palate?
Just do it. Buy the best tea you can afford that is unflavored – to be able to taste it in its purest form. Practice will quickly reveal to you what makes a good tea and what makes for a bad tea.

We encourage you to look for quality tea, as we define it: Consistent size, shape and color of the leaf. Seasonal and fresh – not stored in a warehouse on a shelf for 18 months. Complex in aroma, taste, body and aftertaste. The tea should do something to you.

You should be able to distinctly notice an array of aromas, flavors, mouthfeel and aftertaste. Good tea will have all that. Flavored or old or teabag tea may be strong in taste, but, is usually singular, and not at all complex.

Do you see your role with reference to tea as a sommelier is to wine?
Definitely. Tea has so much behind it: terroire, body, aroma, taste, aftertaste, and the amazing ability to pair it with food, and your mood!

Of the teas you serve at the Samovar Lounge, which is your favorite and why?
Depends on the time and the day. I drink a lot of our senchas, like the Nishi, and the Fukamushi, in the morning for the antioxidant kick, mild caffeine, stimulating-relaxation that Japanese teas bring, and the refreshing, uplifting effect.

Around 1 p.m. after lunch, I usually go for oolong – recently the very rare Phoenix from China because of its incredibly complex and sweet profile. I love earl grey with soy milk and honey around 4 p.m. for an uplifting caffeine and citrus boost. For before bed, I’ll go with Ocean of Wisdom, our house-rooibos blend, or the nocturnal bliss for good, soothing sleep.

What are your favorite food and tea pairings?
Maiden’s Ecstasy Pu-erh and steamed squash dumplings. Ancient Gold super malty black Chinese tea with our Belgian waffles. Osthmanthus Silver Needle white tea with buttered sourdough toast and fried eggs for breakfast. Orange ginger herbal infusion with chocolate brownies for dessert.

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Hawaii-Grown Tea Comes to Samovar and the USA

Hawaii-Grown Tea Comes to Samovar and the USA

In this video:
For the fist time in the continental U.S.: Hand-Picked, Artisan, Whole-leaf tea grown in America.
Hawaii-Grown Oolong Tea: Semi Oxidized Tea
Hawaii-Grown Black Tea: Fully-Oxidized
Only 15 pounds of each tea is available through Samovar Tea Lounge.

Jesse demonstrates the unique Brewing Technique for these teas.
To Brew:
Quantity: Steep 2-3 heaping tablespoons of tea in 14 oz.- 16oz  of water
Water Temperature: 195 degrees Fahrenheit
Steep Time: 2-5 minutes (depending on strength desired)
Leave the leaves in the pot

Other Teas Mentioned in this Video:
Japanese Senchas
Phoenix Oolong

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Herbal Blend Tasting

Herbal Blend Tasting

Samovar Tea Lounge has some of the most delicious Herbal and Tea Blends out there. Have you ever wondered how Samovar chooses which teas and herbals to serve?

Join Jesse Jacobs and Erick Xicum as they taste variations of 3 herbal blends and decide which botanicals will win Samovar’s seal of  approval and be sold and served at Samovar Tea Lounge. The three (soon to be for sale) herbal blends featured in this tasting are 1) Rooibos and Yerba Maté Blend 2) Wei Chi Cha Herbal Blend and 3) Kukicha Twig Tea and Yerba Maté Blend

Learn about how Samovar evaluates and tastes teas by observing 4 characteristics:
1)The aroma
2) The body
3)The flavor
4) The aftertaste

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Tea and Chocolate: Pairs Samovar Teas with Chocolate

Liquid Chocolate from TChing.comTea and chocolate: Some marriages are made in heaven
posted by Robert Wemischner on | 06.24.09

It’s not surprising that tea and chocolate make good tasting partners. Although the cacao plant’s terroir and the tea plant’s terroir only overlap north and south of the equator, the saying “what grows together goes together” is at least partly true.  (Cacao grows within 20 degrees of the equator while tea is cultivated up to 43 degrees north and 30 degrees south of the equator.)  As a recent tasting revealed, “theobroma” – aka the food of the gods (and mortals too) – proved to be a fitting and sometimes even stellar partner with a wide variety of teas served hot enough to melt the chocolate luxuriantly on the tongue.

The plan was to taste six chocolates straight from their wrappers from five different manufacturers – three U.S. producers (Theo, a bean-to-bar producer based in Seattle that sources beans from Madagascar and the Ivory Coast and two Hershey-owned subsidiaries, Scharffenberger, cacao origin unspecified, and Dagoba, using cacao from Dominican Republic) and two other companies (Kallari, an Ecuadorian producer using organic beans, and long-established Valor, based in Spain, sourcing beans from Ghana, Panama, and Ecuador).

The teas were courtesy of Jesse Jacobs of Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco.  My intention was to pair each of the chocolates with each of six different tea types:

1. Downy Sprout white tea from China, which was completely overwhelmed in this dark chocolate setting (I am convinced that few, if any, white teas should be consumed any way but alone)

2.  The single-flavored variety, Jasmine Pearl green, which stood up beautifully to the creamy richness of the Kallari 70% bar, contributing its layers of luxurious floral personality to the inherent caramel, nutty notes in the chocolate

3.  Hika Sencha from Kagoshima, Japan

4.  Wuyi Dark Roast oolong from Fujian, China

5.  Ancient Gold, a malty black tea from Yunnan, China

6.  Maiden’s Ecstasy Pu-erh from Yunnan, China

There were some surprises, with the standouts showing a well-balanced dialogue of flavors and mouth feel.  Memorable pairings included the following:

•   Kallari with the oolong, which accentuated the positives in both the tea and the chocolate

•    Japanese Sencha, which benefited from a preliminary washing of the leaves in room-temperature filtered water before the brewing proper.  Its most compatible partner was the Theo 75% dark chocolate bar (total percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter) using beans from the Ivory Coast.  Despite a slightly gritty texture (probably due to a deliberate shortened conching time during processing), the chocolate’s citrusy notes prevailed and, in fact, persisted when tasted with the Yunnan black as well.

•    Pu-erh came into its own with the Scharffenberger extra dark 82% bar, which suggested caramelized citrus rind, a kind of marmalade essence that lingered long after the last bit of chocolate disappeared from the palate.  Only strips of candied orange peel dipped in this chocolate would have made a better pairing with the tea.

So many teas, so many chocolates, so little time…

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The Whole Leaf Magazine Features Samovar Tea Lounge

Samovar Hayes Valley
Samovar Hayes Valley

You can’t take it with you: The not-to-go teahouse model

By Nadine Goff

Below is an excerpt from Nadine Goff’s article, which features Samovar Tea Lounge. Goff writes about tea houses that encourage customers to sit and stay awhile rather than take tea to go. which featured Samovar Tea Lounge.

“… When Jesse Jacobs, owner of San Francisco’s Samovar Tea Lounge, opened his first location in 2001, he thought of teahouses as the tea equivalent of the local coffeehouse, so he offered takeaway service. But he says he soon learned that in order to survive, he needed to change his business model—including eliminating takeaway service. ‘The average person doesn’t know much about tea and needs more knowledge,” he says. “We needed to educate people about tea and value.’

Jacobs notes that it was difficult to persuade customers to pay $3 to $10 for loose-leaf brewed tea in a paper cup when they were comparing the price to a $1.50 tea bag in a paper cup filled with hot water. ‘We needed to create a rich, robust experience to justify the price and bring people back to Samovar,’ he says. One way to do this was to serve tea in an authentic form (loose leaf, properly brewed) to customers who were sitting down. Another way was to educate them about the possibilities for multiple infusions.

In the past three years, Jacobs has opened two more Samovar Tea Lounges in the San Francisco area. Although each location features a different physical structure, they share a similar design aesthetic that Jacobs describes as  ‘slightly Asian with modern functionality.’…”

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Samovar Hayes Valley added to Google Maps Favorite Places

Samovar regular, Sean posing pretty with our Google Maps Favorite Places pin sign outside of Samovar Hayes Valley
Samovar regular, Sean posing pretty with our Google Maps Favorite Places pin sign outside of Samovar Hayes Valley

Samovar is excited to announce that the founder of, Kevin Rose selected our new Hayes Valley location as one of his “Favorite Places” as part of Google Maps latest initiative.

This month, Google Maps launched a new international campaign pinpointing local celebrities’ favorite haunts, highlighting venues such as restaurants and clubs recommended by luminaries based in each chosen city (i.e. New York, London, SF, etc).

San Francisco features locations selected by such celebs as Gavin Newsom, Alice Waters, Grant Washburn, Tiffany Shlain and several others.

Thanks Kevin!

Read more about Google Maps Favorite Places Pin Signs

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Jodet in Taiwan: Part IV

Jodet, a flower in the middle of a tea field.
Jodet, a flower in the middle of a tea field.

The next day was the most exciting tea-adventure of my entire life. Many hours of oolong processing took place in Mr.Chen’s factory, but Lorraine and I also traveled through some dangerously unpaved roads to the most picturesque-perfect tea gardens I have ever seen.

Roads on which you see covered over beautiful crisp fog and neatly trimmed tea bushes in extremely high elevation mountains in Fujian Province. We traveled and traveled, and suddenly, it was as if we were transported into tea-heaven.

I was speechless at how well-maintained these gardens were. It was a dangerous endeavor for us, but for Mr.Chen and his team, this was the norm. Fairly impressive, as I now appreciate tea on a whole other scale.

Tea Heaven
Misty Tea Heaven

Some of the actual processing of the oolongs took place by Mr.Chen’s employees while we were traveling through the tea jungles. Mr.Chen surprised us with the adventure in between the day (since we had spent the majority of the time tasting tea, filming, shooting photos and processing). At times, it was challenging to completely understand what was really taking place in the process, with the language barrier between our translator Rebecca.

Visually from what we witnessed first and foremost was that there were several machines used to create the final process. All those words that I had once studied about tea were finally coming to life: pack rolling, dry racking, kneading, bruising, oxidizing, drying, rolling. Wow.

In my next blog post, I will focus more on the educational aspects of how and what was done in the process of creating the oolong we hand-picked in the gardens. I’m excited about sharing all the great visuals and information, and I hope that those who are reading this can also enjoy the experience and memories I brought back home from Nantou.

~Jodet for Samovarlife

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Sharing Tea and Making Peace in Vietnam

Paul Greeting Red Szao Women in Northern Vietnam
Paul greeting Red Szao women in Northern Vietnam

What in the world does a warm cup of water and some herbs have to do with uncovering Life’s meaning? Or fostering peace amongst the people of planet earth?

Discover how the power of Tea Ceremony turns simple, ritualized acts into transformative, life altering experiences.

Sixty kilometers east of Hanoi, our metal, flat-bottomed skiff plied the muddied shallows of the Yen River, past the foot of the Mountain of the Perfume Traces. A short way up from the river sat the Perfume Pagoda, one of northern Vietnam’s most popular sites of worship during the Tet Holiday season.

Tet is Vietnam’s lunar new years, a popular time for families to get together for meals, fellowship and prayer. The Perfume Pagoda, Chua Huong Tich, dedicated to Quan Am, the guardian Spirit of Mother and Child, is one of several shrines built into the limestone caves of this lush, mountainous region.

Vietnam Tea Boat
The beauty of the Yen River

Our short glide up the river left my friend and guide, Tuan, relaxed and happy.  I thanked our pretty oarswoman, Tuan translating, and we disembarked.  Before getting on with the next leg of our pilgrimage to the pagoda cave, Tuan suggested a ‘comfort stop’, his term for a short rest, beverage and snack.

A cool breeze rippled the river and sent the moored sampans bobbing. We walked a few minutes before arriving at a rough and ready little market where Tuan found us a wobbly table in a tarp-covered, makeshift restaurant, filled with the infamous, Asian low plastic stools.

On this late morning, I was the standout white guy, the token American who within minutes had drawn a small crowd of village children, gawking, laughing and pointing, amused at me as if I’d come in dressed as a clown. While my Vietnamese vocabulary extends to a few dozen phrases, I take pride in my ability to at least imitate the language’s six tones.

If I was to be the morning’s entertainment, I figured why not play it to the hilt? I hit the youngsters with a few of my best lines: “I swam up river. No boat! No boat for me!”

Tuan and I did a Laurel and Hardy shtick, where he’d whisper my fun observations back to me in Vietnamese that I would then parrot back to the crowd.
“Where are you from?” one boy asked in English.
“I am from Wei!” I bluffed, giving him the name of a seaside city on the central coast.

Tuan, familiar with my routines, set about ordering a few dishes of sautéed vegetables and tofu, rice, pho, a thinly sliced meat and rice noodle dish, and Vietnamese coffee. I’d come to love this sweet concoction of condensed milk, sugar and chicory flavored coffee beans.

Out of nowhere, a middle-aged man with a husky build and a scowl imposed himself on our languid meal. Plastic stool in hand, he plunked down opposite our spot, leaned in and began upbraiding me in rapid-fire Vietnamese, his spittle adding an un-welcomed new flavor to my pho. Too overwhelmed by the intrusion to respond, I darted Tuan a look that said, “Am I in trouble here?”

Tuan too was speechless. I couldn’t understand a word of the Vietnamese, but when he began pantomiming gunfire, it was hard to misread his play by play of what I guessed to be U.S. violence against his countrymen during the American War. He didn’t look as if he was going to heave my bowl of pho in my face as much as let my American ass fill a need to unburden some seriously pent up anger.

“He’s talking about the war with America. He’s talking about the past,” I say to Tuan.
Tuan nodded.
Our aggressive, uninvited guest’s diatribe begins to lose momentum, an opening I took to respond.
“Tell him,” I said to Tuan, “the past is called the past… because it’s in the past.”
The angry man’s face drew a blank and he stopped screaming at me. He rose, withdrawing from our table as abruptly as he’d appeared. The children recoiled a bit but lingered, all traces of smiles and mischief gone from their faces.

What was left of my meal was nudged to the side, as I turned to Tuan to get the check in hopes of retreat. I feared I hadn’t seen the last of our visitor. When the waiter came, I handed my wallet to Tuan who fished out enough money to cover our tab. I felt a bit too jarred to even bid the children adieu. I just wanted to get out of there, when the man reappeared suddenly, marching toward us.

Tuan enjoys peace shared over tea.
A peace offering - tea for three

To my relief, I saw that it wasn’t a firearm or machete he held in his hand, but what looked to be a turquoise teapot and three small cups.

It was the same man and it wasn’t. His entire demeanor had changed. I still couldn’t understand his words, but his voice was filled with warmth. He pressed on my shoulder to sit me back down. A man who had spit on me 10 minutes earlier was now pouring me a cup of tea. Following a formalized action that said, “I’m over it”, he filled my cup and called to the waiter, who brought over a plate of cassava sweets.

We each introduced ourselves. Photos came out of wallets. Surprisingly few words were exchanged, mostly nods and a feeling of goodwill. Each time I finished my cup, which only required two good sips, my new comrade quickly refilled it. Our plan to reach the Perfume Pagoda felt deferred. Whatever healing might come from visiting a Buddhist shrine was taking place right here, now.

~Paul T. for

Samovar’s Ceremonial blog contributor, Paul T. reaches for Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin’s classic elixir, to ease the monkey mind and loves getting the job done with assistance from the smoky buzz of Samovar’s Russian Blend.

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Samovar Tea Lounge Voted “Best Cup of Tea” in San Francisco Magazine’s “Best of the Bay 2009”

logoSamovar Tea Lounge is proud to announce our first place win for “Best Cup of Tea” in San Francisco Magazine’s “Best of the Bay 2009” Reader’s Poll. To view a full list of winners, please visit:

By the way, this is our 2nd year voted best tea in San Francisco 2008 – 2009.

Voted Best Cup of Tea in San Francisco, California,  USA
Samovar Tea Lounge: 297 Page St., San Francisco, CA

730 Howard St., San Francisco, CA

498 Sanchez St., S.F., San Francisco, CA

Or visit our online shop at:

In celebration of Summer, our favorite teas for icing and mixing are 20% off until July 14th, 2009 with the coupon code: CHILLTEA20. Start Shopping Now:

Jasmine Pearl Green Tea
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Osmanthus Silver Needle White Tea
{link:}Osmanthus Silver Needle White Tea{/link}
Lychee Black
{link:}Lychee Black Tea{/link}
Yunnan Golden Bud Black Tea
{link:}Yunnan Golden Bud Black Tea{/link}
Monkey Picked Iron Goddess Oolong
{link:}Monkey Picked Iron Goddess Oolong{/link}
Blood Orange Pu-erh Tea
{link:}Blood Orange Pu-erh Tea{/link}
Moorish Mint Herbal Tea Blend
{link:}Moorish Mint Herbal Tea Blend{/link}
Orange Ginger Herbal Blend
{link:}Orange Ginger Herbal Blend{/link}
Lobocha Sencha Green Tea
{link:}Lobocha Sencha Green Tea{/link}
Lapsang Souchong Black Tea
{link:}Lapsang Souchong Black Tea{/link}
Rooibos Herbal Infusion
{link:}Rooibos Herbal Infusion{/link}

See all of our teas and tea ware in our online store

Also we are having a 40% off our hand made Pu-erh Tea Cup while supplies last

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Stir It Up: Tea Punches – Something Cool for Summer

Fruit and Tea Punch
Berries, Citrus, Mint, and Tea

Tea and punch have a long history together. Some say punch originated in India, where it was made from five key ingredients. (In

Hindi, the word for five is “panch.” Many think this is where the word “punch” originated.)

These five key ingredients were: lemon or lime juice, sugar, water, liquor and vaguely defined “spice,” which could mean something we currently think of as “spice” (like nutmeg), something we would probably shun today (like a whale secretion that’s only used is perfume these days), or (yes, yes) tea.

Continue reading Stir It Up: Tea Punches – Something Cool for Summer

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Santigold Hypes Samovar Tea Lounge in Blackbook Magazine

Santigold, Samovar sends the love right back!
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Indie-pop songstress Santigold hypes Samovar Tea Lounge in Blackbook Magazine; selecting Samovar for “What restaurant would you eat at every day if you could.”

Santigold says, “…right now I like this place called Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco. They should bring it to New York!”


Read more of Vanita Salisbury’s June 11, 2009 interview at

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Tuesday’s Tea Salon: “Spiritual Potential in the New Economy”

Rabbi Sydney Mintz
Rabbi Sydney Mintz

Spiritual Potential in the New Economy

Overcoming fear and adapting to change are two great abilities that can be learned and practiced, and we bring you a Buddhist spiritual leader to help show you the way. Come drink tea, relax and absorb the wisdom of the ages for this new era of spiritual challenges and opportunities.

Featuring Robert Thomas (President of SF Zen Center) & Sydney Mintz (Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El) and Moderated by James Norwood Pratt (Author of New Tea Lover’s Treasury, Tea Dictionary)

About Shisan Robert Thomas:
Robert Thomas has been living and practicing Zen at SF Zen Center since 1993 and has been a student of yoga for 10 years. Ordained as a priest by Norman Fischer in 2000, Robert currently serves as the President of the SF Zen Center.

About Sydney Mintz:
Sydney Mintz is a rabbi at Congregation Emanu- El. She was ordained in 1997 by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, at which time she began her rabbinic career at Temple Emanu-El. Rabbi Mintz directs the social justice programs of the Congregation and leads the family worship services, among her other pulpit responsibilities.

About the Samovar Tea Salon Series “Coping With The New Economy”
Samovar Tea Salon Series invites a small audience to an intimate, open-dialogue forum meant to inspire and energize the community to respond mindfully and optimistically to a rapidly changing social and economic era. Tea Salons will be held bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings at Samovar’s new “Hayes Valley” location (297 Page @ Laguna).

These Tea Salons bring together some of the finest Bay Area minds in finance, spirituality, technology, entrepreneurialism, self help and the environment in an interview/forum format, moderated by Samovar owner Jesse Jacobs and events associate Jennifer Sauer (Author of The Way to Tea: Your Adventure Guide to San Francisco Tea Culture).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
7-8:30 p.m. (Come early for dinner!)
Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley
297 Page Street (@ Laguna Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 861-0303

Tickets are limited to 22 people per event. Samovar Tea Lounge will serve fine premium teas equally valued at the cost of admission ($12) at the start of each event. Dining is available from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm prior to the forum. Discount tickets are also available: two people for $20 (single event), or three tickets (three individual events) for $30.

All Tea Salons will be held from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, and tickets are available for purchase at Samovar’s Hayes Valley location.

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Tuesday’s Tea Salon: “Human Potential in the New Economy”

Human PotentialHuman Potential in the New Economy

How can you accomplish more by doing less? Adaptability, mindfulness, calming down, and doing less.  These are the hallmarks of working to your full potential according to Author, Zen Priest, and Life Coach Marc Lesser and Executive Leadership Coach Pam Weiss. Join two of our community’s great consultants and life coaches who can help you gain leverage from the inside out as you work toward fulfilling your dreams in this unique economic era.

Featuring Marc Lesser (Author of Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less) & Pam Weiss (Executive Coach)

About Marc Lesser:
Zen priest and business consultant, Marc Lesser, is the author of the new book, Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less. Marc has been practicing and studying Zen for 30 years and is a Zen teacher in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi.  He also has an MBS degree from NYU’s Graduate School of Business and has been a highly regarded consultant to executives in various industries.

About Pam Weiss:
Pam Weiss has been practicing Buddhism since 1987, including several years of Zen monastic training. She is currently in teacher-training with Jack Kornfield, and is also a student of the Diamond Approach. Pam is an executive coach who offers mindfulness classes and leadership development programs inside various organizations. Her passion is in bringing the richness and depth of Buddhist teachings to the world of work and relationships, as well as articulating a feminine expression of the dharma.

About the Samovar Tea Salon Series “Coping With The New Economy”
Samovar Tea Salon Series invites a small audience to an intimate, open-dialogue forum meant to inspire and energize the community to respond mindfully and optimistically to a rapidly changing social and economic era. Tea Salons will be held bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings at Samovar’s new “Hayes Valley” location (297 Page @ Laguna).

These Tea Salons bring together some of the finest Bay Area minds in finance, spirituality, technology, entrepreneurialism, self help and the environment in an interview/forum format, moderated by Samovar owner Jesse Jacobs and events associate Jennifer Sauer (Author of The Way to Tea: Your Adventure Guide to San Francisco Tea Culture).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
7-8:30 p.m. (Come early for dinner!)
Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley
297 Page Street (@ Laguna Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 861-0303

Tickets are limited to 22 people per event. Samovar Tea Lounge will serve fine premium teas equally valued at the cost of admission ($12) at the start of each event. Dining is available from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm prior to the forum. Discount tickets are also available: two people for $20 (single event), or three tickets (three individual events) for $30.

All Tea Salons will be held from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, and tickets are available for purchase at Samovar’s Hayes Valley location.

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Customer Service FAQs

Tea Lounge FAQ

Do you take reservations in the Lounges?

Sorry, no. Samovar is a walk-in only establishment, so we are unable to take reservations ahead of time, unfortunately. If you would like to ensure seating for a large group, we offer reservation packages which include a reserved table, set menu and dessert, and teas for everyone in the party. This special reservation is available for $60 per person. You can pre-select food and tea from our menu to have them specially prepared in family-style platters. For more information, email [email protected] a m o v a r l i f e . c o m.

For bigger events we love hosting private parties. Visit the Private Events page to find out more.

Why don’t you have wireless internet access?

Quality living is about really connecting, with ourselves, and with those around us. We find that creating a place that does not offer internet access, allows for better human connection. Learn more about our company values here.

Do you franchise? When will you open a Tea Lounge in my city?

That is top secret information. We are expanding. If you think you have what it takes to work for us, invest in us, or help us to broaden our message, let us know. We are always eager to connect with passionate people. Feel free to email us at email [email protected] a m o v a r l i f e . c o m.

Online Order FAQ

What are my payment options?

We currently accept payment via PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

What are your shipping rates?

For orders within the US, we offer $7 flat rate ground shipping. Or, get free ground shipping within the continental US with an order of $49 or more. For international customers, shipping rates are calculated based on shipping address and the weight of the items in your order. You can see the calculated shipping costs on the Shopping Cart page during the checkout process.

When will my credit card be charged?

Your credit card will not be charged until your order is shipped. When you place an order, you will immediately receive an e-mail confirming that your order has been received, and you may see a “pending” charge on your online bank statement. We will send you another email to notify you when your order has been shipped, at which time we will have charged your credit card.

What countries do you ship to?

We currently ship to about 60 countries around the world. Please see the list in the Shipping Rates Calculation section of your shopping cart.

How long do most international orders take to ship?

It depends how long it takes for your package to travel and go through customs. Delivery can take anywhere from two to six weeks. If you placed an international order and it has been in transit for more than this amount of time, please let us know!

When will my order be shipped?

Orders are processed for shipping the next business day. You will receive an e-mail confirmation with a tracking number once your order has shipped.

What is your privacy policy?

You can read our full privacy policy here.

What is your return Policy?

We want you to be totally satisfied with your order! However for safety reasons, we can only accept returns of unused tea ware and cannot accept returns of tea. If you are unsatisfied with your tea, please contact us and we will work with you to select the right tea for you palate.

For returns of unused tea ware, please contact us and we will provide you with a prepaid return label. Once we receive the undamaged return, we will refund the cost of the returned item. Please allow two weeks for the refund to appear on your credit card statement.

Sorry, but we are unable to accept unauthorized returns.

I’m buying this tea as a gift. Can you include a note with my gift? Does the shipment show the price of the items in the gift?

Thank you for sharing the Samovar love with a friend! Right now we are not able to offer custom messaging. We are working on improving this and appreciate your patience while we work this out.

Our shipments do not include a receipt, so you do not need to worry about prices being included in your gift shipment.

However, please note that for international shipments, the customs declaration form requires that we submit the prices of all items in the package. This list is usually retained by the customs office, but there is a chance that it may reach the end recipient.

Product FAQ

Why don’t you carry sample sizes of all teas?

Some of our teas are packed at origin; to make sample sizes of these teas would not be cost-effective for our customers.

What happened to your black tea tins?

We are excited to now offer teas in 100% compostable packaging. Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but the package is now as ephemeral as the tea inside, while still being able to keep the tea fresh and safe from moisture and sunlight. Please read about our new packaging, and the philosophy behind it, here.

We no longer carry black tins in which our teas were previously packaged; however, all of our teas fit perfectly inside our double lidded Copper Tea Canister.

I loved a tea you used to carry, but I don’t see it on your website anymore. What happened?

Nature sometimes makes it hard. Our teas are from small micro-farms from across the globe, and we can’t always get the exact same tea, season to season. This makes it both exciting, as well as sometimes frustrating. We apologize for the inconvenience, but hope you understand that with such specialty items, they sometimes run out.

Do you sell tea wholesale?

Yes. Please email us for more information on what that entails.

Do you sell tea bulk?

Unfortunately we do not currently offer a bulk tea option for our online customers. We hope to be able to offer this at some point in the future, so stay tuned!

I am new to tea and would like some info on how to learn more.

The first place to go is our Learn About Tea section. Also check out the Tea 101 video. If you’re not sure what teas to start with, try our Tea Newbie set which includes a trio of super popular and easy-to-brew teas!

Why are some of your teas in pouches instead of your compostable boxes?

Depending on the kind of tea, and where it is grown and packed, we may package them differently. Some Taiwanese oolongs are vacuum sealed at the farm in foil pouches. Some Japanese senchas are sealed in kraft paper pouches at the farm. With the small, artisanal teas we get, there are sometimes variations in the packaging.

Why are your teas so expensive?

We don’t believe our teas are expensive! For what you get, our teas are actually some of the cheapest leaves on the market. Considering the artisanal craftsmanship in growing and picking and blending our teas, their freshness, the numerous infusions you get from our leaves, the incredibly complex and robust flavors and aromas, and the fact that we taste test every crop….when it boils right down to it our teas are literally a few cents per cup. For the experience, feeling, taste, and health benefits you get from our teas, we believe that they are actually quite cheap. Also, our teas aren’t for everybody. We source and design our products for people who are passionate about taste, freshness, quality, and fostering deeper human connection. If that’s you, then, please enjoy!

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Tuesday’s Tea Salon: “The Meaning of Money in the New Economy”

Samovar Tuesday Tea Salon
Samovar Tuesday Tea Salon

The Meaning of Money in the New Economy

How will the value of money change in the coming months and years, and how can you best manage your own money as dollars come and go, rise and fall, with the shifting economic climate? Come sip premium tea with John Marshall, who will help you decipher the best ways to respond to the changing financial picture in the U.S.

Featuring John Marshall-Stella, Principle of Stella Capital and  Moderator James Norwood Pratt

About James Norwood Pratt:
James Norwood Pratt is an author and authority on wine, tea and tea lore. He is best known for his books on tea “The Tea Lover’s Treasury” (1982), “The Tea Lover’s Companion” (1995), and the whimsical “Reading Tea Leaves” (1996) authored as “by a Highland Seer.” In 2000 he brought out “James Norwood Pratt’s NEW Tea Lover’s Treasury,” a complete re-casting of his earlier work in the light of increased information. This book has been translated into German with the title “Tee fur Geniesse” and is often used as a training manual in the US tea trade.

About the Samovar Tea Salon Series “Coping With The New Economy”
Samovar Tea Salon Series invites a small audience to an intimate, open-dialogue forum meant to inspire and energize the community to respond mindfully and optimistically to a rapidly changing social and economic era. Tea Salons will be held bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings at Samovar’s new “Hayes Valley” location (297 Page @ Laguna).

These Tea Salons bring together some of the finest Bay Area minds in finance, spirituality, technology, entrepreneurialism, self help and the environment in an interview/forum format, moderated by Samovar owner Jesse Jacobs and events associate Jennifer Sauer (Author of The Way to Tea: Your Adventure Guide to San Francisco Tea Culture).

Tuesday, June 16
7-8:30 p.m. (Come early for dinner!)
Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley
297 Page Street (@ Laguna Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 861-0303

Tickets are limited to 22 people per event. Samovar Tea Lounge will serve fine premium teas equally valued at the cost of admission ($12) at the start of each event. Dining is available from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm prior to the forum. Discount tickets are also available: two people for $20 (single event), or three tickets (three individual events) for $30.

All Tea Salons will be held from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, and tickets are available for purchase at Samovar’s Hayes Valley location.