Friday, June 20, 2014

High Tech Tea Bar in San Francisco

In the chicest of chic San Francisco neighborhoods has appeared a chic and tech savvy tea bar.   Opened just since June 12th, the Samovar Tea Bar is located on Valencia St. in the Mission district.  This shop combines precision machines and computer technology with high quality teas and a zen-like decor.   I’ve been in three times since its opening and each time had a perfect cup of tea.

Everything about the bar is minimalist - its airy contemporary interior design, the simplicity of its clean white finishes, its natural wood and stone surfaces.  There’s not much seating to be found, what little there is is essentially a stone bench – not exactly conducive to lingering.  There are only 9 tea options, each as single servings.  Even the food menu is concise – just two scone options, sweet or savory.  This minimalism along with the technology used to prepare the tea, heightens the focus on the tea itself.
Innovative tea technology is used at the brewing stations.  A series of Android tablet controlled Steampunk machines by Alpha Dominche line the bar. These machines (a.k.a. crucibles) are sleek, elegant, glass and steel devices.  The customer can watch the precision brewing in action as steam is injected into water from below to heat it to the correct temperature before brewing to the precisely allotted time.  It was fascinating to watch the machines in action.  And here’s a photo of my freshly brewed English Breakfast.
This tea bar should not to be confused with the tea lounges in other parts of the City by the same owner since the Samovar Tea Bar is a distinctly different experience.  While the lounges promote a lingering intimate tea experience with cushioned plush seating, a long list of teas served brewing in pots of several servings, and a food service; the bar distills the essence of a tea moment into a streamlined, single serve, no meal operation that taps into the artisanal yet tech savvy clientele of the Bay Area.

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