How Did We Get Started?
What Makes Flying Bird Tea House Different?
It’s what we believe, and how we manifest those beliefs.
We are so proud to be able to offer a retreat from the rat race, an escape from information addiction.
We’re about enjoying the basic goodness of being present in the moment.
People come in for the delicious, healthy food and drink. They leave with their spirits elevated, nourished, and re-energized.
What Does Tea Mean To Us & Where Did The Passion Come From?
I was that kid who brought tofu sandwiches and seaweed wraps to school lunch in the 80’s. I was not popular.
At the same time, my parent’s passion for healthy food and diverse cultures introduced me to teas from around the world.
When I started Samovar Tea Lounge I realized that tea would be the perfect vehicle to satisfy just what the world neeeded today: to slow down, unplug, and wake up.
Why Is Samovar Tea Lounge So Popular Among Startup Entrepreneurs & The Tech Community?
I don’t know if they realize it, but tech entrepreneurs are the harbingers of a new era for our society. It’s the relentless march of progress, but they must realize consciously or unconsciously their role in bringing it about.
This new era is awesome with it’s potential connectedness, for spontaneous movements demanding justice. The efficiencies we have created have given more power to each of us than we’ve ever had—in the history of humankind.
But the machine is SO powerful. With all these geniuses at work creating new experiences and new devices it shouldn’t be a surprise. But now we’re back to the snake eating it’s own tail. “Crackberry” used to be a derogatory term, now we call them “smart phones.”
And as technology pervades every aspect of our society, the perspective has flipped and the machine we created to serve US starts to make decisions FOR us. From the innocuous Netflix or Amazon recommendation, to the more insidious things like Facebook and Twitter that while powerful, also demand us to change our expression, and even our thinking patterns in order to conform to the machine’s demands.
So Samovar is a fantastic escape into what really matters and nobody appreciates that more than these tech entrepreneurs.
Samovar’s food is some of the most delicious and healthy you can find, pretty much anywhere, and the tea a state of mind that is really different from the norms like coffee or beer. Tea is about being present. It’s relaxing and also energizing.
I don’t hate technology, or progress. I love it and recognize it’s inevitable. What I care about is making sure that WE are driving the machine and not the other way around.
Where Is Our Tea Sourced?
We’ve been in business for more than 10 years and in that time have made amazing relationships with artisan tea farmers around the world. From China, to India and Japan, these tea farmers have committed themselves to preserving an ancient art, and helping the planet along the way. Tea farming is a hard life, but a good life. We source almost entirely organic products which means more sustainable practices, and a better product. The whole chain benefits.
One of my favorite farms is this little place in Hawaii. A couple started the farm in Volcano Village after leaving their deadend jobs in New York City. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and it’s amazing. You really see that tea is real food. Picked by hand from the Camellia Sinensis bush and then laid out to dry, cooked, rolled, even packed in dirt and aged like wine. The whole experience is amazing. The tea is only available in small batches and we try to buy them up as soon as we can because our customers really love it. I’m so proud to be a part of the chain that support farmers like them.
How We Train Our Staff: Creating Tea Masters
We have a kind of secret tea school that all our tea tenders have to take. We’ve started offering some of the courses to the public. In February 2013 we launched the Samovar Tea Lounge Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Tea which is a tea set and video series where I talk with a friend about the in’s and outs of teas. It’s a great tool for people who can’t get to the lounges and talk to me or our expert staff in person.
The real secret to our employee success, though, is in the attitude. We need and love people who are passionate about tea, but even more, passionate about connecting with our customers. Everyone appreciates a little authentic attention, and caring. And that’s what separates our staff from the typical restaurant or coffee shop.
With a little time you can teach anyone to appreciate tea, the origins, the processing differences, the food pairings. But to teach someone to genuinely care about a total stranger, that can take lifetimes.
We have been working with teas as professionals for nearly 10 years. We are visiting tea-growing areas, tea farmers, manifacturers and traders of China, Taiwan and Japan. We expanding our experiences and our relationship to get the best teas at the best price. For over seven years, we have been successfully launching themed tea courses for customers and professionals interested in tea. We believe that there is an increasing interest in quality drinking in Hungary, to which we can contribute by increasing knowledge on tea.