Posted on

Success Ritual #3, Being Grateful For Thorns

You might not spend time consciously visualizing your future, but I bet you have a pretty clear idea of where you’re going; if you’re like most Samovarians, you’ve got ambitious goals to complete before 2013 is done. So let me ask, on a scale of 1 to 10 how close are you to living your ideal life?

Grab a piece of paper and write down your number. Be honest — you don’t have to share the number and you aren’t being graded.

Continue reading Success Ritual #3, Being Grateful For Thorns

Posted on

There’s Only One First Time: A Samovar Oolong Orgy

Oolong tea can be dangerous. Lilies explode in full bloom… Autumn leaves fall in the woods… Tree-ripened peach juice drips down your chin… The aromas and flavors weave together in beguiling combination. An experience with oolong lingers in your memory like a lover’s kiss.

In the hands of artisans-of-the-leaf, oolong will spoil you thoroughly. Thousand year-old tea cultivars grown in the cliffs of Southern China and Taiwan develop character that can only come from facing challenges and overcoming.

Continue reading There’s Only One First Time: A Samovar Oolong Orgy

Posted on

Success Ritual #3, How To Identify Your Core Values

core-values

When I’m traveling and I tell people what I do, they often roll their eyes and say, “A tea lounge? Only in San Francisco!”

Now we have three Tea Lounges plus an online shop, but the truth is, Samovar almost never happened — even in San Francisco.

Of the banks that made time to meet, more than seventy rejected the business plan. Even number seventy-two, the bank that finally gave us a break, thought we would fail. “Honestly,” the loan officer said. “All the data says your concept will fail. But this is a place that I want to exist because I want to go there! With that, I’m going to approve it.” (Thank you for believing, Mr. Decius!)

Continue reading Success Ritual #3, How To Identify Your Core Values

Posted on

Success Ritual #2, From Shoe-Shine to Samovar, The Power of Visualization

visualization-blank

Things do not change; we change.

— Henry David Thoreau

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

— Winston Churchhill

Knock, knock, knock. “One minute!” A woman’s voice replies from inside the single-story suburban home. The door opens. “Hello?”

“Hello, ma’am,” I say. “Have you ever considered what would happen to your beautiful home in the event of a fire? I’m sure you have insurance, but that wouldn’t begin to cover the true cost of your lost heirlooms — to say nothing of the danger! I’m here to share with you one of the absolute BEST fire extinguishers ever made. Do you mind if I come in?…”

Continue reading Success Ritual #2, From Shoe-Shine to Samovar, The Power of Visualization

Posted on

Success Ritual #1, The Wake Up Shower

matcha

The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.

–Thomas Edison

Did you ever see the customers in health-food stores? They are pale, skinny people who look half-dead. In a steakhouse, you see robust, ruddy people. They’re dying, of course, but they look terrific.

–Bill Cosby

Not long ago, my friend Dr. Sara Gottfried stopped by Samovar Tea Lounge. She’d been busy writing, traveling, promoting her new book, The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol. It’s a great book.

I’m not the only one who likes it. Her book is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestseller — no small feat!

As we talked, our conversation naturally turned to tips and tricks for keeping life in balance.

I was curious about how hormones affect men. What hormones should I be concerned about? What could I improve?

We had a fun conversation, but simply didn’t have enough time. Afterwards, I made two commitments:

1. I would learn more about the power of hormones and use my daily rituals to achieve the right balance,

2. I’d get Sara back to Samovar for a followup chat soon! (Want to join us? Read on for details.)

Continue reading Success Ritual #1, The Wake Up Shower

Posted on

Tea Traditions: Afternoon Tea

At Samovar Tea Lounge, our tea and food menu draws from tea cultures around the world, from Morocco, to Japan, to China, to India. One of our most popular dishes is the English Tea Service, inspired by the traditional “afternoon tea.”

The 19th-century Duchess of Bedford is credited with inventing afternoon tea. At the time, folks in London ate two main meals: breakfast, and dinner. Dinner was served around 8-9 pm, and like many others, the Duchess found that she became hungry around 3 pm. She started enjoying a pot of tea and small finger sandwiches or cakes in the afternoon to take the edge off her hunger.

Soon friends began joining her for tea, and the ritual exploded across the country, with people gathering in the afternoon to socialize over tea. (Afternoon tea is different than “high tea,” which is a heavier meal served later in the day.)

Continue reading Tea Traditions: Afternoon Tea

Posted on

4 Steps to Facing Your Fears

Fear is sticky, like glue. The initial emotion of fear may only last a few minutes, but if we let it linger, it can get stuck in our system for days, months, or even a lifetime.

The sensation of fear is effective if it protects us from real threats. The fight-or-flight reaction has helped humans escape life-threatening dangers over the millennia. But in this era of thinking, creating, and problem solving, our fears are usually unfounded. And when fear sticks in our system, it becomes a toxic influence on our choices, emotions, and actions.

Here are a few tips for getting fear out of your system:

Continue reading 4 Steps to Facing Your Fears

Posted on

Why Handcrafted Matters

As I sip some Golden Phoenix Oolong this morning, I’m musing over a quality, hand-finished keychain curated by my friends at Huckberry. There’s a real boom going on these days in handcrafted goods. I’m not just talking about funky, craftsy things you find on Etsy. I’m talking about incredibly beautiful, well-made, durable, traditionally crafted goods.

Continue reading Why Handcrafted Matters

Posted on

Fireside Chat with Darya Pino Rose, author of Foodist

Fireside Chat and Book Signing with Darya Pino Rose

Tuesday, August 20
8-10 p.m. at Samovar Tea Lounge Yerba Buena Gardens location
Click here to RSVP (maximum 50 guests)

Join me and Darya Pino Rose, author of Foodist, for a fireside chat at Samovar Tea Lounge next Tuesday. Bring your questions and your copy of Foodist for Darya to sign; copies of Foodist will also be available to purchase at the event.

As a kid I grew up in a macrobiotic household, long before macrobiotic or other healthy eating habits were cool. But things are changing, and I’m grateful to see that healthy eating is a lot more mainstream now.

Darya is a true champion of this movement through her popular site Summer Tomato. In her new book she blends a mixture of practical advice, science, and inspiration to shape a lifestyle around healthy eating. Join us for a discussion about food, tea, zen, and life:

Click here to RSVP for a Fireside Chat with Darya and Jesse

 

What experts are saying about Foodist:

“The most sensible advice I’ve read about attaining and maintaining healthy weight without dieting. Darya tells you how to enjoy real food, make the best food choices, and not deny yourself the pleasures of eating. I recommend this book.”

Dr. Andrew Weil
Best-Selling author, speaker, and integrative medicine thought-leader

 

“Darya is my favorite kind of scientistshe finds the simple in the complex, the beauty in the chaos. If anyone will make you love (and rediscover) food, it’s her.”

Tim Ferriss
New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Chef

 

“I love this book! Darya shows us that a happier, healthier life starts with simple changes in what we eat and how we think about food—so simple anyone can do it.”

Jamie Oliver
British chef, restaurateur, media personality, and author

 

See you there!

 

Posted on

How to Exercise the Samovar Way

Let’s face it: we’re physical beings in physical bodies. When we exercise we feel good, and have more energy and enthusiasm for life. Our minds can focus better, and our bodies fight off sickness more effectively.

Yet most of our modern day working lives are spent in a chair, behind a wheel, or in front of a computer. Exercise is uncomfortable, so therefore it’s undesirable. Our schedules are full, our days are long, and we’re overwhelmed with distraction, so we find plenty of reasons to let exercise slip off the priority list.

So what if we reframed our thinking about exercise—not as a chore, but as a practice, as important as brushing your teeth and meditating? Suddenly the challenges and excuses melt away. You might even find yourself enjoying the process.

Continue reading How to Exercise the Samovar Way

Posted on

Tea: A Moving Meditation

One of the challenges meditation is how to deal with your mind wandering all over the place while you’re sitting there. One way to ease into the concept is to do a moving meditation.

Anything can be a moving meditation, from dance, to yoga, to labyrinth walking. Tea is my moving meditation. Just taking the time to brew a cup of tea mindfully can quiet my mental chatter and help me tune into the present moment.

Continue reading Tea: A Moving Meditation

Posted on

Vitamin C in Your Tea

Our organic Hibiscus Bliss isn’t a replacement for a multivitamin, but this caffeine-free blend contains natural vitamin C, which promotes a healthy immune system, skin, eyes, and heart.

The “C” in Hibiscus Bliss comes from two herbs: hibiscus and rosehips. Hibiscus is a bright red tropical flower which may also help lower blood pressure. Rosehips, made from the round red fruit that forms on a rose bush, is one of the richest plant sources for vitamin C.

Continue reading Vitamin C in Your Tea

Posted on

Your Hidden Superpower: Awareness

aware

The word “inspire” comes from the Latin word meaning “to breathe.” I agree with the ancient Romans; to breathe with intention is to be filled with life and inspiration.

There’s this perception that meditation is only for really spiritual people. That it’s woo-woo or granola-y. But the benefits of meditation are hard science; studies have indicated that meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve the immune system, reduce stress levels, and much more.

Continue reading Your Hidden Superpower: Awareness

Posted on

“Tea Buzz”, a Poem By Gwen Weiss

Here’s a beautiful poem written by Gwen Weiss, a customer at the Tea Lounges. She said, “I was delivering tempeh to the Castro location today and decided to stop in my deliveries and have a cup of tea and get a snack…such a great decision.  I ended up drinking Maiden’s Ecstasy [pu-erh] and a poem came through that I left for James and the other very sweet servers.”

Continue reading “Tea Buzz”, a Poem By Gwen Weiss

Posted on

How We Serve at Samovar

serve

I think it’s fair to say that the number one survival skill in the professional world is sales. You can have the best product in the world, but if no one buys it, it doesn’t matter.

At Samovar we focus on sales by actually NOT focusing on sales. All day long we’re bombarded again and again by ads: online, in the news, in the movie theater, everywhere. We’re trained to be on the defensive and revolt against anyone who tries to push something on us.

Instead of a sales pitch, what Samovar offers is connection. Genuine connection. This makes hiring and training hard; it’s challenging to find team members who truly care about connecting with total strangers. But it’s worth the effort, and customers often comment on the friendly, supportive service we provide.

And service is the best way to sell. No, we’re not a non-profit, and we can’t carry out our mission if we’re not profitable. But our focus is on understanding what our customers really need. We’re not here just to feed people and keep them hydrated. We’re here to give guests what they truly crave: a respite from the rigors of life. The opportunity to unplug, slow down, and connect with themselves, and with others.

If we compete just by selling lots of tea, we’re up against giants like Tazo Tea and Lipton. But if we compete by solving the true needs of each guest, we are wholly unique.

The typical restaurant has employees that are essentially “order takers.” It’s scary because if all you’re doing is literally “taking orders,” I’d say that your job isn’t very secure. There’s probably an app coming out for restaurants that will do just that.

Continue reading How We Serve at Samovar

Posted on

Meet the Goddess

goddess

Her name is Tie Kuan Yin. It means the Iron Goddess of Mercy, but to us she’s the Goddess of Tea.

According to Chinese legend, Kuan Yin’s temple was located in the Fujian province of China. At one point the temple became very dilapidated. A poor farmer took notice, and whenever he had a chance he would sweep the temple floors, burn incense, and clean her statue.

Continue reading Meet the Goddess

Posted on

Practice Peace, Drink Tea

peace3

“Every day brings a clear choice:
to practice stress or to practice peace.”

–Joan Borysenko

Everyone you meet today has something they’re stressed about. Probably multiple things. It’s just part of life. But you can only do so much to address your stresses, and then you have the choice to let them go, or to hold onto them. What if you chose to let them go?

Continue reading Practice Peace, Drink Tea

Posted on

How to Kick Coffee

At Samovar Tea Lounge, we get a lot of customers coming in asking us how they can kick the coffee habit. We never hear people asking how they can get off tea though. Why is this?

I have nothing against coffee, and enjoy the occasional well-brewed cup of Joe just as much as the next person. But coffee as part of your daily routine can present some problems.

First off, coffee is highly addictive. Once you start to depend on coffee to wake you up in the morning, and keep you going all day long, it becomes a crutch. How many people do you know who have to have their cup of coffee in the morning, or else they’ll get massive headaches? Perhaps you’re one of them.

Continue reading How to Kick Coffee

Posted on

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Tea

classes5

1. All tea comes from the same plant.
Whether black tea, white tea, oolong tea, green tea, or pu-erh tea, it all comes from the camellia sinensis plant. The varietals, oxidation level, and processing techniques differentiate each type of tea. Herbal blends are actually not “real” tea, since they come from other botanicals.

2. It’s polite to slurp your tea.
As with wine, professional tea tasters slurp their tea from a spoon to experience the full flavor of the tea on all parts of their palate.

Continue reading 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Tea

Posted on

Why Tea Sucks

The biggest problem with tea today is that there’s too much of it. The choices are overwhelming. Which tea company should you go with? What tea should you drink? Which brewing method should you use?

Wherever we turn, we’re faced with options, and lots of them. Think about it. You go to your local deli and they offer you six kinds of bread, four kinds of mayo, two kinds of mustard, five kinds of turkey, and eleven garnishes. All I want is an amazing turkey sandwich and I have to make all these choices? What a pain!

Continue reading Why Tea Sucks

Posted on

Tea Feature: Ryokucha Green Tea

A-Ryokucha-817119010284.PT02 version 2

Legend has it that popped rice and tea originated in ancient Japan when premium green tea was a luxury item. Peasants made their tea stretch further by adding toasted rice kernels.

Samovar Tea Lounge pays homage to this tradition of tea and rice with our Ryokucha Green Tea. We blend high quality, organic Japanese green tea with toasted rice and a touch of organic matcha. The result: a smooth, nutty brew with a luminous jade green color.

Cereal-like with a sweet grassiness, Ryokucha is the ultimate tea for breakfast. Pair Ryokucha with freshly baked bread, oatmeal, or our Jook with smoked salmon.

Check out our free Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Tea video to learn how to brew the perfect cup of tea. And get some tips for how to brew Ryokucha strong in the Learn section of our website.

Learn More & Buy Ryokucha

Posted on

What’s Your Mission This Week?

What I’m Drinking Todaymopi6

Today I’m savoring our Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong. A clean, robust infusion with woodsy high notes and deep baked apple undertones. As our description for this tea says: “Sip. Penetrate your issues. Dissolve them.” This is the way of tea and the way of business for us at Samovar Tea Lounge.

Continue reading What’s Your Mission This Week?

Posted on

Tea Appreciation Day

tea-leaf

It’s easy to see tea as a simple commodity; a utilitarian item you keep on hand for occasional enjoyment and/or health benefits. It’s so easy to forget what went into giving you the perfect cup of tea that you may be sipping even this moment:

The soil, water, and air that nourish the tea plants and help them to put forth fresh buds each season.

The farmers, who work so diligently to grow the tea plants and to coax out the leaves’ full potential for flavor and aroma.

The servers at the Tea Lounges who share their passion for tea every day.

Continue reading Tea Appreciation Day

Posted on

Samovar Tea Lounge Partners with The Long Now Foundation

Samovar Tea Lounge is proud to partner with The Long Now Foundation to source a rare pu-erh tea for the foundation’s future Salon, for which they are raising support.

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996 to to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years. They are championing the Clock and Library projects, to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common.

Continue reading Samovar Tea Lounge Partners with The Long Now Foundation

Posted on

Samovar Featured in The American City Business Journals

sbaLogo_2013

Jesse Jacobs, founder of Samovar Tea Lounge, was interviewed by The American City Business Journals for the feature From Beginners to Bigshots:

Click here to view the article on the ACBJ website.

By Nathalie Pierpont

Beginners to Bigshots featured Jesse Jacobs and Samovar Tea Lounge in the 2004 edition. Here we catch up on what has happened with the business since then.

With three locations in San Francisco and a growing presence online, Samovar Tea Lounge, founded in 2001, is poised to deliver peaceful living to the masses.

“Our whole focus is on how do we help our customers and people in general get more of what they need, which is often slowing down, focus, calm, reduced stress. We end up really promoting a lifestyle choice,” said Samovar founder Jesse Jacobs.

Customers are soaking up the Samovar lifestyle, indeed. The company’s revenue has jumped to north of $4 million today from $2.3 million in 2008. Even more impressive is that since receiving a $160,000 loan through the Small Business Administration and counseling, training and technical assistance from a local Small Business Development Center in its early days, Samovar’s growth has been organic.

Mary McCue, president and CEO of MJM Management Group, a designer and manager of public spaces in San Francisco, and a regular to the Mission-Castro location, “begged” Jacobs to open a lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens in 2006.

“I wanted tea to be served in on our terrace, and I knew Samovar would do something that would be distinctive to the Gardens,” said McCue. “I was also impressed with Samovar’s commitment to excellence. Most importantly, they are experts at tea service from countries all around the world.”

Once Samovar agreed to open the second location, MJM Management did what it could to help. “As a small company, we didn’t have deep pockets, and they helped make it a viable next step,” said Jacobs. Samovar opened a third teahouse in Hayes Valley a few years later under similar circumstances. Jacobs plans to expand to other cities with the “right partners.”

“Developers and landlords have come to realize that we have a solid business, a solid brand and proven operations, and they see it as a great opportunity to increase the value of their property,” said Jacobs, who attributes his company’s growth to a focus on the customer experience.

Although Samovar still derives most of its revenue from the tea lounges, it is keen to deepen its relationship with customers online. Its website includes a tea emporium for wholesalers and individuals as well as informational posts about different teas and educational videos about the benefits of tea culture. Jacobs’ recent webinar about meditation and the ritual of tea drinking drew 1,500 participants around the world.

“It was a way to reach the entire world with a message about who we are, what we do, and how it can help,” said Jacobs.

Building the Samovar brand on- and offline is part of what differentiates it from Amazon and Starbucks, according to Jacobs. Samovar charges between $5 and $6 for a pot of chai tea — “more than anyone else in the world.” said Jacobs. “And people come back again and again and happily pay for it.”

Nathalie Pierrepont is a freelance writer in San Francisco.

Posted on

If We Had to Choose Just One Tea Utensil…

 

If we were stranded on a desert island and could choose only tea brewing utensil, we’d choose the Samovar Cloud Gaiwan. It’s beautiful, simple, and makes great tea.

The Chinese gaiwan, or “covered bowl,” is one of the oldest brewing devices around. It concentrates the infusion, allowing you to re-infuse the same leaves over and over. Sip straight from the cup or decant into a separate cup, and you’ll enjoy stronger aromas, more full bodied taste, and a beautiful view of the leaves unfurling.

Continue reading If We Had to Choose Just One Tea Utensil…

Posted on

Tea Gifts for Father’s Day

Pu-erh is the wine of the tea world: earthy, strong, and complex. Infuse the same tea leaves again and again to emit dark flavors of cedar forests, tobacco, bittersweet chocolate, and espresso. An epicurean experience favored by coffee drinkers and wine connoisseurs.

This Father’s Day, pair a box of pu-erh tea with our sturdy Brew Basket or Vivid Brewpot to give your dad a premium tea experience.

Continue reading Tea Gifts for Father’s Day

Posted on

Experience the Tea Fields of Hawaii

Our friends on the big island of Hawaii, who lovingly grow our Hawaii Black and Hawaii Oolong, are helping to host the first ever Hawaii tea tour this November.

Participants in the 3-day tour will get to meet the community of dedicated tea artisans in Hawaii, and:

  • Participate in the harvesting, processing, and tasting of teas,
  • Learn about the cultivation of tea, and how Hawaii’s pristine environment enables rare teas to flourish,
  • Enjoy accommodations within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park amidst a stunning array of native forest, wildlife and cultural treasures,
  • Delight in exotic and special tea-infused meals prepared by tea-loving culinary artists,
  • Immerse the senses in nature and wellness activities,
  • And much more!

View the Hawaii Tea Tour brochure

 

Below are some photos of tea farmers Eva and Chiu, during one of Jesse’s tea trips to Hawaii:

Continue reading Experience the Tea Fields of Hawaii

Posted on

Eating Tea: How to Make Matcha

maor2

Eat tea. Yes, that’s right. We love eating tea, when it comes to matcha that is. Matcha is the only tea we actually eat.

The finely milled powder from shade grown organic Japanese green tea whips up into a creamy delicious froth. And the effect? We describe it as somewhere between wheatgrass and and espresso. Caffeinated and robust, yet fresh and vegetal. Perfect for sleepy mornings or whenever you could use a boost of inspiration.

Continue reading Eating Tea: How to Make Matcha

Posted on

Private Dining Events at Samovar Tea Lounge

Creating Something Special

Customers thank us every day for the peace that Samovar Tea Lounge brings them. We are so grateful to be doing what we do.

But when I step back to survey the magic that happens at Samovar, I realize the real superhero is you.

You are the one who took time to meet with an old friend. You are the one set aside work to savor a dish of smoked duck and poached eggs. You are the one who chose to reach out to an estranged family member and reconnect over a pot of tea.

All we do is offer a space for the alchemy to take place.

Check out our new video showing how we can help you create a magical moment for your next celebration:

Learn More and Book a Private Event at Samovar Tea Lounge

 

Get the latest updates by subscribing to our Exclusives and Special Offers Mailing List.

Posted on

Cold-Brewing Pineapple Coconut Oolong


When the weather warms up, it’s a great time to chill your teas down. Did you know there’s more than one way to make chilled tea? The most common technique is to brew tea with hot water, then pour it over ice or refrigerate it. But you can also brew tea with cold water, which extracts more sweetness and yields a smoother body.

Cold-brewed Pineapple Coconut Oolong is our favorite warm weather refreshment. With a creamy flavor, heady tropical aroma, and natural sweetness, it goes down easy on those scorcher days.

Here’s how to cold-brew tea:

  • Put about 2-6 teaspoons of tea in a glass jar or cup (fewer teaspoons for dense teas, more for fluffy teas like Pineapple Coconut)
  • Add 8 ounces of water and refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of four hours.
  • Strain, and enjoy!

 

Buy Pineapple Coconut Oolong

Learn More About Cold-Brewing Tea

Join our Promotions Mailing List for more product updates and special offers

Posted on

Hugging a Lion: How to Embrace Technology Without Getting Eaten Alive

Sometimes when I’m at the Tea Lounges and have a moment to myself, I like to sit at a remote corner table and pretend to be a customer. Then I just observe. I never tire of watching haggard, stressed out people plop themselves down, then slowly transform as they experience our warming teas and nourishing food. Watching their eyes get clearer and suddenly seeing – actually seeing – the person sitting across the table from them, and connecting with them for one quiet moment.

I also count how many people are twiddling away on their phones while eating, barely tasting their food or talking to their companions. I’m not against technology at all—I have as much tech as the next guy in San Francisco. The tools of today allow us this unprecedented ability to create movements and organizations and companies, and art. Continue reading Hugging a Lion: How to Embrace Technology Without Getting Eaten Alive