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Tea Mind

©2009 Jennifer Leigh Sauer

I just finished reading the book The Republic of Tea: Letters to a Young Zentrepreneur, by the company’s original founders, Will Rosenzweig and Mel & Patricial Ziegler.  In a series of whimsical faxes exchanged during the early 1990s between Mel (as mentor) and Will (as mentee), Mel describes not only how to build a company from the ground up, but how to craft a life: “sip by sip, not gulp by gulp.”

As the book progresses, Mel invites both his colleague, Will, and his readers to consider the benefits of Tea Mind– the state of mind one enters at around cup number five, according to Tang Dynasty poet, Lu Tong who wrote, “At the fifth cup, I am purified,” in his poem, Tea Drinking.

“I want what I have,” Mel petitions the reader, through his advice to Will. This statement is at the nucleus of Tea Mind, and the raison d’etre of creating a tea business, particularly in a severe economic downturn.

Wanting what you have provides relief, particularly when you need a distraction from thinking about what you may recently have lost or might lose in the unknown future. Tea is a wonderful tonic for any depression, be it economic or physiological. Tea Mind comes naturally from drinking tea and taking time out of one’s day to be quiet, observant and resident in his or her own stillness. It comes of itself, as easily as the steam.

Tea Mind is enduring and even more important now than it was during that puny recession of the early 1990’s when The Republic of Tea book was written (and the company founded).

Tea Mind is wanting what you have rather than angling to get what you want.  This small shift in words nudges the reader towards a huge yet simple segue in thinking and values. You find that wanting what you have is much more gratifying and takes much less energy than wanting things to be different.  “I want, I want, I want,” says the incumbent monkey mind. Yet when you sit down and sip a rare, hand-crafted oolong made from the ancient trees of China, you suddenly look around, and although life and its present challenges are still the same, you somehow settle into yourself, and the need for things to change somehow evaporates like streaks of steam rising then disappearing from your cup.

Suddenly, you are still and empty, and simply enjoying the gorgeousness of the steam itself, its aroma mingling with the comfort of your favorite books sitting on the shelf, and the lovely color of your living room walls.

Life has changed, and you didn’t do a thing, but drink some tea and start thinking differently. “Wow,” says Tea Mind. “Steam, color, smell.” Tea Mind is that simple:  “I want what I have.”

~Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither~

By Jennifer Leigh Sauer for Samovar Life

Tea Entrepreneur:
Tea Entrepreneur: Will Rosenzweig

Please join Will Rosenzweig, original founder of The Republic of Tea, at the first Samovar Tea Salon series, “Coping With The New Economy”.  The “Minister of Progress” will speak on the topic of Entrepreneurship as the first event of the series.

Details:
Tuesday, June 2
7-8:30 p.m.
Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley
297 Page Street/Laguna, San Francisco

(415) 861-0303

Tickets will be available for sale in the Hayes Valley Store location only, for $12 per event. Save money, and purchase the entire series of 6 salons for $65. As this is a very intimate event, there are only 30 available seats. Tickets are non refundable.

Samovar Tea Lounge will serve fine premium teas  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 if purchasing the entire series of 6 salons for $65. All events will be held from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, and tickets are available for purchase only at Samovar’s Hayes Valley location.

-Jennifer Leigh Sauer, is a freelance photographer, award-winning video journalist, and author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of The Way to Tea: Your Adventure Guide to San Francisco Tea Culture (2007). Click here to reach her by email.

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Tuesday’s Tea Salon: “Entrepreneurial Spirit in the New Economy”

Will Rosenzweig- Tea Entrepreneur
Will Rosenzweig- Tea Entrepreneur

Samovar Tea Lounge continues its new Tea Salon Series entitled “Coping With The New Economy” with the second event happening this Tuesday, June 2, 2009.

“Entrepreneurial Spirit in the New Economy”
Will Rosenzweig (Original Founder of The Republic of Tea)

One of the greatest opportunities in a changing tide is to create your own business. For some, it is expedient, as jobs in certain industries evaporate. What makes a great idea for a business and how can it be implemented? Join one of America’s top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, as well as a tea expert. Will Rosenzweig, original founder of The Republic of Tea, will join us and lead the way to inspiring the entrepreneur in you.

About Will Rosenzweig:
Mr. Rosenzweig co-founded and served as President, CEO, and Minister of Progress of The Republic of Tea, an award-winning specialty tea company that is often credited with creating the premium tea category in the United States. He is currently Managing Director of Physic Ventures, a company dedicated to innovative solutions for preventing disease, promoting consumer-driven health and ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations. Mr. Rosenzweig has more than 20 years of experience as an investor, entrepreneur, and educator.

Tea Salon Series entitled “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).

Details
Tuesday, June 2
7-8:30 p.m.
Samovar Tea Lounge Hayes Valley
297 Page Street (@ Laguna Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 861-0303

Tickets are limited to 30 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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Tea’s Carbon Footprint

How Earth Friendly is Your Tea?
How Earth Friendly is Your Tea?

©2009 Jennifer Leigh Sauer

Ever wonder what kind of impact tea has on the environment? That depends largely on the behavior of the tea drinker, according to tea technologist and longtime tea industry consultant Nigel Melican of of Teacraft Ltd who recently did an in-depth study on the carbon footprint of tea.

Researching tea’s carbon impact from Asian tea farm to American teapot (and landfill), Melican sought to find out whether tea is an environmental “saint or a sinner” when we measure its carbon footprint by a number of criteria. He found that several variables in the domain of the tea drinker herself have a great impact on the final result, and it seems worth sharing since we are on this planet together.

“If tea is well made, if we look at the supply chain properly, if we make some adjustments, we can actually get tea to be carbon neutral,” said Melican. “Some tea in some countries we could get to be carbon negative. Now that is quite something for a product which goes from where its grown, ten thousand miles [away], to the consumer…”

Continue reading Tea’s Carbon Footprint

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Tea & Wine

Taste Tea like You Taste Wine
Taste Tea like You Taste Wine

Although many people see tea as an alternative to coffee (in part because it is often served hot and it contains caffeine), the breadth of tea’s aromas and flavors is far more comparable to wine.

In a recent chat, Samovar’s founder Jesse Jacobs said, “Part of the joy of being a human being in flesh and blood is experiencing physical sensations. In terms of palate, tea’s an incredibly sensory, sensual way to connect with your own being human.”

He said the recent availability of high-end teas means that tea is just as capable of providing these experiences as wine. He added, “Tea is such an amazing way to trigger all your senses. You get a robust experience for very little time and money.”

Below are Jesse’s tea-tasting suggestions for oenephiles. These are not intended to replicate individual wines’ tastes, but to serve as a guide for affinities – the overall profile, the particular aromas, the intended use, and the goals of the drinker.

Continue reading Tea & Wine

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Bottom Line: SF Gate Notes Samovar Salon: Coping with the New Economy

SF Gate the San Francisco Chronicle announces Samovar's Salon SeriesBottom Line
Sunday, May 17, 2009

“Tea and sympathy: A San Francisco business column would not be complete without taking note of the fact that the Samovar Tea Lounge is hosting a Tea Salon Series entitled “Coping With the New Economy.”

The series, the first of which takes place Tuesday, will be blessedly free of hard-core, know-it-all CEOs and VCs. Instead, you’ll be imbibing the wisdom of Rabbi Sydney Mintz from Congregation Emanu-El, S.F. Zen Center President Robert Thomas and Will Rosenzweig, founder of The Republic of Tea. Plus others drawn from the “finest Bay Area minds in finance, spirituality, technology, entrepreneurialism, self help and the environment,” we’re told.”

Details at www.samovartea.com/samovar-tea-salon </samovar-tea-salon> .

Link to full story:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/16/BUTN17K116.DTL&type=business

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Samovar Tea Lounge online at SF Weekly

SFweekly.com writes about Samovar Tea LoungeExquisitely prepared exotic teas (there are dozens to choose from) and clever collations to accompany them are the raison d’être of this charming corner establishment. You can enjoy coconut-almond waffles in the morning, bento boxes and grilled duck sandwiches at lunch, tea sandwiches and a Russian plate featuring caviar if you’re feeling peckish in the afternoon.

Click here to check out the original posting: http://www.sfweekly.com/locations/samovar-tea-lounge-1289214/

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Samovar Tea Salon: “The Role of Technology in the New Economy”

The Samovar Salon Series
The Samovar Salon Series

Come join Samovar Tea Lounge as we launch a new six-part Tea Salon Series entitled “Coping With The New Economy,” which commences this Tuesday, May 19, 2009 and will run through July 2009.

The series brings 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).

Of the new series, Jennifer Sauer comments, “The topics to be covered are especially pertinent to the current global economic situation impacting everyone from tea farmers to drinkers and from continent to continent.”

Featured guests include Brian X. Chen (Wired.com), Sydney Mintz (Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El), Robert Thomas (President of SF Zen Center), James Norwood Pratt (Author of New Tea Lover’s Treasury, Tea Dictionary), Will Rosenzweig (The Republic of Tea) and others listed below.

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)… 415.861.0303.

Tickets are limited to 30 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 events will be held from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, and tickets are available for purchase at Samovar’s Hayes Valley location … 415.861.0303.

Please see the event schedule below.

Samovar Tea Salon Series “Coping With The New Economy”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
“The Role of Technology in the New Economy”
Brian X. Chen (Staff Writer, Wired.com) & Mark Friedler (Co-Founder of Worlds and Games)

In a shifting economy, the role of technology will change perhaps faster than ever before. What role will it play, how will we keep up, and what are the optimal ways we can use technology to our benefit as a society? Join our special guests, Wired.com writer Brian X. Chen, and serial technology entrepreneur Mark Friedler for an evening of technology talk over tea.

About Brian X. Chen:
Throughout his career as a professional writer and editor, Brian X. Chen has been known for fearlessly pushing the envelope with aggressive news reporting and sharp social commentary. To wit: a diverse writing repertoire that includes covering Apple as a Technology Reporter at Wired.com and a former Associate Editor at Macworld.

About Mark Friedler:
A serial entrepreneur who has started and sold 3 companies, Mark is currently coaching entrepreneurs and CEOs to drive their business growth. Mark is a recognized internet advertising and entertainment media expert, and is currently CEO of Worlds and Games ( http://worldsandgames.com ).

Check out what the San Francisco press has to say about the Samovar Tea Salons:

http://7×7.com/events/tea-salon-series-samovar
http://www.sfweekly.com/events/coping-with-the-new-economy-1517918/

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Water for Tea (Part III)

Great tea requires artful preparation, the highest quality tea leaves, and pure water.
Great tea requires artful preparation, the highest quality tea leaves, and pure water.

Water temperature also influences the final cup, and tea masters are vigilant about heating their water optimally to match the tea they are brewing. However, they determine the “readiness” of the water in different ways-visually, auditorially, and electronically.

Some look for visual signs of the water temperature to determine when the water is heated properly for the particular tea they intend to brew.

You may have heard tea masters talk about looking for “fish eyes” in the water.  This is when medium bubbles form just before the water moves towards a roiling boil.  This is when the water is ready for oolongs, generally.  The way the steam leaves the spout of the kettle—in wisps or in gusts–also signals the water’s readiness for some tea masters.

Continue reading Water for Tea (Part III)