Connecting with Life at Samovar Tea Lounge
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images by W Brian Duncan

There was one thing I left off my list of the Best Fit Things in San Francisco. It was on purpose because it was so magical, so near and dear to my heart, that it deserved more than just a few lines in a list.

I had the glorious opportunity to visit Samovar Tea Lounge.

Samovar Tea Lounge is not just about serving the finest teas but also a philosophy of life in balance. Here is their story, the story really of founder Jesse Jacobs, from their web site:

Samovar was born from the realization that our society is focused on the wrong things. We try to so hard to be good students, to please our parents & teachers, to find security in a good career, perfect spouse, perfect kids, perfect body. Our need for security creates all these market forces where people end up becoming seduced by products that claim to give us short cuts to the good life. Along the way we become addicted to quick fixes that don’t change anything. It’s like the image of the snake eating itself. Because we can’t see the overwhelming abundance of the present moment, we consume what we can see — ourselves.

I spent years living the corporate dream and for me it was not fulfilling.

I wanted to make a difference in the world by helping people remember what it is to be human.

Samovar is an alternate reality. A place where we can step out of the rat race. A place where we invite people to slow down, to inhabit the present moment, to disconnect in order to connect.

Any of those things sound familiar?

I think that is what drew me to Samovar. I don’t believe in quick fixes either. I do believe we often pursue the wrong things, climbing the corporate ladder only to realize that it leads to nowhere. I believe most of us go through life (and workouts) without being present. I know I still struggle each day to live in the moment instead of always thinking about what comes next.

Connecting with Life at Samovar Tea Lounge
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image by W Brian Duncan

I wanted to be present on our short visit to San Francisco. I wanted to soak up every moment of the city and my time with Brian. It is, after all, rare that he and I get 3 whole days to be with each other. I didn’t want to waste a moment. It only made sense that our first stop (after checking into the hotel) would be Samovar Tea Lounge.

Luckily, the Yerba Buena Gardens location was just a few blocks away from our hotel.  It was unseasonably warm so I made the decision to have chilled Pineapple Coconut Oolong while Brian had a tea lemonade. (Lesson learned: chilled tea is better than iced because the flavor isn’t diluted.) We also had time to settle in, hold hands and refuel with a combination of egg salad and grilled tempeh sandwiches. (We like to share so we can try different dishes. Sharing is always a good portion control option but not necessary with the reasonable sized portions at Samovar.) The time we spent there allowed us to set the mood for the trip. Nothing was rushed. Nothing was overwhelming (except trying to choose our meal from so many vegetarian options).  I was ready to just BE.

Since I have the best husband in the world he agreed to have lunch the next day at Samovar as well.  We spent Saturday morning walking, walking, walking and once again we needed to regroup for an afternoon and evening of more walking, walking, walking. With the gift of another warm day, we sat outside enjoying the view of Yerba Buena Gardens and the downtown skyline.

But eating was only secondary to the scenery and the tea. All I wanted to do was sip tea and soak in the beauty of the day.  My favorite tea for savoring anything is a pu’erh. At home, I drink pu’erh teas on mornings when I don’t have to train, when I am able to sit at my desk in my fuzzy robe, writing and planning programs. As I sat in wonder of the clear San Francisco day I chose the Velvet Cacao Pu’erh. I had a whole pot to enjoy while Brian and I talked about life, photos and business.  We weren’t in a hurry and we had no agenda. We were free to just be in that very precious moment.

I am not lucky enough to be able to visit Samovar every time I need to slow down and disconnect (or reconnect). But I am lucky enough to have a selection of their teas at home.  Tea is always there to nurture my mind and body.

Do you need to slow down? Do you need some time to breath? Are you working on finding your balance?  Good tea is a powerful tool in your efforts. But make sure they are the best teas you can get, like the ones from Samovar Tea. The best teas, after all, will  satisfy the palate, energize the body and calm the soul.

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