Like steam engines and cryogenically frozen sea monkeys, tea leaves come to life with just a little hot water. Harness the transformative power of hydration with today’s Groupon: for $25, you get $55 worth of artisan whole-leaf tea and café fare at Samovar Tea Lounge. This Groupon is valid at Mission-Castro and Zen Valley locations.
The chefs at each tranquil Samovar Tea Lounge whip up wholesome, globally inspired café eats to fill bellies and soak up sips of organic, artisan whole-leaf tea from family farms. Wake up a sleepy tongue with the ginger-quinoa waffle, served with house-made vanilla-infused palm nectar ($11), or snack on the mini Moorish platter, which combines hummus, greek-yogurt dips, and herbed crackers shaped to spell Catalan poetry ($10). Tea service pairs international tea with bites that represent the same flag, such as the Japanese service, which marries a smoked-salmon maki bowl, soup, and brown rice green tea ($22). An ample menu of black, oolong, white, green, herbal, and pu-erh tea satiate even the most esoteric cravings, and creative sweets ($5–$17) stymie the urge to swallow entire honeycombs.
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.