The samovar guide to being A
Valentine’s Day Hero
Remember your very first Valentine’s Day in school?
The excitement of the holidays have passed, the New Year has begun. You’re back with your classmates and all that was new is now old and the winter doldrums are setting in. It’s going to be a long, cold slog till Summer, and then suddenly…hearts, fuzzy feelings, and the sweet smell of something new rolls in — Valentine’s Day is coming.
You spend an evening writing Valentine’s cards to all your classmates. But there’s one person who kind of lingers in your mind…
The next day you run home and dump your backpack open on the kitchen table. Tumbling out, a pile of Valentine’s cards, full of love and attention for you. Scattered about are 25 handwritten cards, all made out to YOU.
You are the absolute center of attention. 25 classmates focused on just you. Sending YOU love.
How did that feel?
One by one you read them all. Snoopy, cute kittens, hearts and cartoons, all love, for you.
And just maybe, you got a special note from someone who made your heart skip an extra beat. Was there someone who you felt that special sense of desire towards?
That might have been your first experience of “limerence,” that totally uncontrollable state of totally focused adoration and longing.
How’s your romance been lately? If you’re like most people, it feels like groundhog day, and love and romance are the last things on your mind.
These days, people are so often just doing their own thing — heads down, work-news-netflix-repeat. Not much space for connecting and feeling that wonderful warmth of other people focusing their time and attention and energy on just you.
But what would it be like to give that feeling of being the object of affection, love as expressed in kindness and focused attention, to someone else?
A massive gift of pure, total, focused attention on another person. Serving them fully with your presence.
That’s our recipe for Valentine’s Day. To get the most out of this amazing day by giving. Getting your entire body into the experience. Every sense you’ve got. And this is our guide for how to do it.
The Samovar Guide to Being a Valentine’s Day Hero
In this time of Covid we’re more starved for human connection than ever. We’re feeling “touch deprived,” and loneliness and isolation are getting us down like never before.
That’s why this Valentine’s Day it’s a perfect opportunity to change the routine. To do something different. To give love in a new way that helps heal our isolation.
In fact, because we’ve been so isolated, we are especially susceptible to the emotional rollercoaster of limerence, rolling between extreme ecstasy to hopeless despair. Because of the state of society and isolation, there’s a high level of hope for a better future and uncertainty, making us more susceptible. All the more reason to begin this day balanced, present, and level headed.
Because you know that awesome feeling of doting attention, let today be the day you offer yourself up in service.
Introduction: You & Me and a Cup of Tea
Give focused time, and a pot of tea too.
For many of us, for many reasons, we can’t spend Valentine’s Day in person with the object of our affection. But you can show how much you care by setting aside some time for a synchronized tea time.
To make it extra special, you might want to send a tea gift like Tea Kit #2: You and Me and A Cup of Tea. It’s a beautiful boxed set complete with five bags of tea that will last for months, a durable, elegant, perfect glass teapot, and a beautifully printed how-to guide. And it’s all wrapped up in a luxurious, big red box nearly 18” wide.
If you’re sharing space with your special somebody, hand them over this box. And then dedicate the day with focused attention, tea, and some delicious (and healthy) treats.
Read on for a roadmap to create the perfect day for romance and loving attention. These instructions come straight from our teahouses, where we’ve been delivering romance in a teacup since 2002.
To make for a really special time we’ve created this guide. It’ll set the tone for love and attention. Follow the steps below, and ”feel good hormones” will flood your body and your partners, leaving you giddy, hydrated, saturated, and connected. Let tea be your guide today.
Part 1: The Fast Path to Sensual Delight (aka A Happy Beginning)
Sensuality starts in the brain. And the fastest path to the brain is through the nose.
And it just so happens that aroma and sexual pleasure are closely related. Just imagine what heat is possible after a steaming cup of spicy masala chai to start the day?
Your partner rolls over, eyes still shut, as a sultry aroma tickles their nose. What is that insanely good smell!?
Barely awake, they follow their nose into the kitchen. Spicy, creamy, sweet, and a touch earthy. And there you are. Smiling. Stirring. Standing over the culprit — a simmering pot of fresh Masala Chai.
Ginger, cinnamon cloves and black tea fill your home. Your partner grins a deep, gratitude-filled smile. They sigh happily. Nodding… “Yessssss!”
And these feelings are backed by science that says these spices can be proven to turn on love hormones, promoting blood flow and increasing testosterone.
And all in a single mug of homemade chai.
They salivate. You salivate. The day is off to a nice start. Score one point for delivering the first smile of the day 🙂
When you make chai at home the aroma saturates your house with the smell of these sweet and earthy spices just like in our San Francisco teahouses. You can make a classic caffeine-laden Masala Chai, or try a decadent decaf option with Rooibos Chai (Ocean of Wisdom), golden milk version (Turmeric Tonic), or dandelion root chai. Can’t be there in person? Just send them a chai brewing kit and they can make their own love in a mug, thinking of you the whole time.
Homemade Chai Recipe
Makes 2 mugs of chai
Dissolve 2 Tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice in 2 cups boiling water.
Add 2-3 tablespoons chai blend and boil uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add 2 cups milk (or milk substitute). Bring to a near boil, then turn off the heat as it begins to bubble.
Let sit covered, for 5 minutes. Strain and enjoy!
Bake Something Buttery
Since opening day in San Francisco in 2002, we’ve been homemade scones to complement our tea lineup to ecstatic morning folk every day. Buttery, flaky, and just the right sweetness to enjoy with a hot, spicy sip of chai.
Bite. Sip. Bite. Sip. Warm. Spice. Yum.
Most importantly, you don’t need to master the butter churner position to enjoy the yumminess of butteriness in the morning. Our scones are best when hot, so get your oven warmed up and follow our teahouse recipe below to serve these alongside a mug of chai
Homemade Cherry Oat Scones w/ Flake Salt (Makes 6 scones)
- Flour 2 cups
- Raw Sugar 1/8 cup
- Baking Powder 3 Tsp
- Dried Cherries 1/4 cup
- Lemon zest 1/2 lemons
- Cold Butter 1/4 LB
- Heavy Cream 3/4 cups
- Buttermilk 1/4 cup
- Honey 1/8 cup
- Vanilla Extract 2 Tsp
- Eggs 2 Each
- Egg Yolk 3
- Raw Sugar 1 TBSP
- Maldon salt 1 TBSP
- Oats 1 TBSP
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, raw sugar and baking powder. Mix well.
In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, honey and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
Add cherries and lemon zest to the dry ingredients.
Using a paring knife cut the cold butter into small 1/4” cubes, add the cubed butter and the dry ingredients. Ensure the butter is cold.
Lightly mix the cold butter into the dry ingredients, be sure NOT to over mix. Keep the butter in small chunks.
Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, use a fork to mash together all ingredients.
Once the dough looks mostly wet, use your hands to complete the folding of ingredients.
Form the well combined dough into a ball and flatten into a patty about 2 ½ inches in height.
Cut dough into 4-8 triangles.
Place the triangles of dough onto two cookie sheets.
In a small bowl combine whisk together the egg yolks.
In a separate small bowl combine the topping dry ingredients: raw sugar, Maldon salt and oats.
Brush each triangle with the egg yolks and evenly distribute the dry topping over top of each triangle.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375°F, then rotate cookie sheets 180°and lower oven temp to 350°. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
Remove when golden brown, place on the rack to cool. Better yet, eat while hot!
Now that you’re on a roll, don’t stop with chai and scones. Take a cue from the images below for a scrumptious and healthy start to the day. Avocado toast? Poached eggs with smoked salmon and brown rice? Let these images guide you with some creative ways to create a tasty and healthy breakfast. Remember, today is about focused attention on your special person. And you will turn on their whole body with these nutritious and delicious dishes.
Listen to you Valentine
Now that you’ve jumpstarted your day with tea energy and insanely delicious Samovar classics, do NOT stop.
Keep your phone out of site and continue to be present. Talk. Listen actively. With full attention.
Brew another pot of tea. Let this next brew be something deep and immersive and energizing. Like Four Seasons Oolong, or California Rose. Both these teas have sensual, floral notes and lingering, complex flavors. Great for steeping many times.
Four Seasons is a bit more grassy and tropical. California rose has cardamom, citrus, and wild rose to soothe the mind and mood and pave the way for focused attention. (Both these teas come with the You and Me Tea Kit #2).
The caffeine will energize your afternoon, and set you up for some mindful touch. Remember, how you touch can actually signal to your partner your emotional state. So touch with presence and kindness.
As an exercise, try touching in a way you’ve never done before. As you touch their cheek, or hand, maintain your gaze with total focused attention. Total awareness at the sensations on your fingertips.
Notice: what do you feel? This is a simple, profound practice that has roots in tantra.
The feeling of their warm skin where your bodies touch. What do you notice?
Inhale their aroma. What do you smell?
Mindful touch has wonderful benefits when it comes to setting the stage for sensuality.
After all, what is love? Simply put, it’s pure, focused attention, to oneself, one another, the world outside.
You don’t need expensive, fancy gifts. Just slow down and try touching with total mindfulness. Be gentle and patient and see what happens. No expectation.
Take time to go for a walk without your cell phone and continue to just be present. Don’t worry about filling the space with endless chatter. Just be present with whatever comes up.
Part 3: Candles as the Sun Sets
You spent the whole day serving your special person. With considerate, mindful attention, you were there, present without any expectations.
Now the dark of night comes rolling in to envelop you both. To take you to a different space.
The sun is setting. Time to set the mood with a candle or two and maybe some incense.
You started the day by tantalizing your partner with the intoxicating smell of spiced chai and buttery scones. You spent the afternoon energized and activated on oolong and black tea. You didn’t give up. Perhaps you offered some gentle, focused, intimate touch. Maybe you went for a walk outside, leaving your phone at home.
And your special person is beside themselves. Who wants flowers and chocolate when they’ve experienced this? Total presence for an entire day. A luxury.
They’re enjoying your gift of time, and now the sun has set. Time to change up things a bit and get cozy and spicy. This chilly winter day would best be warmed with some Golden Milk, or a touch of alcohol perhaps? Try any of these evening recipes to lubricate your evening.
Our Turmeric Golden Milk recipe, a non-alcoholic decaf chai, is energizing and relaxing at the same time. And because it’s caffeine free it won’t keep you up longer than you want. The sweet, creamy earthiness of turmeric is a perfect kickoff to your evening, and the ginger is a natural stimulant.
To make your own Turmeric Golden Milk, just follow the Masala Chai recipe above and substitute Turmeric Tonic (or Turmeric Gold) as the tea of choice.
Turmeric Golden Milk (see recipe above)
If you’re in the mood for something with a bit of alcohol, try any of these classics. The toddy is hot and spicy to warm you up. The Negroni on the rocks is cold and refreshing.
Tea Hot Toddy
Cozy, spicy, and a touch sweet. These decaf tea hot toddy’s warm up your evening. The citrus kick of the bergamot makes the Rooibos toddy spicy and citrusy. Try making the Turmeric toddy with our Turmeric Spice, Turmeric Gold, or Turmeric Tonic for ginger-spice variations on a turmeric toddy. And, both bergamot and ginger are both know for their sex drive benefits.
- 2 Tbsp Turmeric Spice or Rooibos Earl Grey or any turmeric blend
- 10 oz hot water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 crushed cardamom pod
- 1 ½ oz good quality whiskey (We like a Bay Area local, Spirit Works Straight Rye. You can also use rum or brandy)
- 2 Tsp honey
- Orange wedge (cara cara oranges are our favorites)
In a Vivid Teapot teapot add the tea. Fill the teapot (10 oz) with boiling water. Steep for 4 minutes.
Fill your teacup with hot water to pre warm it.
When your tea is done brewing, empty your warm teacup, and fill it with the steeped tea.
Add 2 teaspoons honey and stir to dissolve.
Top off drink with cinnamon stick, star anise, and cardamom pod.
Garnish with the orange and love it up!
Hibiscus Bliss Negroni
The perfect blend of bitter, sweet, and tart. Negroni is it, but made even better when the gin is infused with our Hibiscus Bliss. A scrumptious and refreshing take on the classic negroni. Another great red herbal that infused well in gin is our Cranberry Eucalyptus.
- 4 Tbsp Hibiscus Bliss
- 16 oz Gin (We like St. George for something local and artisanal)
- (Strain gin before using)
- 1 oz (1 part) Campari
- 1 oz (1 part) Hibiscus Gin
- 1 oz (1 part) Sweet red Vermouth
Stir into glass over ice, garnish and serve.
HIBISCUS GIN PREPARATION
Prepare Hibiscus Gin by adding Hibiscus Bliss to 16 oz gin and shake vigorously. Let sit for four hours+. (You can leave the tea in the gin indefinitely)
Notes about a Negroni: It should be served on the rocks, with an orange peel twist, in an Old Fashioned glass.
Remember – don’t get sidetracked with any distractions. Today is about your focused attention. Let the evening continue the day’s efforts of just “being present” to your partner. Don’t get lazy. Leave your phone off and out of site. Don’t get into your work. Just see what happens when you spend this whole day, delivering the ultimate gift: total presence.
Let us know how this day turned out for you. We would love your feedback!