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Mindfulness Tea

Now Serving Up Mindfulness in a Cup

By now you’re probably familiar with the many benefits of mindfulness and meditation—better sleep, feeling happier, less stress, less anxiety, less pain, to name a few—but if you’re like me, and many of our guests, you’ve might have struggled to get started. Or, you might have dabbled but struggled to develop a practice that sticks.

The tradition of drinking tea and the practice of meditation have been intertwined for thousands of years with ritual tea service helping practitioners stay focused for hours on end. When I opened Samovar in 2002, I was inspired to create a new kind of tea house—an urban sanctuary where everyday folks could retreat from the daily stresses of modern life, find nourishment with tea and a delicious meal and emerge recharged and re-centered.

Over the years, I’ve practiced mindfulness and meditation with varying degrees of personal commitment and shared the tips and strategies that have helped me the most. If it weren’t for these centering practices I don’t think I could have sustained the many trials of running a business of nearly 100 employees these sixteen years, and counting.

After returning from a 10-day silent meditation not long ago, I was struck yet again by how frenetic the pace of modern life has become. People seem more time-starved than ever, more frustrated, more angry, and even more sad. We seem to be constantly deferring appreciating our present in favor of some never arriving future moment of peace.

And so, during our recent management retreat, our team brainstormed and came up with a brand new menu offering that we’re calling “Mindfulness Tea”.

Visit our tea lounge at Yerba Buena Gardens (before 10 am) or our 411 Valencia St. or 1910 Fillmore St. tea houses (before 8 am) and when you ask for the “Mindfulness Tea” we’ll serve up a complimentary cup of the house-selected tea or herbal. What’s the catch? Our only request is that you power down your digital distractions and settle in for 60 minutes of a quiet, tea drinking meditation.


“Mindfulness isn’t difficult,
we just need to remember to do it.”

– Sharon Salzberg


How to Take Part in Mindfulness Tea

Visit our San Francisco teahouse and tea lounge locations:

  • 411 Valencia St. tea house before 8:00 am
  • 1910 Fillmore St. tea house before 8:00 am
  • Yerba Buena Gardens tea lounge before 10:00 am.

Ask for “Mindfulness Tea” and get a house-selected tea — for free.

If you like, choose add-ons and food items at normal rates.

For 60 minutes, focus your attention on being fully present:

  1. Power off all your devices and stow them completely out of sight
  2. Put away all books and notebooks
  3. Refrain from talking or making any unnecessary noise unless there is an emergency
  4. Your meditation starts now!
    • Bring your attention and focus to all the visual inputs and physical sensations —touch, sound, smell — as your order is prepared. When you notice yourself thinking, or your attention wandering, imagine laying your thoughts on leaves and setting the leaves in a stream that carries them away. Bring your attention back to the experience at hand.
    • When your order is ready, observe your food and tea as if for the first time: notice the colors, shapes, textures, aromas.
    • As you eat your meal and drink your tea, focus your attention on the exquisite physical sensations that arise. Notice mouthfeel, flavoring, initial taste, and lingering aftertaste. Close your eyes and feel the tea’s warmth permeate your being. Inhale the aromas fully and deeply.
    • If you find your mind wandering again, recognize but don’t judge. Just bring your attention back to the moment, back to the physical sensations in your body as you enjoy your Mindfulness Tea.