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Reverence or Respect: Which is Better?

Respect is nice, kind, and something you give to strangers and you’re supposed to give to your elders. It’s formal and it’s externally motivated by society and others.

Reverence is deep, spiritual, and comes from inside. It’s hard to force reverence. It’s also harder to find it. But when you look deeper, and listen harder, reverence is there. And it’s so much broader than respect.

Think about water. Water deserves reverence. This planet is over 70% water. The human body is over 70% water. Water is everywhere and yet we never even think about it. Water is life and water deserves reverence.

Looking for reverence in the little obvious areas of life, makes for some potent realizations. We brew thousands of pots of tea at Samovar every single week, and it’s easy to lose sight of the potent little things. Like water and tea. It’s so easy to make and drink tea mindlessly, to take it for granted, and to “just do it.” But once in a while we really do stop, look, and listen. Then reverence blooms.

Tea is grown and cared for thousands of miles away from San Francisco. It’s a product of the earth, the sun, the rain and the wind. Tea is raw nature, born of the earth. And what allows tea to flourish is the same as what allows us humans to flourish: earth, sun and rain. If we take a moment to appreciate this fact, and to acknowledge that good tea is possible only with good water and good earth, that’s really powerful. Tea hydrates us, and uplifts us, and supports our livelihood. Good tea is a product of caring farmers and fertile earth. So basic and obvious, and so very, very powerful. Tea nourishes us inside and it puts a roof over our head.

So take a moment and listen. Notice. Feel a reverence for tea. For your your breath. For your family. For your life.

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Samovar on 5 Ways to Find Your Zen

On September 18, 2010, Samovar hosted “Tea With…Zen and the Art of Life Management,” bringing together life balance experts Leo Babauta, author of the blog Zen Habits, Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, and Susan O’Connell, VP of the San Francisco Zen Center. featured some highlights from Samovar’s event Zen and the Art of Life Management:


5 Ways To Find Your Zen


Friday, October 1, 2010

To survive in the digital world, there’s no such thing as a 4-hour work week. Sorry, Tim Ferriss. But there isn’t. I don’t think there ever was. But it was a nice idea. The web is live 24-hours a day with a captive audience at all times. We’re accessing it at home, at the office as well as on the road through our iPads, and smartphones, whether it’s the iPhone, Android, or Blackberry. Maybe, all three.  Two of the three in my case.

So, if we’re always connected with the world, when are we taking time to connect with ourselves? Ummm…never? Ok, maybe when we go to the gym!  But, Susan O’Connell, VP of the San Francisco Zen Center, says our bodies and our minds need a lot more! She believes that not taking time to re-connect with yourself daily is not a healthy and fulfilling way to live.

O’Connell was part of a panel discussion this week in front of a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs at Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco, along with Samovar’s owner, Jesse Jacobs, and Tim Ferriss, author of ‘The 4-Hour Workweek.”

Continue reading Samovar on 5 Ways to Find Your Zen

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Samovar in the NY Times: Teahouses’ Unique Blends Are Not Just in the Cup

The New York Times Dining and Wine Section features Samovar among the colorful and diverse San Francisco Bay Area teahouses.



Teahouses’ Unique Blends Are Not Just in the Cup
Published: January 1, 2010

“…Samovar, in the Castro, makes tea drinking a stylish affair. Teas from around the world are served as they are in their home countries: Japanese maki bowls of rice and seaweed with ryokucha brown rice tea, English tea service with scones and Devonshire cream, Chinese tea with dumplings, and masala chai with curry. Russian tea is poured from a gleaming samovar.

‘We bring the world’s tea traditions under one roof,” said Jesse Jacobs, who opened Samovar in 2001. “It’s contemporary and hip but also respecting tradition.’

…Though many occupy spaces that used to be coffeehouses, it’s too early to call tea drinking a trend that will replace espresso anytime soon. Instead, it’s a parallel, calmer universe.

Continue reading Samovar in the NY Times: Teahouses’ Unique Blends Are Not Just in the Cup

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Fortune Small Business Reports: Tea Cozy- With help from his friends, an entrepreneur creates spaces for lingering.


Tea Cozy: With help from his friends, an entrepreneur creates spaces for lingering.

By Megan Erickson
September 1, 2009

(Fortune Small Business) –At Samovar Tea Lounge, a chain of three teahouses in San Francisco, you’ll find no wireless Internet or bulletin board littered with local news and advertisements.

“The goal is to create relationships with customers where they become guests — or friends,” says CEO Jesse Jacobs, a dot-com veteran who opened the first Samovar, in the Castro/Mission district during the 2001 tech crash. “Our design reflects that. We try to provide a cocoon from the outside world, so we need more than just a few chairs and a Formica countertop.”

Seating space at the teahouse’s bamboo tables is intentionally tight. Jacobs, who built his shops without consulting professional designers, says the setup encourages patrons to mingle and try menu items that beckon from neighbors’ plates.

“It’s easy to overhear conversations, but that’s good,” says copywriter Paul Tootalian, 42, a regular customer. “There’s a real community feel.”

Continue reading Fortune Small Business Reports: Tea Cozy- With help from his friends, an entrepreneur creates spaces for lingering.

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Inc. Magazine Fastest Growing Companies – Samovar Made the List!

Inc. Magazine Fastest Growing Companies – WeInc. 500|| 5000 Fastest Growing Companies: Samovar Tea Lounge Made the List!

Samovar Tea Lounge joins an elite group of companies across America as they have made the 2009 Inc. Magazine 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. Over the last six years, Samovar has grown its staff to over 60 employees and to three San Francisco locations.

We’d like to thank all of our customers for contributing to our rapid and prosperous growth!

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Forbes Visits Samovar: Personal Best -Tea Drinking Techies

Forbes Video Network Visits Samovar Tea Lounge to investigate the role of tea in lives of Silicon Valley Techies.

Jesse Jacobs, founder of Samovar, Kevin Rose, founder of, Tim Ferriss author of The 4-Hour Workweek, explain why people are getting into tea in these fast-paced times.

Continue reading Forbes Visits Samovar: Personal Best -Tea Drinking Techies

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Samovar in Edible San Francisco Magazine

The Village & Valley: Samovar

By Jessica Goldman

The corner of 18th and Sanchez was once home to an Internet café where customers plugged in and zoned out, or grabbed a cup of joe and hurried off. But when Jesse Jacobs took over, he one-eightied the coffee shop into a tea lounge, replacing jolts of energy with quiet pauses. “It was a statement about slowing down,” he says. “It was a testament to changing times.”

Continue reading Samovar in Edible San Francisco Magazine