The Path of Tea, Relaxing Houston Escape From The Ordinary
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Have you ever felt the need to step back and take a breather from day to day regular hustle and bustle of everyday life? If this sounds like something that would interest you, there is a Houston escape from the ordinary in which Asian décor and a relaxing ambiance will help soothe away the cares of the day. Oh and lest I forget the most aromatic, fragrant and tantalizing brewed teas of your individual choosing all await your discovery at The Path of Tea. You will find this establishment at 2340 West Alabama Street, Houston, Texas 77098.
A dear friend recently treated me to a special day in celebration of my birthday. The day started with getting to view a special Titian exhibit at our Houston Museum of Fine Arts. We both love art and the show while quite small in terms of the number of pieces on display was enthralling. Timed entrance allowed only limited numbers of people in the two rooms of the museum holding the select show. Next, we had lunch together. Our day together was capped off by our visit to The Path of Tea. Just like frosting on a cake, this was the final touch to a perfect day!
The Path of Tea
My friend who introduced me to The Path of Tea, had been there previously with a friend of hers who had to visit the Orient on business trips. He had acquired admiration for the ceremony of well-brewed teas as well as the various flavors. They were able to visit with the owner of The Path of Tea (Thia McKann) who told them that she had developed her love of teas when traveling back and forth to Japan years earlier.
Those of us living in Houston or even those visiting Houston, Texas from distances near or far can now all benefit from Thia McKann’s airline flights of the past and her developed senses of the love of varieties of organic teas and ceremonial aspects of serving it to her growing list of friends and patrons.
The address is on West Alabama Street just inside Kirby. That is an upscale area in Houston with businesses and restaurants aplenty.
Located in the middle of a typical one-story strip shopping center, the exterior of The Path of Tea is nothing spectacular. That all changes once one opens and enters through the front door! Open bookshelves adorned with a variety of beautiful teapots and cups are on display. Everywhere one glances. Oriental décor is on display in tasteful vignettes splashed with eye-catching colors and textures.
Sounds of the Orient
The sound of running water from a small water fountain adds to the ambient sounds of soft Oriental background music, which is pleasing to the ear.
Since it was my first visit, I was trying to take in and absorb every nuance of what makes The Path of Tea a special place to visit and spend some time. Even with the extra excitement of seeing and experiencing a place for the first time, I felt myself relaxing with my friend in that peaceful atmosphere. I felt as though I was transported far away from life in the middle of the 4th largest city in the nation. It is a Houston oasis of sorts!
Organic Verses Non-Organic
The Path of Tea offers solely organic teas, which are reputed to be much better for a person’s health rather than those commercially grown and treated with chemicals and pesticides.
The same argument applies to all of the foods that we eat…organic being the better and much more sustainable choice.
Cost-effectiveness of ridding plants from insect damage is a prime reason why toxic chemicals are utilized. Another reason that most growers spray chemicals in and around the tea plants is that incidents of predators such as poisonous spiders and even snakes can inflict harm upon the people harvesting the tea.
What price are we willing to pay for safety? More people, especially as they learn about the dangers of chemical residues building up within our bodies, are demanding organic farming practices. It may be particularly important when drinking tea.
Many Choices of Teas
From well over 100 little canisters filled with samples of the named and numbered teas in various categories (white, green, Oolong, yellow, Chai, Pu-erh, Rooibos, black and others) one gets to open and smell the offerings prior to deciding upon which tea to have brewed and served hot in clear glass teapots or even served cold.
Each tea smells better than the next! Decisions! Decisions!
People would have to frequent this establishment often to work through the vast array of special fragrant organic teas offered there. A few of the canisters were empty (probably awaiting a new shipment), but with so many choices from which to choose, the selection process can be a daunting one.
I only opened and smelled a couple of the teas deciding that each would be worthy of a special visit at another time. I chose to drink number 48, an organic chocolate Chai tea. The scent was sensational!
Choosing a Teacup
The next step in this ritual of experiencing The Path of Tea to its fullest extent was choosing the teacup in which we wished to drink our tea once brewed and delivered to our table. A vast assortment of various shaped and sized vessels are on shelving. We each chose one that would be ours for this occasion of sipping tea in this tranquil environment.
Those glass bottomed teapots came to our table via our waitress with our personally selected choice of tea. Our taste adventure was about to begin. My friend Lisa decided to have one of their homemade cookies along with her tea, and she reported it as being delicious.
What amazed me was the aroma and flavor of the tea! It aptly replicated the fragrant dried tea that I had smelled, and the taste was so clean and flavorful. They use special water in brewing the tea, and without a doubt, I have personally never tasted a tea quite so tasty.
Each small teapot filled our cups many times over with that wholesome goodness at only $4.00 per person. What a delightful journey and quiet respite from the ordinary!
Looking up from where we were seated were strings of colorful folded origami objects hanging down from the ceiling. One can learn how to make origami objects at The Path of Tea. Check their website for times and prices.
Artwork appropriate to Oriental design graced the walls. Discrete price stickers are on the artwork which can be purchased. The bamboo palm next to the little waterfall added to the relaxing ambiance. Much thought and effort went into creating this oasis type of atmosphere within The Path of Tea.
Certified Tea Master
Thia McKann was one of very few accredited tea masters in the United States. According to their website, there were 13 others at the time I wrote this, and she was the only one in Texas. Assuredly one has to have a keen sense of taste and smell as well as knowledge of the subject to be credentialed in that area.
She, along with her husband Chris McKann founded this establishment in 2006 combining Japanese styled aesthetics with tranquility. She had taught the health benefits of organic teas to many people, including students at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston.
Chris McKann now continues their shared passion since Thia passed on to the next realm of existence in December of 2012. You can read more about the founders of The Path of Tea here.
Hours of Operation and Events
For a Houston escape from the ordinary, check out the relaxing ambiance and Asian décor and music inside the delightful oasis called The Path of Tea.
They are open seven days a week with the following hours of operation:
- Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 9 pm
- Saturday, 10 am to 11 pm
- Sunday, 11:30 am to 6 pm.
Check out their special events and offerings such as tea tasting classes. Groupon coupons even help defray the costs of those educational classes. Teapots and accessories, as well as organic teas, can be purchased to take home or give as gifts.
The Path of Tea will take you on an exciting journey of scents, tastes, and flavors all the while set in a most tranquil of settings. I can’t wait for my next visit! Thank you, Lisa, for introducing this magnificent setting to me.
Health Benefits of Drinking Organic Teas
Check out sources such as WebMD if you cannot visit The Path of Tea to discover the many health benefits of drinking teas. Just a few of the health benefits include a reduced risk of these:
- Heart Disease
If that is not enough to capture people’s attention, there are many other good attributes to drinking tea. These include mental alertness and perhaps even some weight loss, among other things. I know that I am going to up my consumption of organic teas. How about you?