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ABC News The View from the Bay talks tea and food pairing with Samovar’s Jesse Jacobs

The View from the Bay features Samovar Teas!Watch ~
“Delicious tea and food pairings.
Pick the perfect food to bring out delicious flavors in antioxidant rich tea.”
Aired: Friday, February 12, 2010

ABC News Channel 7’s The View from the Bay tastes, talks, and pairs tea and food with Samovar Tea Lounge founder Jesse Jacobs.

Tea & Food Pairings featured in the segment:

White Tea: Poached eggs, buttered sour dough toast with honey, sauted greens, steamed veggies, and desserts like vanilla ice cream and flan all help to bring out the subtle floral sweetness of this beautiful Chinese White tea.

Puerh Tea: Quiche, omelettes, nutella on toast, bittersweet chocolate, robust red wine and cheese, and spicy foods all pair really well with this earthy, espresso-like aged Chinese tea.

Green Tea: The succulent, floral, aromatic quality of jasmine flowers blended with organic, fair trade Chinese green tea pairs really well with rich, robust, smoky, heavy foods. Brioche French Toast, bacon, smoked fish, huevos rancheros, red meat, baked swordfish, sauteed onions and garlic are all ingredients and flavors that pair greatly with this tea.

Tea & Health:
• Seasonal, whole leaf Tea is healthy, as it’s got less caffeine than coffee, loads of antioxidants, and a natural, fresh delicious taste that comes only with artisanal whole leaf leaves sourced from small family farms around the globe.

• It’s soothing, and simultaneously uplifting, actually known to stimulate the same brain waves that yoga and meditation do!

• And, organic, Fair Trade tea is good for the environment as it is sustainably harvested from small scale family farms.

• Tea is romantic, and perfect for valentine’s day. Bring health and clarity to life and your loved one by giving them artisanal tea.

• Tea is easy. Brewing whole leaf tea is simple and fun, just add a pinch of fresh tea leaves to hot water, steep, and enjoy.

• Tea is about connecting: Living today in our modern world people have the need to connect, slow down, and take time for appreciating life. Tea delivers that.

Romance Tea Set featured in segment, $79

About Samovar Tea Lounge:

•    It raises the bar as the first tea company to launch an unprecedented eco-friendly packaging design consisting of 100% compostable materials. Recognized for its award-winning tea menu and leading role in the burgeoning American tea movement, Samovar develops innovative eco-conscious solutions for everyday small business needs.

•    Samovar’s ingenious packaging utilizes 100% post-consumer cardboard for its exterior shell and a wood pulp fiber liner to retain maximum freshness of their handcrafted teas.

•    A pioneering Bay Area green business, Samovar proudly introduces a sustainable container that, if composted, would turn to soil within a couple of months. The new container will be available in 2010.

•    Samovar holds an exclusive partnership with Eva Lee and Chiu Leng of the Hawaii Tea Society as they will supply artisan tea made in America.

•    Samovar’s goal is to further put America on the map for the production of premium artisan tea. After eight years of continual farming in Volcano Village on the Big Island, Samovar is the first mainland outlet to feature the limited edition Hawaii-Grown Oolong and Hawaii-Grown Black Tea, which was released on September 1, 2009.

•    Samovar recently prepared a custom tea blend for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The tea is named after The Dalai Lama himself, its titled Ocean of Wisdom. The tea accompanied The Dalai Lama as he presented “The Missing Peace” project at various art institutions across the U.S. Ocean of Wisdom is available for purchase at Samovar’s three Bay Area locations and online.

•    Samovar is the exclusive retailer of “Gyokuro Inoka Hill,” which took 1st Place in the All Japanese Gyokuro Tea Competition last year. No one else in the world sells this tea, not even any retailers in Japan. It’s for only politicians and dignitaries in Japan, and Samovar customers.

•    Almost all Samovar teas are organic and fair trade certified.

•    Samovar utilizes many eco-friendly sustainability practices in their design and building efforts. They use many reclaimed and renewable resources as they design new locations. Their latest locale features a 1200 year-old, 20-foot naturally wind fallen redwood tree from Marin, CA serving as the tea bar.

•    All tables are from wind fallen old growth trees, and the FSC certified wood flooring comes from sustainably managed US forests. All the metal work utilizes materials from turn of the century food processing facilities.

•    Samovar allocates 1% of their profits to an education budget for standout employees to travel to other countries to research new teas firsthand, attend national industry and restaurant conventions, and take tea education classes.

Watch the entire ABC News Channel 7 The View from the Bay Video.

Media Contact:
Jesse Cutler, Samovar: (415) 655-3431 / [email protected]

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Three Recommendations And A Petition

Drinking Tea on the Terrace at Samovar Yerba Buena
Drinking Tea on the Terrace at Samovar Yerba Buena

We are happily spoiled in the San Francisco Bay Area when it comes to tea, and all the more so because we have three fabulous Samovar Tea Lounges to choose from.  Having even one would be a great boon to any town, but three?  Wow… Or ‘Yum,’ I’m not sure which.

Although I haven’t tried everything on the Samovar menu, I can recommend some favorites. First, the Tea Soup is a celestial creation.  It’s simple, healthy, flavorful, and comes with a half pot of Houjicha green tea (the first half pot is actually poured by the server over the soup bowl which is filled with rice, veggies, wakame, and shitake mushrooms).  It’s elegant, healthy, whimsical, and delicious—everything we look for in fine Bay Area cuisine.

Another Samovar Delight: Tofu Curry with Raita and Spiced Basmati Rice
Another Samovar Delight: Tofu Curry with Raita and Spiced Basmati Rice

I’ve also been sensually hijacked by the Braised Tofu Over Spring Greens, which, like the Tea Soup, stands out for its natural simplicity and vegetarian fabulousness.  Covered with a tarragon-balsamic vinaigrette, this salad is a filling but light meal that satisfies even those who seem to need protein every two hours.

The last time I had this, I paired it with the Phoenix Oolong, which is as carefully handcrafted as the sumptuous salad.

Any meal is not complete in my world unless it is followed by something sweet. I have wanted to try something other than the Cherry Oat Scones with Devonshire Cream & Jam, but to no avail.  These scones are so delicious, I would have to simultaneously place an order of these to wrap up and take home with me so I might feel it to be a sensible risk to try another sweet. Even still, I would feel a bit like a defector, and my loyalty is always on the side of clotted cream.  But this defection has not yet happened because of the following ditty (and a rather pithy protest of sorts):

There is this one last item to mention, more as an appeal than as a recommendation, because, alas, Jesse has taken the Earl Grey Bread Pudding (italics mine, in place of sophomoric exclamation points) off the menu.

More deliciousness: Salmon Jook with nori, fried garlic, sweet potato, and more!
More deliciousness: Salmon Jook with nori, fried garlic, sweet potato, and more!

Seeing as the internet is socially viral, I’d like to take this opportunity to start a formal petition to get this item back on the printed page and onto our plates as soon as it is humanly possible to do so.

I brought a food and wine editor from Chronicle Books to Samovar a year or so ago just to share this little piece of Nirvana, and after taking just a few bites she asked if I thought Jesse might be interested in a cookbook deal (which he was not, because apparently he was putting all his resources and energy into out-doing himself with the now Chocolate Chip Brioche bread pudding).

Chocolate is fine, but this is a tea lounge, Jesse, and we want the Earl Grey Bread Pudding back, don’t we folks?  Fill the S.T.L. e-mailbox with your request to bring this item back:  [email protected]  There.  Go ahead and do it.  Show them the muscle and integrity of your culinary citizenship.

In the meantime, the scones are not a mere consolation prize.  You may as well enjoy them for any occasion, short of celebrating the return of the Earl Grey Bread Pudding.  They go well with just about any tea….

Jennifer Leigh Sauer for Samovar Life

Jennifer Leigh Sauer, is a freelance photographer, award-winning video journalist, and author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of The Way to Tea: Your Adventure Guide to San Francisco Tea Culture (2007). Click here to reach her by email.