Eat tea. Yes, that’s right. We love eating tea, when it comes to matcha that is. Matcha is the only tea we actually eat.
The finely milled powder from shade grown organic Japanese green tea whips up into a creamy delicious froth. And the effect? We describe it as somewhere between wheatgrass and and espresso. Caffeinated and robust, yet fresh and vegetal. Perfect for sleepy mornings or whenever you could use a boost of inspiration.
Customers thank us every day for the peace that Samovar Tea Lounge brings them. We are so grateful to be doing what we do.
But when I step back to survey the magic that happens at Samovar, I realize the real superhero is you.
You are the one who took time to meet with an old friend. You are the one set aside work to savor a dish of smoked duck and poached eggs. You are the one who chose to reach out to an estranged family member and reconnect over a pot of tea.
All we do is offer a space for the alchemy to take place.
When the weather warms up, it’s a great time to chill your teas down. Did you know there’s more than one way to make chilled tea? The most common technique is to brew tea with hot water, then pour it over ice or refrigerate it. But you can also brew tea with cold water, which extracts more sweetness and yields a smoother body.
Cold-brewed Pineapple Coconut Oolong is our favorite warm weather refreshment. With a creamy flavor, heady tropical aroma, and natural sweetness, it goes down easy on those scorcher days.
Here’s how to cold-brew tea:
Put about 2-6 teaspoons of tea in a glass jar or cup (fewer teaspoons for dense teas, more for fluffy teas like Pineapple Coconut)
Add 8 ounces of water and refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of four hours.
Sometimes when I’m at the Tea Lounges and have a moment to myself, I like to sit at a remote corner table and pretend to be a customer. Then I just observe. I never tire of watching haggard, stressed out people plop themselves down, then slowly transform as they experience our warming teas and nourishing food. Watching their eyes get clearer and suddenly seeing – actually seeing – the person sitting across the table from them, and connecting with them for one quiet moment.
As you explore the world of tea, you’ll come to a point where you want something more. Something more exotic. Something that surprises. Something so delicious that your worries melt away leaving you squarely in the present moment, a cup in your hand and a smile playing on your lips.
That’s when it’s time to brew some Samovar Gyokuro—the fine wine of Japanese green tea.
Unlike most teas, Gyokuro is grown in the shade under straw mats for about 20 days prior to harvest. This stresses the plant and as it struggles to draw energy from the sun the chemistry of the leaves change. The result is higher levels of L-Theanine, responsible for increased mental clarity and focus, and a clear resonating note of the most unique of all flavors: umami.
If you are familiar with our standard brewing instructions (steeping one to two tbs. of tea in boiling water for 15-60 seconds) you’ll have to set them aside. They won’t help you here. Gyokuro has special leaves that you need to treat with extra gentle, loving care.
Two of the most common questions we hear are “What is the best way to brew my tea?” and “How should I taste tea to get the most out of it?” The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Tea video series covers these and a number of other topics: how to judge tea quality, what tea is, information on all tea varieties, and more.
How To Taste Tea The Samovar Way
Engage all your senses as you learn the art and practice of tasting tea. Enter your email and we’ll send you details to unlock this episode, for FREE.
Agrarian society fed the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution created the tools and workforce for the Information Age. But what comes next? The pattern of change in human development is as predictable as it is disruptive. The one constant in this world is that nothing lasts forever.
So where are we headed now?
Joshua Jacobs, who works on Special Ops for us at Samovar Tea Lounge, has been a key collaborator for the last 12 months, and he has some interesting ideas on this subject. Rather than speak for him, I invited him to write a guest post here and share his perspective.
Recognize the last name? Yup, he’s my brother. But don’t think that means I’ve been easy on him—I’ve already fired him three times…
Best Practice #1: Never Trust A Best Practice
Best practices only make sense within a particular context. Applied in the wrong context, they’ll produce horrid results. The best practices at Google bear almost no resemblance to the best practices at a 3-person app development shop. Change the context and the governing rules also change, making all “best practices” worthless unless they are tailored to the situation.
And the consequences are huge. It’s why the Luddites could not stop the industrialization of their craft. It’s why telephone operators were replaced by Cisco routers. It’s why Borders and Blockbuster went bankrupt.
The Ages of our civilization don’t end; they evolve. First slowly and with incredible resistance, and then faster and faster until the cycle is complete.
The fact is, the Information Age has already evolved into a new era. How do I know? By looking at the results.
We are passionate about tea and committed to helping you find the best way to make tea a rewarding part of your life.
We often get questions about tea and we wanted to share the discussion with you so everyone can benefit. Here’s a question that came in this week from Doug in Tuscon, AZ about the difference between Samovar Tea Lounge tea and Teavana.
Subject: Samovar, Teavana, and other
Loving your website! I have been reading and learning more about tea (and coffee–go Blue Bottle). In Tucson we have an excellent Chinese Tea House and also a Teavana retail shop. However, I am curious about Samovar vs Teavana where equipment suggestions, tea ware available for purchase and the tea itself are concerned. They [Teavana] tout themselves as the ultimate in tea but in spite of finding their tea very satisfying I am not convinced that they are the true purveyors but rather a major chain doing quality work. Are you willing to speak to this? My wife and I are departing for a few days this weekend. Upon returning I will be spending more time on your site viewing the videos. Am considering the Ultimate Guide package/s. Have been reading Zen Habits for nearly a couple years now and have at least one of Leo’s books. We had a San Francisco trip planned in January that fell through. We will be making plans for a long-weekend visit as soon as we can. You are on the list of Must-See places.
Oh, also read 101 Cookbooks and Omnivore Books postings. Pitch Perfect Audio (Matt Rotunda) is one of my favorite audio shops and people in the US! I say this in hope that you understand my enthusiasm for the Bay Area and tea, as well as the sincerity of my question. It’s part of how I learn. You know, who to trust where the real information is concerned. Thanks for any help you can provide. Best, Doug (Douglas & Peggy, Tucson, AZ)
Thank you so much for taking the time to research us and to ask this great question. Tea has been growing like crazy in America, and as you can see in Tuscon, the number of options is growing quickly.
If there’s one thing I can say for certain about tea, it’s this: Tea is personal. We’ve got our opinions and perspectives, but I don’t assume they are right for everyone. Way to go for doing the research and making up your own mind on the subject.
Try a flight of three top-quality pu-erhs at the Mission-Castro and Hayes/Hayes Valley Tea Lounges! This tea flight is a great opportunity to experience the complexities that make each tea uniquely delicious. And then there’s the chocolate.
Pu-erh Tea is the class of tea that is aged to perfection. It gets its name from the market of the city of Pu-erh, in Yunnan Province, China, where this tea was historically brought for sale from the more remote regions of the countryside where the tea is actually grown and processed. ?Authentic Pu-erh are made with Yunnan’s famous broad-leaf tea tree varietals. Unlike white, green, yellow, black, and most oolong teas, which are highly perishable and have a short shelf life, well-made pu-erh teas may be stored and aged for years of enjoyment.
There are two types of Pu-erh: Raw (or sheng) Pu-erh and Ripe (or shou) Pu-erh; both types of Pu-erh Tea (Raw and Cooked) are made with Sai qing “sun-cured green tea,” which is processed by withering, roasting, rolling, kneading and drying the leaves in the sun. Sheng Pu-erhs are aged naturally over time; Shou Pu-erhs are ripened using a modern, intentionally accelerated aging process.
Have you tried all of the teas on our menu and are ready for even more tea adventures?
The Mission-Castro Tea Lounge has a new Reserve Tea Menu with limited edition teas, not available at the other locations. Tea connoisseurs of all levels will enjoy these premium teas and herbal infusions from Nepal, Thailand, Korea, Japan, and beyond. Once they sell out they’re gone for good, so enjoy them while they last!
Elections have a way of making us feel divided. With so much emphasis on our differences, we lose sight of what we share.
The truth is that we are all deeply connected. This is not an abstract idea, but a fact of life. I saw it with blinding clarity the moment I first held my son, so small, so vulnerable, so perfect. Then I imagined my father holding me, and his father before him.
The continuous chain of life is so obvious when you take the time to look.
Why do we spend so much energy defining our differences? When you boil it down we all have the same human needs: food, shelter, warmth, love.
This election, I’m voting for positive human connection; not just in those times when I’m sharing a pot of tea with people I love, but also during those inevitable situations when I’m dealing with people and we don’t see eye to eye.
Respect is nice, kind, and something you give to strangers and you’re supposed to give to your elders. It’s formal and it’s externally motivated by society and others.
Reverence is deep, spiritual, and comes from inside. It’s hard to force reverence. It’s also harder to find it. But when you look deeper, and listen harder, reverence is there. And it’s so much broader than respect.
Think about water. Water deserves reverence. This planet is over 70% water. The human body is over 70% water. Water is everywhere and yet we never even think about it. Water is life and water deserves reverence.
Looking for reverence in the little obvious areas of life, makes for some potent realizations. We brew thousands of pots of tea at Samovar every single week, and it’s easy to lose sight of the potent little things. Like water and tea. It’s so easy to make and drink tea mindlessly, to take it for granted, and to “just do it.” But once in a while we really do stop, look, and listen. Then reverence blooms.
Tea is grown and cared for thousands of miles away from San Francisco. It’s a product of the earth, the sun, the rain and the wind. Tea is raw nature, born of the earth. And what allows tea to flourish is the same as what allows us humans to flourish: earth, sun and rain. If we take a moment to appreciate this fact, and to acknowledge that good tea is possible only with good water and good earth, that’s really powerful. Tea hydrates us, and uplifts us, and supports our livelihood. Good tea is a product of caring farmers and fertile earth. So basic and obvious, and so very, very powerful. Tea nourishes us inside and it puts a roof over our head.
So take a moment and listen. Notice. Feel a reverence for tea. For your your breath. For your family. For your life.