Tea has always been second to coffee in the U.S., a trend The Path of Tea owner Chris McKann said is tied to our fast-paced lifestyles.

However, as interest in mental and physical well-being has become more mainstream, McKann said more interest has also been directed at his shop, founded in 2006 in River Oaks as a place for people to stop by, enjoy some tea and take a social break from daily stressors.

“People are getting really stressed out,” he said. “And so I’m finding that more people are telling me, ‘Oh my God, this [tea] is nice.’ [We] just have this energy where it’s just more relaxing, right? So they start discovering tea.”

The Path of Tea was founded by Chris and his wife, Thia McKann, after the latter was certified as a tea master, a designation given to people who demonstrate an understanding of the different types of teas and how they are brewed, Chris said.

The couple wanted to focus on giving customers an organic, healthy tea, Chris said. The shop offers over 140 different types of tea, each of which has a different taste and can offer a different health benefit, Chris said. Some teas have immune system-boosting effects, while others give energy, he said.

The menu features different types of white, green, oolong, pu-errh, black and other herbal teas. The shop’s tea leaves come from a variety of countries, mostly from Asia, Chris said.

The Path of Tea hosts events regularly, Chris said, including weekly tea tastings, where guests can drink tea samples while Chris explains where the tea leaf comes from and how he makes it.

“Sometimes we have people who talk about some health aspect that would fit in with tea,” he said.

Although Thia has since passed away, Chris said he carries on her legacy at the shop. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, people are feeling more stressed than ever, and Chris said he plans to keep relieving people from their anxiety with his tea.

“People are becoming more conscious of their physical health,” he said. “[The] pandemic [has] really accelerated that.”

Because the flavor and effects of tea can change based on how it is brewed, McKann said new variations are being discovered all the time.

The Path of Tea

2340 W. Alabama St., Houston



Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.