Is tea the new coffee? Samovar Tea seems to think so and opened its new space in San Francisco's Mission District, right on Valencia Street, to prove it.

The fourth location of the small tea imperium looks like a futuristic show space for third wave tea and has set itself a simple yet challenging mission: brewing the world's best cup of tea.

Founder Jesse Jacobs has taste-tested thousands of teas from his international network of small family farms, to present only the top seven at his new venue. 'I love tea,' he says, 'and after visiting the top coffee spots around the country, I realized that exceptional artisan tea was not accessible to beverage aficionados in the same way as coffee.'

The new Valencia Street location boasts natural colors, stone, reclaimed wood, and concrete. Here, Samowar wants to turn brewing tea into performance art. Cups range from $3 to $5, sold along with freshly baked scones. Stainless steel and glass brewing vessels invoke old world alchemy, while Masala Chai stews for hours in its copper urn. Seasonal cold-brewed iced teas and antioxidant-rich Matcha shots will be available, and cups of tea can be enjoyed on site or taken to go.

To see more pictures of Samovar Tea, click through the gallery above.

Samovar Tea // 411 Valencia Street // San Francisco // open daily 7am-7pm // website

Images // Cesar Rubio