Thoughts, ramblings, and #BTS by the L&T Editorial Staff.

A Look into Samovar Tea Lounge

Tea has been an important part of my life for the past five years. Before Toi, a design agency I co-founded, I was freelancing on my own. It was chaotic, yet exhilarating. I was twenty years old and starting a design business for the first time with so many lessons to be learned. Fortunately, the projects poured in, but the stress kept building with free time becoming vitually nonexistent. Without being consciously aware, I needed something to slow me down. Something to give me a chance to breathe.

In the winter of 2008, I was visiting San Francisco with my girlfriend. We were staying near Zen Valley and Samovar Tea Lounge was recommended to me via Twitter as a place to eat. I immediately fell in love with it as it seemed very different than any other tea shop I had been to.

The food was delicious, but best of all, the tea was exquisite and authentic. The detail of the presentation was what caught my eye most. Paper cups with lids were nowhere to be seen. Instead, you were seated with a ceramic teapot and a tiny mug on a wooden tray. The tea looked like real tea as opposed to “tea dust” in a tiny bag. It was simply high quality, unadulterated tea leaves. No wifi was offered as their policy is to connect with one another in the offline world over tea and good food. Since then, I have become passionate about tea, applied some of the tea rituals in my life, and use tea as a vehicle to focus and slow down.

Fast forward to 2012 and I am sitting down with Jesse Jacobs, the founder of Samovar Tea Lounge with our film crew. It was an absolute pleasure to talk with Jesse about tea and the story behind Samovar as it feels like I have come full circle. My hope is that tea culture will continue to increase here in the states as it allows for a more enlightened social interaction. Enjoy our interview with Jesse and if you happen to find yourself in San Francisco, visit Samovar, drink tea, reflect, and give my best to Jesse.

To learn more about Samovar Tea Lounge and their locations in San Francisco, visit

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