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How To Brew “The Rosy Persian”—Our Black Tea Cocktail


Searching for uniquely delicious tea-cocktails, I’ve tasted a lot of brews. Each tea adds distinct flavor and character. I love infusing our Jasmine Green for a floral burst, Tolstoy’s Sip for deep smokiness, and  Earl Grey for citrus brightness. But my hands-down holiday favorite is a cold-brew infusion of vodka and our California Persian Black Tea. This magical combination of baby wild roses, citrusy bergamot and orange, and savory cardamom pods produces an amazing vodka tonic drink.

We call this drink “The Rosy Persian” and we brew it by the gallon for private events and parties.

  1. Pour 1 liter of the highest quality vodka you can find over 4 tablespoons of California Persian Black Tea.
  2. Steep in the refrigerator 8-12 hours.
  3. Strain out the leaves.
  4. Pour 1 ounce over ice in a cocktail glass, and add 2 ounces of tonic water.

Here’s to a happy holiday from me and the rest of the crew at Samovar Tea Lounge!

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Tea with Tony Hsieh: Jasmine Pearl, Blood Orange Puerh

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If you own a pair of shoes, sneakers, or sandals you probably know about Or, if you read the great book Delivering Happiness, then you also know In this episode I meet with Tony Hsieh, CEO of this amazing company that offers so much more than just shoes. We aren’t at Samovar in this episode, so there’s no tea. However, if we were drinking tea, I would have brewed Blood Orange Puerh for Tony,  and Jasmine Pearl for me. Tony is a really inspiring guy, so listen to his insights on what makes Zappos so special, and what it means to be happy at work, and in life.

Note: the video is edited down to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 30 minute audio interview on iTunes. Continue reading Tea with Tony Hsieh: Jasmine Pearl, Blood Orange Puerh

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New Reserve Tea Menu Only at the Castro-Mission Tea Lounge

Have you tried all of the teas on our menu and are ready for even more tea adventures?

The Mission-Castro Tea Lounge has a new Reserve Tea Menu with limited edition teas, not available at the other locations. Tea connoisseurs of all levels will enjoy these premium teas and herbal infusions from Nepal, Thailand, Korea, Japan, and beyond. Once they sell out they’re gone for good, so enjoy them while they last!

Check out the Reserve Tea Menu here (PDF)

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Sleep Texting, or Why Are We Doing This?

Every night people all around the world send texts in their sleep.

Our society is delicately balanced on the brink of incredible change. Some people call it the Age of Aquarius. Others point to the end of the Mayan calendar and the predictions about the end of the World.

What I see is the proliferation of the most powerful tools humankind has ever known.

Remote control cars on Mars, MakerBots, video chat, communication networks so powerful they topple dictators. The list goes on.

Which brings us back to sleep texting.

I believe that we are in real danger of becoming slaves to our technology.

In the beginning, it’s awesome to be connected all the time. It’s really wonderful to have access to up-to-the-minute news feeds from your best friends and trusted sources. We are a social animal and knowing what your friends are up to all the time get’s at our need for closeness. The tools we have built are more than fun. They are a revelation with a power and capacity beyond our ancestors wildest dreams.

But at a certain point, the balance tips, and the machines are in control.

I’ll admit that sleep texting is (for now) pretty uncommon. But information addiction is a reality. How many times do you set your phone beside your plate when you sit down to eat? How often are you texting when your kids are asking you a question? How often have you been out with friends and you look up from your drink only to see you friends fingering their phones?

I believe in a future where humanity is in control, and where our skills, talents, and tools can create an abundance for everyone.

I know there are other organizations, like Samovar Tea Lounge, dedicated to helping people live more healthy, meaningful lives and so I want to make a contribution to their projects.

Before you tell me I’m a hypocrite for using Facebook for this, let me clarify. I love technology. The bounty that we have created through imagination, courage, and hard work is astounding. I just hope we develop the awareness and discipline to use these tools wisely.

The Saga of John McAfee

I’m not going to repeat the details of John McAfee’s fall from $100 million tech superstar to Belizean fugitive for murder. You can get the backstory easily enough if you need it.

Suffice it to say that money does not buy happiness.

My friend and blogger Leo Babauta has been challenging readers to Buy Nothing Until 2013, and it got me thinking. What is the most precious we can give anyone?

Hint: It’s not shiny and it doesn’t last for ever.

It’s our attention.

Everyday at our Lounges we see the joy that people experience sitting down with friends and loved ones to be nourished by our healthy food and energizing teas. We see artists and writers disconnected from WiFi and fully immersed in their process. We see business leaders breaking the ice over a cup of Oolong and getting fired up about their next initiative. We see families delighted as they try something new.

But when they leave the Lounges, I start to worry. The “call of the smart phone” is a sweet siren song indeed.

I’ve heard cellphones ring–and get answered–in the middle of an executive meeting. I’ve seen parents ignoring their kids in order to send one more text. I’ve heard of people answer their phone during sex.

I’m guilty of a lot of this myself–though, not the sex example.

So here’s my challenge to you, in 3 steps.

1. Do Less

We speed up to get everything done before we take a vacation. We shop like crazy to buy all the gifts we’ll need. Then we speed around to see everyone we’ve been missing. You get the idea.

So take your holiday to-do list and event calendar, cut it in half, and then cut it in half again. Then fully immerse yourself with what you really want to do with your time.

2. Be Generous

Wealth is not about how much you’ve acquired, but how much you share. There are plenty of causes that could use your support. If not financial, then maybe you can donate an old computer, pair of shoes, or perhaps your time. And don’t just do it for the cause, do it for yourself. Because giving feels good.

3. Inhabit The Present: 24 hr Challenge

For one whole day, I challenge you to shut down all your devices with a screen. TV, laptop, tablet, phone. Everything. 24 hours.

Are you too important to be offline completely for a single day at a time when practically everyone is on vacation?

I know we’ve grown accustomed to these handy devices, but I also know that you guys are incredibly smart, motivated, disciplined and creative. If you choose too, I know that you’ll find a way to disconnect–in order to give yourself fully to the people you care about.

Thank You!

I want to thank you again for being the inspiration that keeps Samovar Tea Lounge alive. Whatever this new age brings, I’m proud to enter into it with you by my side.

You guys rock.



Jesse Jacobs, Founder

Samovar Tea Lounge(tm)

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Tea Lounges Now Taking Reservations!

Samovar Tea Lounge has always been a walk-in establishment, but after getting a lot of great feedback from our customer survey,  we’re now taking reservations during select hours!

You now have two options for reserving a table:

1) Call the Tea Lounges to place your reservation

2) Reserve your table through


Visit the individual Tea Lounge pages for more info.


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Tea with Dr. Andrew Weil and Kevin Rose: Royal Palace, Green Ecstasy, Ocean of Wisdom

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Meet best selling author and Integrative Health leader Dr. Andrew Weil, and tech entrepreneur Kevin Rose and take time for tea with these two accomplished and inspiring guys. We talk about why tea is healthy for the mind, body and spirit, what kinds of rituals work for being healthy and “getting things done,” and why tea is all the rage in the tech community.

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Signed Copies of The 4-Hour Chef Available Only At Samovar Tea Lounge

Friend of Samovar, and best selling author of The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body,Tim Ferriss has completed his most recent work The 4-Hour Chef.

We are delighted to be the exclusive place to buy The 4-Hour Chef in San Francisco. Not only are the only place where you can pick up a copy, when you do, you’ll get a signed copy of the book.

We got an advance look at The 4-Hour Chef, where founder Jesse Jacobs makes a few notable appearances, and we love what we saw. Continue reading Signed Copies of The 4-Hour Chef Available Only At Samovar Tea Lounge

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How to Make Masala Chai

Chai simply means “tea” in Hindi, and masala chai means “spiced tea”. Popular in India, where street vendors are kept busy serving up cups of masala chai all day long, this 5,000+ year old drink originated as an Ayurvedic tonic. Ginger to remove toxins, cinnamon to aid digestion, cardamom to improve circulation, and much more.

At Samovar Tea Lounge, we slow-cook our chai on the stove in the traditional manner, combining it with whole milk and substituting coconut palm nectar (lower-glycemic) for cane sugar. Making chai takes a few more minutes than steeping a regular cup of tea, but your efforts will be rewarded. Continue reading How to Make Masala Chai

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Vote for Positive Human Connection

Elections have a way of making us feel divided. With so much emphasis on our differences, we lose sight of what we share.

The truth is that we are all deeply connected. This is not an abstract idea, but a fact of life. I saw it with blinding clarity the moment I first held my son, so small, so vulnerable, so perfect. Then I imagined my father holding me, and his father before him.

The continuous chain of life is so obvious when you take the time to look.

Why do we spend so much energy defining our differences? When you boil it down we all have the same human needs: food, shelter, warmth, love.

This election, I’m voting for positive human connection; not just in those times when I’m sharing a pot of tea with people I love, but also during those inevitable situations when I’m dealing with people and we don’t see eye to eye.

Here’s a simple practice for developing positive human connection–even when it’s hard. Continue reading Vote for Positive Human Connection

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5 Steps to the Ultimate Russian Tea

In most cases, brewing the perfect cup of tea is as simple as adding boiling water to a couple tablespoons of tea and steeping for 15-45 seconds. While Russian tea needs a little more finesse, we’ve distilled the process to the essentials and the result is a superb black tea recipe that will dramatically improve your tea brewing vocabulary. Continue reading 5 Steps to the Ultimate Russian Tea

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Tea with Craig Newmark: Jasmine Lemonade, Nocturnal Bliss

Virtually everyone you know uses Now you can meet the maker: Craig! Nocturnal Bliss is our tea of choice for this episode in which Craig discusses how he got started, and what he’s up to with craigslist.

Note: this video is edited to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 25-minute audio interview on iTunes.

Continue reading Tea with Craig Newmark: Jasmine Lemonade, Nocturnal Bliss

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Introducing Californian Persian Black Tea

This week I want to introduce you to Samovar California Persian Organic Black Tea. A custom blend that we formulated here at Samovar Tea Lounge, you won’t find this modern take on classic Persian black tea anywhere else. This tea pays homage to the classic black tea scented with bergamot oil, jasmine flowers, and rose buds, but then kicks it up a notch with a dose of orange peel and cardamom seeds. I think you’ll love the resulting brew: soft floral and citrusy notes balanced by spicy, brisk undertones. Californian Persian is a versatile tea and fantasic to drink straight up, but it also works with a shot of milk and sugar–in essence, the Middle Eastern version of Earl Grey, another tea scented with the citrus fruit bergamot. Continue reading Introducing Californian Persian Black Tea

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How Letting Go Can Bring Us Together

My grandmother Muriel will soon turn 93. She’s living in LA now where she’s closer to her son and with much easier Winters than Minnesota where she spent most of her life. My Mom was flying in from Boston for a visit, so I decided it was time to pack up my family and drive down for a long weekend. It’s not a short drive, and I had to ignore a lot of urgent tasks that needed my attention, but spending time with my family, and making sure that my son has memories of his great-grandmother is one way that I personally practice Positive Human Connection.  Positive Human Connection is many things, but above all it’s about not waiting for a better time be present with those we love. It’s also the core principle and basis for my company, Samovar Tea Lounge.

Continue reading How Letting Go Can Bring Us Together

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The Single Most Essential Ingredient In Any Tea

Take a moment right now as you’re reading this to contemplate water. Yes, that everyday substance that we use to clean our clothes, and water our lawn, to clean our bodies, and to brew our tea.

Water is life.

Our bodies are made up of mostly water.

The earth is mostly water.

Tea is just flavored water.

Water is life and it deserves special appreciation and attention.

We have so sadly abused this life giving elixir. We stuff it into plastic bottles. We chemically alter it by making it “smart.” We chlorinate and fluoridate it. We use it to wash road grime from our cars. We use it to cool nuclear reactors. We abuse it. We throw it away. We do not respect water. And without this liquid we can die in less than three days.

At Samovar Tea Lounge we do our best to acknowledge and appreciate this beverage. We realize that without it we have no business. Because of water, we brew great tea. We buy our groceries. We hydrate with Jasmine Green Tea after yoga class because we are so fortunate to be blessed with abundant, and good tasting, clean water.

This is not the case for so much of the world. Millions of people the world over do not have access to fresh, clean water. And so they die. That’s why great organizations like Charity Water exist. We are so blessed here, today.

Recently I had the chance to talk with Wu De, tea monk and founder of Global Tea Hut, about the importance and magic of water with tea. Check out the video below; we’ll also be posting three more conversations with Wu De to our blog in the coming days.

So please, join us at Samovar Tea Lounge by taking just a moment out of your next sip of tea, water, or even coffee, and offer up your own Water Prayer of Gratitude. And if you like, share your prayer with us in the comment section below.

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12 New Teas at Samovar Tea Lounge

At Samovar Tea Lounge, we search far and wide to find the most delicious, most fragrant, hand-made artisan teas for our online and Tea Lounge customers. We’ve been at it again and I am excited to announce 12 spectacular new teas. I’d love to serve you up a steaming cup of your choosing, but since email has it’s limitations, I’ll have to settle for some pictures of the new selection. Continue reading 12 New Teas at Samovar Tea Lounge

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How to Face Down Fear

After ten years running Samovar Tea Lounge I’ve experienced many highs and my fair share of low points. The worst times were the periods of fear, uncertainty, and doubt–the three demons that eclipse goodness and hope, consuming everything in their path as things that once seemed so sure and solid crumble to pieces.

Over the years I’ve had plenty of opportunity to look Fear in the eyes, and while it’s never been easy, with the guidance of mentors, friends, family, and a whole lot of reflection I’ve learned to stand my ground. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Name it.
Face it down. Look it in the eyes. Call out what you feel: Fear? Say it. Anxiety? Say it. Anger? Say it and identify it. Running or squirming away from the feeling will only make it bigger.

Be present.
This moment is the only moment. Do whatever it takes to become present. I like to pay attention to my breath. Inhale for an eight-count. Exhale for an eight-count. Repeat three or four times, increasing the length of both the in- and out-breath.

Seek the root.
What is causing this feeling? Is it a person? Is it money? Is it a predicament? By looking at the root of the fear, it naturally becomes more manageable, less nightmarish, and less emotional. It’s just a “thing,” not an all consuming emotion.
Continue reading How to Face Down Fear

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Tea with Tim Ferriss: First Flush Nishi Sencha, Orange Ginger

Tim and I have tea and talk creativity, motivation, inspiration, and a bit of tech. In this episode we connect over a pot of Nishi First Flush organic green tea, which is super healthy, and talk about the creative process and how to get over fear. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode dedicated to his newest book, The Four Hour Body.

Note: the video is edited down to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 1.5 hour audio interview on iTunes.

Continue reading Tea with Tim Ferriss: First Flush Nishi Sencha, Orange Ginger

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How To Make Frozen Tea Treats

Here’s an easy tutorial on how to make tea ice popsicles and granitas (an Italian sweet that lies somewhere between sorbet and Italian ice).

First, brew your chosen tea at double strength (using twice the leaves you’d normally use).  Strain your tea leaves.  Then, add your preferred sweetener – and plenty of it!  (As the tea freezes, it will lose a lot of the sweetness in the flavor.) We recommend coconut palm sugar, or if you’d like, you can also add flavor by blending in ingredients like lemon juice, mango nectar, finely chopped mint leaves, puréed strawberries or almond paste. No matter what you add, stir it in very well.
Continue reading How To Make Frozen Tea Treats

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What I’m Reading: Tribal Leadership

I love books, and nothing beats the real thing. I love holding a book in my hands and knowing — knowing with the knowledge that can come only from bearing the physical weight of the book, from feeling the texture of rough cut edges, smelling musky sweet smell of the paper — that I’m about to take a journey into some one else’s mind.

Recently, I read Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright and I can’t recommend it highly enough. After tearing through it myself, I promptly ordered copies for all our managers.

If you’re interested, you can purchase a copy directly through our site.

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Past Favorites

If you want to explore further, here’s a selection of some past favorites.

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Cool Sweetness: How to Make Iced Tea Lattes

Iced tea lattes are a delicious summer treat. Here’s how to make your own awesome iced tea lattes at home:

1. Select a tea. Black teas are always a great choice though any strong-flavored tea works well. A lighter flavored tea such as green or white will be too mild to stand up to the addition of milk. However, an exception to the rule is the Matcha Shake, which blends the rich buttery flavors of matcha green tea with soymilk.

Here are a few other teas that make great tea lattes:
Continue reading Cool Sweetness: How to Make Iced Tea Lattes

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One New Habit That Will Radically Improve Your Life

This morning, while sipping whisked matcha from my favorite tea bowl, I noticed the frothy, milky consistency of the tea. The slightly astringent, grassy, warm-cream taste. I could feel its buttery body across my lips, swirl the deliciousness in my mouth, and then gingerly swallow it, savoring the delicateness of this shade grown, exotic green tea.

Sitting there in the simple present moment, I noticed the tea.

The ability to notice more of life, the little things specifically, correlates directly to how good you feel about yourself, other people, the situation you’re in, and the state of the world. There are so many distractions pulling on our attention, that’s the stress of it all is even said to make us a bit crazy. And that’s why noticing is so important.

Learning to notice is…

Good for the body. Noticing the breath can help our heart rate go down.

Good for the mind. Noticing helps us slow down, and de-clutter the brain, giving us the chance to focus on what’s important.

Continue reading One New Habit That Will Radically Improve Your Life

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Chilled Teas – When it’s Hot, Serve it Cold

Tea  tastes great hot or cold. During the warm summer months, our chilled teas are some of the most popular drinks on the menu. Here’s a quick intro to making your own refreshing chilled teas.

The slow way”: brew your tea as you normally would, add sweetener such as  coconut palm sugar if desired and then chill it until it’s cold. Add ice if desired and serve.

The quick way”: brew the tea as you normally would, but make it twice as strong by either, a) halving the amount of water you use, or b) doubling the amount of tea leaves you use. Add sweetener if you like, then pour the hot tea over a cup/pitcher full of ice and serve cold.

Black tea is the most common tea to drink cold, but the chilled tea options are endless. Here are a few of our favorites:

Breakfast Blend Black Tea

Sweet Matcha Shake (called the Soy Matcha Latte at the Tea Lounges)

Jasmine Green Tea

Chamomile Melange Herbal Infusion

Check out our tea store and start chilling out!


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6 Steps That Will Multiply Your Creative Output

You don’t have to be a painter or musician to be an artist. In fact, just living day to day is an art. Our lives our like canvases, and what we do with our precious time here is the paint on that canvas. I believe we are all artists in need of creativity. I find that in order to be creative I need to be open to insights and my intuition. In order to be a better Life Artist, I have created a simple approach that has allowed me to become more aware and perceptive, so that I can be more effective and creative.

1. Get into the Present Moment with Ritual
Life today is non-stop. It often feels like there is no time, and that we jump from one task to another, without any space for actual joy. Enter Ritual. No, not the kind of ritual associated with archaic, outdated, or overly complex or foreign concepts or languages. By ritual, I mean an action, or even non-action that is so easy and repeatable, it requires virtually no thought. Anything can become a ritual. My kind of ritual is simple, repeatable without memorization, requires little thinking, offers little stimulation, and yet is relaxing. My rituals create space.

Continue reading 6 Steps That Will Multiply Your Creative Output

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Tea with Chip Conley: Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Oolong, Nocturnal Bliss

Chip and I sit down for some dinner and tea to chat about the relationship between psychology (Abraham Maslow) and work (Joie de Vivre and Samovar). How Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” can be applied to the workplace for not only more bottom line profit, but perhaps more importantly, for positive culture and joy (which incidentally help boost profit).

Note: this video is edited to 10 minutes, but you can listen to the full 50-minute audio interview on iTunes.

Continue reading Tea with Chip Conley: Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Oolong, Nocturnal Bliss