Drinking tea is said to ease stress, heighten mental alertness, and cause an intolerable craving for more tea. Loosen your leaves with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of tea and fare at Samovar Tea Lounge. Purchase a location-specific Groupon for one of the following two locations: Zen Valley on Page Street or Mission-Castro on Sanchez Street.
Samovar is legendary San Francisco tea shop that oozes Zen with hundreds of specialty-blended, fresh, organic, fair-trade, and herbal-infusion teas, as well as a menu of savory brunch fare and gourmet sandwiches. Pair a perky cup of litchi black tea ($8) or chilled jasmine-tea lemonade ($6) with a ginger-quinoa waffle ($11), served with fresh fruit and house-made vanilla-infused palm nectar. Wrap warmed hands around a curry egg salad and sliced fuji-apple sandwich ($10) or a fudge brownie topped with green tea mousse ($8). Samovar also indulges patrons' palates with a variety of international tea services, such as the Indian service, a spicy selection of tofu curry, basmati rice, and masala chai ($18), or the Russian service, which includes marinated beets, whitefish, caviar, and servers who are, when necessary, rushin' ($23).
The Mission-Castro location is the original Samovar, a soothing beacon of calm and contemplation. The Zen Valley location is a more-secluded tea shop, tucked in a quiet residential nook up the hill from Hayes Valley and designed in collaboration with the San Francisco Zen Center. The low-volume music, comfortable seating, and friendly staff make Samovar a perfect place to sip a cup of tea over work, enjoy long conversations, slip into extended bouts of meditation, or play a game on your phone.
Forbes.com's video network, San Francisco Magazine, and the New York Times featured Samovar. Yelpers give the Yerba Buena Gardens location and the Castro location an average of four stars each, and Citysearchers give it a five-star average rating.
Samovar Tea Lounge
Your senses seem stronger inside Samovar Tea Lounge. Warm sunlight streams through tall windows and hushed conversation mingles with the sound of tea flowing from nubbly iron kettles, their contents perfuming the air with hints of herbs, smoke, toasted rice, flowers, and revolutions in Boston. This is owner Jesse Jacobs' vision, what he describes on his website as "an escape from the overflow of information" into an intimate space for human interaction, carved out by the global ritual of sharing tea.
This global emphasis inspires an artisanal menu of small plates and sandwiches that could conceivably be served during tea services in India and Morocco, or, in a playful turn by the chef, the Paleolithic era. It is the tea, however, that enables guests to get acquainted with international terroir without sneaking small shrubs through customs. Small, family farms in countries including Kenya, Paraguay, and Nepal, many of them organic, send their whole-leaf brews to fill Samovar's carefully curated collection. Each of its three locations serves the entire menu, which is comprehensive enough to classify oolong and pu-erh separately and boast vintage blends dating back to 1989.