When Jesse Jacobs, the founder of Samovar Tea, was preparing to open a fourth location in San Francisco's Mission District, he began toying with a new concept and turned to a local firm, Arcanum Architecture, to help him execute it.
Samovar made a name for itself by selling elaborate tea services at its three San Francisco locations. For its newest location, which opened at 411 Valencia Street in May, Jacobs wanted to try selling his loose-leaf teas by the cup in a play on the venreble coffee-shop model. The company turned to Arcanum Architecture to create a space that would distinguish the newest Samovar shop from its counterparts and from its neighbors.
The result is a modern space where stone, reclaimed wood, and concrete work together to create a welcoming environment where natural shades dominate. An exposed kitchen offers customers a window onto the tea-brewing process. A few of Samovar's teas are available for $3 to $5 a cup, with freshly baked scones available for $4 each.
Will Lamb is a writer and editor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. He served as a senior editor at Dwell from 2013 to 2015.