April 07, 2016
Tea Shop - House of Steep
If you recall, House of Steep is one of the tea shops on my DC Metro Area Tea Bucket List. Two weeks ago I visited the shop for the first time. It was an overcast morning and although you can match tea to any weather, a good hot cup of tea tastes very good on a dreary day.
I arrived about 30 minutes after the shop had opened. There were customers at two of the tables and there was someone enjoying a foot spa in the rear of the shop. My daughter and I sat at the counter and I looked over the menu. I ignored the herbal options. I considered the puerh but selected the matcha.
The matcha was prepared in a chawan with a chasen but then it was poured into a mug. This presentation reduced the experience of drinking the matcha. The aesthetic was disappointing. The color of the liquor was dull. Also there was only a partial layer of froth. The liquor was not bad tasting but it was watery. It was thin usucha. I took approximately half of the tea to-go. When I was transferring the matcha from the ceramic mug to a paper cup, I noticed a layer of matcha paste on the bottom of the cup. A bit of a vigorous swirl on my part helped to incorporate this paste and boost the flavor of the tea.
House of Steep has good ratings on Yelp so my single experience is probably not a good indication of the shop's tea quality or preparation. I am curious about the Asian infused afternoon tea which is by appointment only. House of Steep is located at 3800 Lee Highway in Arlington, VA.