San Francisco’s "Third Wave" of Tea

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

Samovar's Tea Crucibles | Facebook

Samovar's Tea Crucibles | Facebook

In a culture where coffee reigns supreme, the simple pleasure of hot tea is often overlooked.   

San Francisco teashop owner Jesse Jacobs argues that while coffee has become an American obsession, tea still suffers from an image problem with many people’s perceptions of the beverage as weak and bland.  Samovar has been actively working to improve tea’s reputation and has amassed quite a tea empire in San Francisco, opening teashops throughout the city. 

Jacobs’ newest addition, Samovar, was conceived as a lounge that would offer sit-down tea services to guests alongside artisanal tea to-go, sourced from small producers around the world.   While some restaurant programs have begun elevating tea through elaborate tableside tea programs, such as New York’s three-Michelin star Eleven Madison Park, Samovar is one of the first concepts dedicated to making tea a part of a consumers’ daily habits.    

Jacobs hopes to see tea evolve much as coffee has in the past, through three separate waves.  For coffee, first came Folgers, then Starbucks, and finally the third wave of coffee found in local, urban coffee hotspots.  This third wave coffee was also marked by consumers’ growing obsession with tiny details concerning not just the quality of the coffee beans but also the overall brew process, water temperature and extraction method.  With tea, Jacobs identifies Lipton as the first wave and Teavana as the second, yet a third wave amongst consumers has been slow to begin.  Jacobs hopes that through Samovar’s innovative tea program, it will help to usher in the third wave of tea.   

Will tea become San Francisco’s next big beverage trend?  Read More