As I stated in the River Oaks review, Saturday June 30 was a lucky day for me. The rain cooperated for me to visit not one but two cafes that afternoon. I thought River Oaks was nice, but I should have known that Te House of Tea would be my favorite discovery so far.
I have loved tea for a long time. I would say since I went to study in England for a semester, but it really started when my mom began brewing green tea in the house. I’m not sure why she began drinking tea so much, but suddenly I was hooked on green tea with honey. My sister bought me a teapot/cup for Christmas the next year and by the time I returned from the United Kingdom, I couldn’t stop raving about how wonderful it had been to live in a land with loose leaf tea shops just a few blocks away and an entire society devoted to always keeping the kettle ready and afternoon tea.
Why did it take me so long to find Te House of Tea? It’s all in the name. My theory: I had to wait for the perfect day. Last Saturday, I was tired and needed a great place to write and relax. When I walked up to the store I first noticed a girl sitting at one of the outdoor tables with a pot of tea and a kindle out before her. I knew I had found the right place. In addition, I had just sat down at an open table when it began to pour rain outside. Throughout my afternoon tea, it continued raining steadily, giving the place an even cozier feel with its soft pitter-patter. I had brought my big umbrella inside, but by the time I didn’t need it. Perfect, perfect timing.
More importantly than anything, this place really knows how to properly serve tea. I almost got overwhelmed with the large menu, offering everything from normal black teas to some more exotic herbal varieties that I didn’t even let myself consider on the first visit. Thankfully the staff were knowledgable and helpful. I felt so pampered when they allowed me to go sit down first and then brought the piping hot teapot and little pot of milk to my table. It took more time for them to brew the tea and then I had to add five extra minutes at the table to ensure it had steeped properly, but the wait was more than worth it. My Scottish Breakfast tea put me in exactly the right mood to enjoy the rain and continue writing my play and conquer a few of my fellowship essays.
On this first visit, I found Te House of Tea a great spot for solo studying. There were many tables and comfy nooks and I spotted a few electric outlets. Plus, the temperature inside stayed within a nice mid-range so that I didn’t even miss the jacket I’d left at home. But next time I go back, I want to bring a friend or maybe a small group of friends. I want to curl up on one of their couches and enjoy a nice chat, too. I love that this cafe encourages both at the same time; it’s not an easy thing to balance. After working at a crowded, loud Panera bread store last summer, I appreciated this cafe’s social, yet calm atmosphere even more.
It could have been my timing. It could have been that particular group of patrons in the cafe. Or it could have been the sweet wait staff that helped me locate the snack menu and kindly reminded me to wait for the tea to steep before drinking. Maybe I was predestined to love the first true tea house I visited. In any case, this might be my favorite Houston sanctuary now.