Two finals down, one to go. And I toast, with my chai tea latte, to many more study breaks and procrastination sessions. Focusing is a daily struggle. I’ve switched study environments, put the Pride & Prejudice movie soundtrack on repeat, and consumed copious cups of coffee. But still, riveting all my attention on photosynthesis and Taylor series (that knave) has been no easy feat.
There are perks to studying, however!
I tagged along with some friends to a little place called “Path of Tea” to study, and it was this beautiful, serene environment, albeit a small space. Colorful paper cranes and hearts hung from the ceiling in strings like a lilting curtain while soft Asian music tinkered in the background. Path of Tea was like sixth floor Fondren library in a way. Once I walked through the door, I immediately felt rather conscious of my actions and behavior for fear that I was disturbing the air of zen. I had previously imagined teahouses as places decked out with frills and lace doilies, complete with sophisticated ladies and women gabbing about life and the kids. Or as destinations strictly for socializing. But studying at this teahouse was definitely rejuvenating due to the calm atmosphere and soothing tea flavors.
The wonderful thing about tea is that there is a dynamic range of tastes. And tea almost seems like some kind of hipster art…like people can become certified tea makers, which actually sounds kind of legendary. Then I feel slightly ashamed because I once thought that the whole concept of tea was yanking a couple of leaves off the flower bush by my house and steeping them in hot water. How ignorant I was. But now I have realized that tea is wonderful, indeed.
The menu at Path of Tea neatly listed every flavor available in categories of tea type (like white, green, or black). All of their tea is organic as well and can come in a small or large pot. And all the customers can pick their own cups from a shelf. What really caught my eye was that every cup is different–they’re not like the typical dainty teacup sets. Their shape resembles the ones often found in Asian restaurants and the designs are more ornate and intricate. For example, one had a dreamy blue ombre color scheme while another was etched with a painting of storks. Eventually I settled on a pretty little cup featuring a splash of cherry blossoms on it.
I recalled drinking a really nice white tea back in Portland at the Steven Smith Tea Shop, so I decided to try Houston’s take on this mild tea by going with the white peach flavor. I had my giant hunk of a biology textbook propped against my chair and my stack of notes perched on the cramped little table along with my friends’ laptops and books, but we ensured a space of honor for the teapots.
The teapots were fashioned out of glass, and my friend’s large teapot even had a little candle flickering underneath the pot to keep the tea warm. I tried a sip of my friend’s black raspberry honey tea, and it was honestly quite a glorious experience. I had expected the flavors to be rather underwhelming, but I could pick out the raspberry’s tartness and the honey’s sweetness with subtle black tea undertones. My own white peach evoked a smooth, mild taste with hints of peach. It had an appreciative calming effect that also enabled me to find more energy despite my lethargic state. I drained the teapot in a good amount of time, but it was kind of sad seeing the little dregs at the bottom. Oh well, I’ll probably be around again.
Previous to my excursion to Path of Tea, I was holed up in my room like a hermit–scurrying downstairs for food and back up to study, and just sitting there in my dinky little chair pondering the meaning of embryonic development. But going to another place to study–and a teahouse at that–was truly refreshing.