I had a lovely experience recently at TÈ House of Tea in Houston. I stopped in on a Wednesday evening after work to get something to eat and try some new teas, and was not disappointed! It’s a cute little place, tucked in an unassuming corner of Montrose, with little brick cottages and tree-lined streets all around. Once inside, you have a choice of sitting at a table or in one of the many cozy conversation areas with sofas and comfy chairs.
I went up to the counter to order, and got into a great discussion about teas with Julie, the young woman working the counter. She has always been interested in tea, and since working there had become interested in learning even more. I recommended the STI tea certification program, as that’s where I’ve learned most of what I know! After I perused their tea menu, I decided to order a charcoal-roasted Tung Ting oolong. I had actually seen this mentioned online, so I was glad they had it in stock. I also ordered a chicken-and-vegetable crepe-quiche mash-up (the name of which I don’t remember) that was absolutely delicious!
As I sat down, I looked around at the other customers. There were a lot of people studying, including one guy who looked like he was practicing conducting, as well as a few people chatting with friends. Shortly after I sat down, a gentleman came in, sat down on one of the sofas, and started crocheting. He had ordered a pot of tea, and after a while a few people joined him – it was a knitting club! They were having a lively conversation, which I was unabashedly eavesdropping on, and giggling about at some points. Before I left, I stopped by to ask them about their club. They said it didn’t have a name, other than “knitting at TÈ House of Tea”! They meet there, drink tea, eat treats, and chat. If I lived in Houston, I might have to join them.
When my tea came, I opened up the gaiwan to take a whiff, and inhaled a beautiful aroma of barely smoke-tinged vegetables. The taste of the oolong held up to the promise of the scent – it had a beautiful vegetal taste, with just a hint of smoke. It was really more of a warm, woodsy taste than that of actual smoke – it developed the oolong flavors and gave them extra depth. Sipping it along with the chicken-vegetable crepes was a great combination – they really complemented each other.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience at a lovely little tea place. It’s very relaxed and low-key, but with good tea and good food, you don’t need much more. Their slogan seems to sum up their approach: “We don’t make fast food, we make fresh food as fast as we can.” And they also make some great tea!