Posted on

Jesse

Ambassador Jesse
Ambassador Jesse

Photography, surfing, a bit of tai chi, yoga, some conversational Danish, leadership books, being a dada, clearing his inbox, and checking off tasks from his lists are among Jesse’s interests. And of course tea. Jesse always has a lot going on, but somehow manages to fit it all in no matter what. And, always with a cup of his favorite…

“Hika Sencha is a definite. I like to start my day, and continue my day with this tea. I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine so I like this tea because it has just enough to help keep me focused. This tea has a very mellow grassiness, and a beautiful, sweet creaminess–and yet it is really light. An amazing tea, and, I love it because it comes in such limited quantities.”

“After a long day, I really like to unwind with the Ocean of Wisdom herbal infusion while listening to Parov Stellar. It’s as beautiful to look at as it is to drink. It has no caffeine because it’s an herbal, and yet it has a bright, spicy, taste.”

Posted on

Joanna

When she isn’t busy being Marcus’s momma, creating cartoons, going to yoga, studying the i-ching , or working, Joanna finds herself hiking the San Francisco Bay Area . But what are her favorite teas?

“Orange Ginger is really good. It’s citrus-y and slightly sweet. It has a lot of vitamin C in it and is very warming.”

“My favorite pu-erh is the Maiden’s Ecstasy. I actually love going to dim sum with friends, and sneaking in my own tea–and I always bring the Maiden’s Ecstasy when I go! It handles the rich foods of dim sum. All those savory dumplings are even more delicious when I pair this tea with the meal. It’s smooth, not musty like a lot of the aged teas out there. Kind of malty, kind of earthy, and a little bit coffee-like even.”

“After yoga, or a long hike, my favorite hydrating tea is the white tea, Bai Mu Dan. It has a savory quality that is like a meal in itself.”
Ambassador Joanna
Ambassador Joanna
Posted on

Jodet

When Jodet isn’t busy helping lead the Samovar team, or living in the downstairs basement of Samovar (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration), she’s having herself a cup of Lychee Black. “The Lychee Black is an essence of who I am,” she says. “I love that tea like I love my mom. It’s my favorite tea of all time.”

“I drink it in my office every morning, and at times on my roof top overlooking the water at home while listening to the Idan Raichel Project. Pair it with a jook or an egg bowl, and you have yourself a perfect, warming meal! When Jodet isn’t sipping her Lychee, she’s practicing vinyasa yoga, obsessing about design and architecture, tending to her cat Madison, or flipping through Architectural Digest magazine.”

She has a love for print journalism, fashion photography, Chinese herbs and acupuncture, white wine and fine dining, and of course, the tea culture and its many meticulous details.

Jodet speaks Farsi , Armenian, English (of course), and is currently studying Spanish with the intent to become fluent. She’s attending school for her MBA.

“I grew up drinking tea from really beautiful, authentic, gold-plated, traditional Samovars in Iran. Tea has been an important part of my life since childhood.”

Ambassador Jodet
Ambassador Jodet
Posted on

Jonathan

This man has many talents…he teaches yoga and meditation every week throughout the United States and abroad, he’s the founder of the Learning To Listen Yoga & Meditation Center (a non-profit committed to offering tools for conscious living), he has written two books, and recorded two audio cds.

Jonathan believes that if done mindfully, all things can lead one to a greater appreciation of this life. He feels tea’s production process, its historic culture, and the community it attracts, all display and evoke a mindful life. For Jonathan, it seems the subtlety of tea’s drinking experience ultimately steeps the sipper in awareness itself. Jonathan’s favorites include the Herbal Tea Sampler: mellowness all around. For something more exotic, he goes for the Palace Pu-erh!

“Tea is an open secret, an offering where nothing is hidden and all is shared – if only we pause long enough to take refuge in the warmth that is tea’s home…”

Ambassador Jonathan
Ambassador Jonathan
Posted on

Karter

When he takes time away from singing live performances, which range from acoustic to hip-hop, and flying around the globe, Karter is into really chilling- out with tea.

“Russian Tea–all the way! Every day, all day. The caffeine really makes me alert, and the flavor just keeps releasing from the leaves. Plus, I love that it is blended right here at Samovar. My other favorite is the herbal infusion of Moorish Mint. It’s a little sweet, and really full bodied, and perfect when I want to really mellow out. When I have friends over, I love to make Matcha and do the whole ceremony thing. It tastes grassy and leaves a beautiful foam mustache on your upper lip.”

Ambassador Karter
Ambassador Karter
Posted on

Loraine

Loraine (also known as Lobo) is one of the most easy-going people to know. She’s down-to-earth and always has a smile on her face.

The name for one of our infamous Japanese Senchas, Lobocha… was named after our Lobo, who has a passion for green teas.

Loraine has been working at Samovar since she was in diapers–maybe not exactly that long, but a long time coming.

When Lorraine isn’t traveling around the jungles of Thailand, or spinning records in the comfort of her home, she’s checking out live shows in the city, improving her skills as a DJ, dancing, buying new music equipment, checking out shows at the Mezzanine, eating sushi, or collecting good Sake. She’s quite adventurous, and loves to drink the Hika.

She pairs her green teas with a salmon maki bowl, and she has herself a perfect meal.

Ambassador Lobo
Ambassador Lobo
Posted on

Luis

Luis is one of our cooks here at Samovar, so it is no surprise that he always has an opinion on what teas to pair with different foods.

A native of Yucatan, Mexico, Luis loves to play different musical instruments on his free time. “I play the keyboard and the drums” Luis says, “I come from a very musical family, everyone in my family plays an instrument”.

But how does Luis know about tea? well, he has been drinking it his whole life “I grew up drinking tea, mostly herbal infusions, but I’ve always liked the way it brings people together, even if it is just for a brief moment.” Luis loves to drink the Silver Bud Melon Frost because of its flavor and aroma. He likes to pair his tea with the Duck Jook.

Ambassador Luis
Ambassador Luis
Posted on

Noel

When Noel is not serving at Samovar Tea Lounge, she can be found dancing the night away at local venues, or reading “The Tipping Point.”

Noel loves to read, explore, and learn new things , especially expanding her knowledge about the Samovar food menu.

Noel says, “There’s nothing better than a cup of Hika with some buttery toast for breakfast. Yum…” Pair that with some jazzy music, and Noel has herself a perfect afternoon.

Ambassador Noel
Ambassador Noel
Posted on

Paul F.

Ambassadors Paul F
Ambassadors Paul F

While surfing the Pacific, practicing a bit of yoga on Sundays…interspersed with some computer programming here and there–Paul is constantly fueled by Samovar’s Masala Chai.

“I guess I am a chai guy. I love it here at the lounge, cooked up thick and creamy and sweet and spicy. Full flavor, and a good caffeine boost when I am working a lot, or working a little. I also love cooking it up at home, and adding some of my personal favorites: extra Assam tea, soy milk, honey, and fresh herbs.”

“When I am in the mood for something more traditional, I often go for the Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy . Strong, but very complex, and good for many, many infusions.”

Posted on

Paul T.

Ambassador Paul T
Ambassador Paul T

After eight years on the hardpan of the Sonoran desert, Paul moved to the concrete and metal canyons of San Francisco to pursue the urban tea lifestyle as well as his artistic dreams as a writer. “The Israelites did 40 years in the desert but I only ended up having to do eight,” he jokes about his years in exile.

Crossing the wilderness to the promise land led to the discovery of spiritual purification practices like Vipassana meditation, the martial art Aikido, the Lakota Ceremonial way of life known as The Red Road, and of course the power of Tea Ceremony.

The Fall of 2009 marks ten years under the tutelage of his Buddhist meditation teacher Shinzen Young. Later this year, he plans on completing the production of his first documentary film, Thunderdreamer, the life story of his mentor Wicasa Intankan Tatanka Weitgo, also known as Chief Phillip Aaron Crazybull, also known as Phil, an authentic Heyoka Medicine Man.

Samovar’s Ceremonial blog contributor 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.

Posted on

Rama

Ambassador Rama
Ambassador Rama

Rama likes to pair to of her favorite habits together: reading and tea. She never does one without the other. Currently she is reading Franz Kafka .

“My favorite thing to drink lately is the Japanese Kukicha. I like lighter flavored teas and this one is very subtle and delicate. I also love the Jasmine Pearl. My favorite thing about this tea is that it is so beautiful to watch. Each dried tea pearl comes very compact, until you add it to hot water, and then, it opens up like a caterpillar stretching. I like to just watch it open, and twist around in my pot.”

“Every Sunday morning I go to a 6-hour yoga class, and it is really intense. After class I need some relaxing time, and I usually turn to Osmanthus Silver Needle . I like its soothing, subtle sweetness and evergreen coolness. So cooling, full bodied, and smooth, I love this one after my long yoga class.”

Posted on

Robert

Ambassador Robert
Ambassador Robert

“My first pu-erh ever, is still my favorite. The Maiden’s Ecstasy . Bittersweet chocolate is what it reminds me of, but it is just aged tea. I love this one because it’s great for travel, and I always carry a can with me when I travel home to London to visit my family. They all drink the standard breakfast blends, so, when I bring out this exotic little wrapped tea-nugget, they are all intrigued. Just unwrapping it is really exciting–part of the ceremony.”

“My other every day, favorite tea it the Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy . So many infusions, with so few leaves. This tea packs a punch–caffeine as well as the classic Tieguanyin woodsy-floral profile. I actually even believe the lore about this tea: It has a rather energizing effect on the libido. My other favorite oolong is the Wuyi Dark Roast. I always serve this tea for special occasions, like when I have a dinner party. You always get many infusions”

“I love to camp. And, whenever I go my old faithful tea is the Wei Chi Cha. Refreshing and re hydrating, it is the best thing to have to start the day. No caffeine, and loads of taste. You can’t go wrong with that herbal.

Posted on

Learn About Green Tea

learngreenteaJade, emerald, golden, grassy, hay, ocean, oceanic, nutty, fresh, lively, smooth, fuzzy, uplifting, cooling, and nourishing. All These words describe Green Tea. Everybody knows Green Tea, but what is that makes a tea “Green?”

Green Teas are teas that have not been allowed to oxidize much.

While White Tea undergoes virtually no processing, Green Tea is made by processing the leaf soon after it is picked to assure that the leaf is only minimally oxidized. The “green” in Green Tea is fixed into the leaf through heat: either by steaming or pan-firing the leaves. Each process brings out those classic Green Tea notes, which range from really vegetal and grassy, to buttery and nutty with hints of alfalfa, persimmon, and hay.

Depending on where and how it was processed, a Green Tea can have a strong or a delicate flavor. Good Green Tea should have a complexity of freshness, vibrancy, potency, and really positive uplifting energy.

One of our favorite things about Green Tea is the incredible diversity within this classification of tea. “Green Tea” encompasses many different processes and flavor profiles. The roasted twigs of Houjicha are really toasty, dark, nutty and hearty, while Senchas are so grassy and vegetal.

When you sip a good Green Tea, your first response should be, “Wow. Amen. That is Green Tea!” The aroma should be of freshness, whether ocean air or cut grass, and the first sip should really awaken your mouth. The body should be noticeable, smooth and buttery, with a tiny tingling of astringency on your tongue. You should be able to really feel the body swirl in between your cheeks and tongue, while you sense the aroma in your nose. After you swallow, the taste should linger on… slowly dissolving until the next sip.

Brewed properly, with good tasting water, Green Tea is a real luxury. It feels wholly healthy. It has just enough caffeine to keep you gently stimulated and able to buzz about your day. Or you can just sit there, sipping the tea and loving life. Our Green Teas come directly from the farms of our tea family friends in Japan and China.

A good Green Tea should leave you salivating… wanting more after each sip. It should make you feel really good. Just plain youthful and fresh and healthy.

Please see the Samovar Green Teas