“At its three locations around the city, Samovar Tea Lounge has mastered what many restaurants aspire to but which few achieve. More than just a business, it’s a lifestyle. Denizens here aren’t just cooks, waiters, baristas, and regulars — they’re ‘Ambassadors’ on a ‘mission to create peace through tea.’
“Samovar’s approach involves sourcing small batch, organic teas at fair trade prices from artisan family farmers, educating the public on the benefits of tea, and promoting traditional tea culture through the restaurants, events, and extensive Web site, Samovarlife.com. While the globally-inspired menu offers choices from dinner to brunch, small plates to dessert, the star is the tea, which Samovar implores you “sip slowly, filling you with calm and vitality.”
Join us for a special brunch this coming Sunday at Samovar Yerba Buena as we welcome the deep and spirited sounds of Six Degrees recording artist Jef Stott.
Jef Stott has consistently been at the forefront of the International Global Electronica movement for over a decade as a composer/performer and DJ. His DJ sets stylistically span the globe with sonorities from Arabia, Africa, South Asia and Northern Africa.
Stott will have with him an arabic stringed instrument called an oud(pron.ood) which he will play while mixing sounds of his own, and fellow six degrees artists’.
It will be a fantastic afternoon of live music, amazing teas, and delicious Samovar brunch!
Please join the Samovar Team, and several game-changing Fair Trade folks, for a fun and informative Q&A. Speakers will represent all facets of the Fair Trade movement from suppliers, to certifiers, to retailers, and farmers.
The following companies will offer samples of their exceptional fair trade products: Alter Eco Olive Oil, Frontier Herbs and Spices, La Yapa Quinoa, Tcho Chocolate, Swoonbeams Chocolate, and others. The Fair Trade Gala marks the launch of Samovar’s line of Fair Trade Teas. Tastings of our latest line will be available as well as other Samovar favorites. Sweet and savory snacks will also be provided.
Speakers include executives from the Fair Trade Certifying organization TransFair, amongst other trailblazers in the Fair Trade movement.
We created Samovar to make the intriguing world of tea approachable and affordable. Tea’s inherent values also guide our efforts to encourage community, vitality, and equanimity.
The Blossoming of Three Samovars
The first Samovar Tea Lounge, at the corner of Sanchez Street and 18th Street, in the Mission-Castro neighborhood, opened in 2001, during the peak of the Dot-com bust.
Samovar Mission-Castro became a soothing beacon of calm and contemplation, in a city that skeptics thought might never recover.
Samovar Yerba Buena
Per the request of the City of San Francisco, Samovar Tea Lounge Yerba Buena opened April, 2006, enlivening the shuttered and defunct space that had housed a failed Starbucks. Samovar Yerba Buena is a garden oasis, resting above an urban waterfall in the heart of the city. Nested beneath the city’s skyscrapers, Samovar satisfies downtown workers, tourists, and convention-goers with an escape from the city’s frenzy.
Samovar Hayes Valley
Samovar Hayes Valley is a collaboration with the premier U.S. Zen institution: the San Francisco Zen Center.
At the corner of Laguna and Page Streets, our latest tea lounge was opened because the neighborhood needed a Samovar—especially during 2009’s economic chaos and turmoil. Tucked in a quiet residential nook, up the hill from Hayes Valley, Samovar Hayes Valley is our most exciting location yet.
This most recent project continues our history of converting old-school coffee shops into tranquil spaces that provide a modern offering of tea.
One of the funniest ironies about technology and improvement is that as we make giant technological leaps ever day, and get ever more “connected,” we are at the same time we are also getting more disconnected from each other and the world. Author Bill McKibbons wrote recently in Mother Jones Magazine that ever since 1956, the “Happiness Index” of Americans has been going down. How can this be, amidst an ever improving “standard of living,” that we are getting progressively unhappy?
It’s because we are flesh and blood and that until that changes, like attracts like, and we need to be amongst flesh and blood, ie. other humans. We’ve become lonely and isolated, constantly digitally connected, and yet physically remote from each other.
Tea is the perfect social lubricant for greasing the pathways of a beautiful community. Ask any good psychologist and they’ll tell you that perhaps the strongest need of a human is the need to belong to a community. We need community to survive. That’s what makes Samovar Tea Lounge so special. Tea is about making a delicious, warm, satisfying pot of something special for someone special. It is about taking time out of your daily routine to breathe, see, touch, talk, and rejoice the simple pleasures of being human, among other humans.
What ever happened to the simple act of conversing in person? Nowadays most conversations take place over instant chat, email, phone messages, or cell phone. But while we’re still made of atoms, we still innately crave to be touched, hugged, and caressed. Have a pot of tea with someone you care about, and touch them. Talk to them. Savor their human-ness, and connect.
After all, what’s the point of it all? I think few people, when on their deathbeds, ask how much money they are leaving in their bank accounts. Instead, I’d reason the more common question is, “What did I do that mattered?” And what matters is what kind of influence you exerted in life. And that often comes down to the bonds you’ve fostered. The community of human bonds. And it just so turns out that business is a phenomenal means for creating and fostering our human bonds.
Business is nothing but the forging of human bonds.
And as business philosopher Peter Koestenbaum wrote in Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness : “Business is above all a vehicle for achieving personal and organization greatness. It is for accomplishing something worthy and noble. Business is an institution that can enable you to make a significant contribution to society.”