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How To Brew & Taste Tea The Samovar Way

Two of the most common questions we hear are “What is the best way to brew my tea?” and “How should I taste tea to get the most out of  it?” The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Tea video series covers these and a number of other topics: how to judge tea quality, what tea is, information on all tea varieties, and more.

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How To Taste Tea The Samovar Way

Engage all your senses as you learn the art and practice of tasting tea. Enter your email and we’ll send you details to unlock this episode, for FREE.

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Learn more about the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Tea ?

 

 

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1. Consider sending a link to this page: http://samovarlife.com/how-to-brew-and-taste-tea .

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4 Best Practices For The Post-Information Age

Agrarian society fed the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution created the tools and workforce for the Information Age. But what comes next? The pattern of change in human development is as predictable as it is disruptive. The one constant in this world is that nothing lasts forever.

So where are we headed now?

Joshua Jacobs, who works on Special Ops for us at Samovar Tea Lounge, has been a key collaborator for the last 12 months, and he has some interesting ideas on this subject. Rather than speak for him, I invited him to write a guest post here and share his perspective.

Recognize the last name? Yup, he’s my brother. But don’t think that means I’ve been easy on him—I’ve already fired him three times…

Best Practice #1: Never Trust A Best Practice

Best practices only make sense within a particular context. Applied in the wrong context, they’ll produce horrid results. The best practices at Google bear almost no resemblance to the best practices at a 3-person app development shop. Change the context and the governing rules also change, making all “best practices” worthless unless they are tailored to the situation.

And the consequences are huge. It’s why the Luddites could not stop the industrialization of their craft. It’s why telephone operators were replaced by Cisco routers. It’s why Borders and Blockbuster went bankrupt.

The Ages of our civilization don’t end; they evolve. First slowly and with incredible resistance, and then faster and faster until the cycle is complete.

The fact is, the Information Age has already evolved into a new era. How do I know? By looking at the results.

Continue reading 4 Best Practices For The Post-Information Age

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Ask The Tea Master: Samovar vs Teavana

We are passionate about tea and committed to helping you find the best way to make tea a rewarding part of your life.

We often get questions about tea and we wanted to share the discussion with you so everyone can benefit. Here’s a question that came in this week from Doug in Tuscon, AZ about the difference between Samovar Tea Lounge tea and Teavana.

Subject: Samovar, Teavana, and other

Greetings.

Loving your website! I have been reading and learning more about tea (and coffee–go Blue Bottle). In Tucson we have an excellent Chinese Tea House and also a Teavana retail shop. However, I am curious about Samovar vs Teavana where equipment suggestions, tea ware available for purchase and the tea itself are concerned. They [Teavana] tout themselves as the ultimate in tea but in spite of finding their tea very satisfying I am not convinced that they are the true purveyors but rather a major chain doing quality work. Are you willing to speak to this? My wife and I are departing for a few days this weekend. Upon returning I will be spending more time on your site viewing the videos. Am considering the Ultimate Guide package/s. Have been reading Zen Habits for nearly a couple years now and have at least one of Leo’s books. We had a San Francisco trip planned in January that fell through. We will be making plans for a long-weekend visit as soon as we can. You are on the list of Must-See places.

Oh, also read 101 Cookbooks and Omnivore Books postings. Pitch Perfect Audio (Matt Rotunda) is one of my favorite audio shops and people in the US! I say this in hope that you understand my enthusiasm for the Bay Area and tea, as well as the sincerity of my question. It’s part of how I learn. You know, who to trust where the real information is concerned. Thanks for any help you can provide. Best, Doug (Douglas & Peggy, Tucson, AZ)

Dear Doug,

Thank you so much for taking the time to research us and to ask this great question. Tea has been growing like crazy in America, and as you can see in Tuscon, the number of options is growing quickly.

If there’s one thing I can say for certain about tea, it’s this: Tea is personal. We’ve got our opinions and perspectives, but I don’t assume they are right for everyone. Way to go for doing the research and making up your own mind on the subject.

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How Not To Be Afraid Of Your Own Life

We live in a culture that denies fear. I guess that’s not surprising considering how uncomfortable cold, raw fear is. But it’s a disservice because if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that you cannot run from fear, and you definitely cannot hide.

Before Samovar Tea Lounge, I had a “killer” job in high-tech. My fear then was that I would never leave. Golden handcuffs bound me 10 hours a day to a life that was compromised. Uninspired. After I finally drew the courage to change and started Samovar, customers would walk in asking for coffee, or if we were a Chinese restaurant—and leave me haunted by visions of it all coming crashing down.

Luckily, I’ve been able to draw on some incredible friends and supporters. With their help, I’ve found the strength, and the strategies to make it work.

I recently had a chance to share tea with one dear friend as a part of my new Samovar Tea Talks video series. Susan Piver, author of How Not To Be Afraid Of Your Own Life and six other books (including a NYT Bestseller), has led a truly surpising—yet quintessentially American—life. After facing a mountain of challenges, she’s become something of a connoisseur of fear and has developed a refined perspective on it. The way she describes it, fear is not some tormentor, or demon. Fear is, simply put, a pure energy of vitality. Potent, uncomfortable and ultimately empowering.

For Susan, fear is a compass pointing to areas rich with potential for growth. As she says, “If you’re not scared, you’re not in the game.”

After accepting that she couldn’t run from fear, Susan learned to draw on strategies for confronting it head-on, over the years learning to open her heart to difficult situations and eventually becoming a student of meditation, and now a teacher.

I met Susan in 1995, but until our tea talk I never knew the extent of her personal struggles and achievements. I don’t want to give away too much, but here are a few things we discussed:

  • how she flunked 8th grade, never went to college—and then published six books including a New York Times bestseller
  • how she overcame her phobia of flying through the kindness of strangers
  • how she went from Austin cocktail waitress to music industry executive
  • advice for recent college grads and anyone in the job market
  • advice on love, heart break, and things to consider before tying the knot
  • how she flunked meditation instruction—and then went on to launch The Open Heart Project: an unconventional meditation school

Susan has been an inspiration, and friend. I’m proud to know her and very excited to introduce her to you.

You can learn a whole lot more about Susan, her books, and her meditation school on her site: SusanPiver.com.

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What Music Do You Listen To While You Drink Tea?

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Nothing sets tone and atmosphere like music. It bypasses conscious thought and resonates at a deep, primordial level. So when you brew a pot of tea for yourself, or your friends, what do you put on?

A recent conversation on our Facebook Page turned up some recommendations that we need to followup on—and that we thought you might enjoy.

  • Penguin Cafe Orchestra
  • Andres Segovia
  • Enya
  • Liquid Mind, by Chuck Wild
  • Ray Lynch
  • Spa Radio on Pandora
  • 80’s ambient music: Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Laraaji
  • Toumani Diabate
  • Robbie Basho
  • Favela
  • Argentine tango
  • Spanish guitar
  • Indian meditation drums
  • Bonobo: Black Sands
  • Elizabeth Fraser
  • La folk atmosphérique de Mamer
  • Cheb I Sabbah (on Pandora)

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Tea Lounge Groove

Have you heard our very own audio soundtrack, ONE: Tea Lounge Groove? Join the Samovar Tea Lounge community and we’ll send you links to three of our favorite tracks.

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Have You Tried Our Pu-erh Tea & Chocolate?

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Now’s Your Chance!

Try a flight of three top-quality pu-erhs at the Mission-Castro and Hayes/Hayes Valley Tea Lounges! This tea flight is a great opportunity to experience the complexities that make each tea uniquely delicious. And then there’s the chocolate.

Pu-erh Tea is the class of tea that is aged to perfection. It gets its name from the market of the city of Pu-erh, in Yunnan Province, China, where this tea was historically brought for sale from the more remote regions of the countryside where the tea is actually grown and processed. ?Authentic Pu-erh are made with Yunnan’s famous broad-leaf tea tree varietals. Unlike white, green, yellow, black, and most oolong teas, which are highly perishable and have a short shelf life, well-made pu-erh teas may be stored and aged for years of enjoyment.

There are two types of Pu-erh: Raw (or sheng) Pu-erh and Ripe (or shou) Pu-erh; both types of Pu-erh Tea (Raw and Cooked) are made with Sai qing “sun-cured green tea,” which is processed by withering, roasting, rolling, kneading and drying the leaves in the sun. Sheng Pu-erhs are aged naturally over time; Shou Pu-erhs are ripened using a modern, intentionally accelerated aging process.

Continue reading Have You Tried Our Pu-erh Tea & Chocolate?