Samovar began hosting a Mindfulness Tea last summer at two of its four locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and this offering has benefited customers and business alike. The Mindfulness Tea is one of the ways in which Samovar demonstrates its mission to be an urban sanctuary.
Samovar will give customers a free cup of tea and the only requirements are that the customers turn off all devices and put them away while silently focusing on the experience of steeping and drinking their tea. The manager chooses the type of tea to be used in the Mindfulness Tea for each day. It is meant to be a quiet, contemplative experience; the tea can be enjoyed with food from the teahouse.
Samovar’s founder, Jesse Jacobs, created the Mindfulness Tea in an effort to get more people to meditate. “I believe that more people meditating and contemplating reality and becoming more mindful will make the world a better place,” Jacobs said. “Tea has a long, historical tradition of being brewed in mindful practice throughout the world. I thought, ‘What more interesting social experiment could there be than to incentivize people to meditate and drink tea [both of which are good]?’”
Jacobs, who has long practiced meditation, said a Vipassana Buddhist meditation retreat provided the final impetus for bringing mindfulness to the masses. “I was inspired by the powerful effects and benefits of it,” said Jacobs. He decided to give that experience to the public and combine it with his business vehicle that was already operating.
Samovar hosts the Mindfulness Tea in the morning at its Yerba Buena Gardens location before 10 a.m. and at its Fillmore Street location before 8 a.m. to bring a sense of calmness and focus to people’s day, which they can then take out into society. “It can be a very powerful experience just to sit in silence,” said Jacobs, who added meditation lowers blood pressure and heart rate while increasing breathing quality and decreasing anxiety.
Mindfulness helps one to appreciate the present moment and what is currently happening. Jacobs feels living in the present moment results in more effectiveness in life, the ability to make more strategic decisions, as well as in more compassion toward others.
He wanted to make setting aside the time and space for mindfulness practice as easy as possible for otherwise busy people while eliminating any financial burden.
Though some business owners may think giving away a product for free is bad for their bottom line, Jacobs believes it is beneficial for a business to engage with customers, offer something unique and give them a reason to come back. The Mindfulness Tea has expanded Samovar’s clientele, inspired customers to order additional products from the menu and to return with friends. Hence, the Mindfulness Tea also promotes business.
Jacobs will start offering mindfulness tea tasting classes at the end of this year.
“The more people meditate, the better to world gets—the more people become aware of their actions,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of our mission of making the world a better place through tea.”