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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.

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Tea Appreciation Day

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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.

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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.

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Samovar Featured in The American City Business Journals

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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