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Topic: High-tech Oolong supporters

I read an article in Wired Magazine several weeks back that talked about how some influential dot commers have gotten really into tea, like Kevin Rose from Digg and Tim Ferriss of the 4 Hour Workweek blog (a personal fav of mine!).  I think these young guys can really help tea expand its audience.

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/04/tech-millionair/

In some blog post somewhere, I read that there is some affiliation between Kevin Rose and Samovar Tea in the Bay Area.  I'm very intrigued by an artisan teahouse (with multiple locations!) that attracts what seems to be a young and loyal fan base.  Has anyone here tried Samovar teas?  In particular, their oolongs?  I saw on their site that they have an exclusive Muzha TGY that sells for $225/1.6 ounces, whose pricing beats out even the most legendary, award-winning oolongs that I both have or have seen.  Such a teahouse with such exquisite offerings may definitely be a place I need to visit soon.


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Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

I have seen the website of Samovar teas which is http://samovarlife.com/ if anyone is interested.

I do have an opinion, but I have never been there or tried any of their teas. So, like all of my opinions, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

It seems to me like Jesse who owns the place is an excellent businessman and understands marketing. I cannot tell whether or not he understands tea. My impression from watching all of his youtube videos is that he does not. He seems to have trouble remembering basic facts about tea and has a lot of trouble pronouncing pu'er for example.

I also think that his high prices may just be a reflection of the area and his clientele. San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US, and his target audience seems to be those who are very receptive of the latest fad and willing to spend to be part of it. I also read somewhere about Samovar Tea lounge offering a $50 "gyokuro shot" Which seems extremely expensive even in the most expensive tea was used.

Of course all of my doubts are based on what I have read or seen online, and I have no personal experience.  I would love to hear the opinion of someone who has actually been. Did you notice that it is also a restaurant, and not just a tea house?

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

I have also not been there. With that said, I would imagine that that your [Rtea] legendary, award-winning teas are probably better than their $225/1.6 oz one.

If anyone would like to send me a sample of Samovar's $2250/lb tea, I'll be happy to provide my "expert" opinion on it. :> Until then, I'll let Kevin Rose have it.

Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

Thanks for the replies guys.  Samovar came to my attention yesterday when I saw Keviin Rose's "Tea" group on Facebook.  He has nearly 17,000 fans, which is what caught my attention.  I'll take a look at some of their videos later this week.  Thanks for the honest feedback.

I know TGY pricing prety well and I've yet to come across anything here that would retail for even close to $2200/lb.  Then again, price aside, if it's really as exquisite as it sounds, I may be willing to spring for a sample, but for that price, I'd rather have a good, aged, charcoal Anxi TGY.

On a side-note, I was in contact with my DD teacher last week.  If I can (a) make it back to Taiwan this winter and (b) save enough money to buy between 50-70 lbs of tea, he would be willing to make a batch of charcoal-roasted Dong Ding, traditional style, for me.  I'm crossing my fingers that I can do it, which would mean good charcoal-roasted tea for everyone!


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5 (edited by brandon 2009-05-15 11:15:47)

Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

The video on how to use a teastick, and finding one that is not infected with BPA is trying enough.
If you still think Kevin Rose is a good spokesman for tea, enjoy this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8NCTzZPLK8

Maybe I should be more optimistic and say, if more people are drinking any tea any way they want, great.

Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

Wow, that is the first time I've heard of pu-erh ginger.  Interesting....

Since his is audience is not the experienced, traditional-style Asian tea drinker, I feel that he has the ability - and influence - to help more people learn to appreciate what we do.  It'll help some of these small teashops with great product stay open, too.


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Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

Here is a link for a 'world tea news' page with a lot of video interviews. The first is with Kevin Rose, the others are with people from a farmer's alliance

http://www.worldteanews.com/index.php/I … s-Tea.html

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

Samovar tea looks like your typical trendy tea place that is low on quality and high of style, and of course, very high on price.  But it still beats Teavana.

I'm sure some of us tea suckers will be happy to chip in for some of that special roasted Dong Ding, if you're not thinking of drinking those 70lb of tea on your own :)


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Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

MarshalN wrote:

Samovar tea looks like your typical trendy tea place that is low on quality and high of style, and of course, very high on price.  But it still beats Teavana.

I'm sure some of us tea suckers will be happy to chip in for some of that special roasted Dong Ding, if you're not thinking of drinking those 70lb of tea on your own :)

count me in.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

MarshalN wrote:

I'm sure some of us tea suckers will be happy to chip in for some of that special roasted Dong Ding, if you're not thinking of drinking those 70lb of tea on your own :)

Thanks for the support.  I actually think it will be more like 120 lbs.  My teacher has agreed to find someone to help with the roasting.  My terms would be that I get to help, the tea base has to be robust enough to withstand the charcoal (and strong/good enough for aging) and it must be made with a specific type of wood charcoal over controlled, low heat (no rushing it).  We'll see if I can make it happen within a year.

Re: High-tech Oolong supporters

Yeah, you should be spending at least a week in intense heat looking at the leaves cook :)

If there's any choice in this, I'd suggest going with leaves that are not rolled too tightly.  Some people roast teas that are rolled too tight and I find it gets sour very easily.