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Samovar Canadian Ambassador: Raffi

Raffi is our Canadian Ambassdor. Learn how tea complements his passion for tech., travel, and photography:


Why do you love tea?
Tea is something I actually discovered fairly recently, but instead of easing my way from bagged teas to loose leaf, I dove right into the deep end and went straight for the best loose leaf tea out there. For me, tea is really an art that I’m constantly trying to learn more about. There are so many different varieties, and each cup can taste so different simply depending on personal preference, meaning there are literally hundreds of thousands of teas to experience. During the work day it also provides me with a nice, steady flow of energy without a crash at the end like with coffee.

What is your favorite Samovar tea, and why?
My favorite Samovar tea is definitely Maiden’s Ecstasy. Coming from a coffee drinking past, pu-erh really hits the mark when I feel like drinking something dark, rich and full of complex flavors. It’s by far the most unique tea that I have tried, and is one of the few that I can honestly say has a learning curve. Once you get used to it though, it rewards you with countless steeps and enough energy to make it through the longest of work days.

What do you do in your free time?
On my free time, I enjoy sitting at my computer with a cup of tea and reading articles on the latest happenings in the technology industry. I tend to have too many hobbies at any given moment and so I mainly try to find time between web development, photography, and drumming, among other things like video editing, gaming, and just hanging out with friends.

What gets you up in the morning?
You mean, aside from caffeinated teas? Believe it or not, I’ve always been a bit of a morning person. When I was a kid, I would wake up every morning at 6:30am without an alarm (yes, even on weekends) and I would go downstairs and read online articles or play some games. Of course, these days I don’t wake up that early anymore without an alarm, but honestly I think what gets me going in the morning is the simple fact that I enjoy being productive. Sleeping in has never been my thing (it makes me feel sluggish for the rest of the day), and nothing feels better than getting a few things done before the clock strikes noon.

What is my favorite travel destination?
I haven’t traveled much so far, but I am hoping that some time in the near future I will be able to visit Europe and see many countries in the span of a few weeks to get a taste of the different cultures that exist across the Atlantic. But in the mean time, my favorite destination has to be the Caribbean islands. While I love visiting other cities across both Canada and the USA, my real idea of a vacation is still the islands. This may change by the time I come back from Europe, though. 😉

Who inspires you?
To be honest, I was never into the whole “role model” or inspiration concept, but if there has ever been any one influence on my life (outside of family, of course) it must be Sam Javanrouh of [daily dose of imagery]: http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/ . His photoblog inspired me to see the world from a perspective that most people do not take the time to experience; where the same old every day surroundings can be seen in a different light and made into something astonishing without any special effects or fake modifications. Essentially, it’s about taking the time to slow down and appreciate the world around you for what it is. And now in a similar fashion, I put my perspective of the world online for others to see and appreciate on my personal photoblog: http://shatteredabstracts.com .

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Samovar Experience: Pam

Pam is a long time customer at the Mission-Castro Samovar location. You’ll often see her working on her latest writing project or hanging out her two boys (pictured right). Below she shares one of her Samovarian experiences.

The other day I was having one of those days when everything is exhausting, overwhelming, crappy, and you are ready to let the less nice part of yourself dominate your actions— I thought if I can just make it to Samovar it will all be okay. Finally the babysitter arrived and I arrived. There I was greeted by two fabulous servers: Alex and Oscar, who greeted me with enthusiasm, warmth and humor. Then they both (separately) said “Don’t worry– I’ve got just the thing for you.” They loaded me up with magnificent, exotic teas and plied me with quinoa waffles and in a matter of minutes I felt spoiled, happy and able to be once again the nice person I like to think of myself as, most of the time.
Samovar does this people–it is a mini oasis in the midst of our busy lives–a place where I come to refuel, re-center, think deep and frivolous thoughts, work, and more more more. When my book gets published, the first people I will thank will be the entire staff of Samovar.
Pamela Alma Bass, writer/teacher www.pamelaalmabass.com