House of Steep: Soak in the Calm

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Update: House of Steep: Tea and Foot Massage and Reflexology is closed for business on June 23rd, 2018.

Do you love tea? How about enjoying a cup (or three), while getting a foot massage or soaking your feet in soothing, aromatic oils? The out-of-this-world experience can be yours at The House of Steep. If you are in Arlington, VA, do not miss the chance to venture inside this haven of calm that draws out everyone’s inner Zen master and teaholic. The oasis of delicious hand-brewed teas was definitely a pleasant find amidst the sea of coffeehouses (quite a few of which offer amazing coffees and lattes, by the way).

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You really can have the best of both worlds, because House of Steep is the perfect place to sip and spa under one roof. We did not anticipate just how cozy and rejuvenating that place was, when we quickly ran inside to escape the rain and grab a cup o’ cha. Throw in a foot massage and foot soak, too!

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Why not go with a snack, while you are at it? A handmade spinach quiche with a fresh salad ($7.00) makes a savory complement to the teas.

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Carefully-selected hand-blended brews  from India, Nepal, China, Taiwan, and Japan are accompanied by a variety of delicious and healthful snacks. Lovers of gourmet sandwiches and cookies will be sure to savor every bite, along with a sip from any of the signature flavors. Enjoy individual flavors of your choice or go with a themed tasting in a flight of three teas: Popular palettes include black, green, and fruit/herbal. Our picks, green and black, were $9.00 a flight.

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For the green tea flight, we chose genmaicha (Japan), Pai Mu Tan (China), and Peach Apricot (China). Genmaicha is a unique blend of green tea leaves (matcha) and grains of brown rice. Once steeped, the colloquially dubbed “popcorn tea” (since rice grains pop during the roasting process) exudes a unique combination of matcha and roasted rice. Pai Mu Tan (Bai Mudan), known as white peony tea, is brewed from plucks that contain only one leaf shoot and two nascent leaves. Peach apricot tea is a genuine treat for the tastebuds, which combines notes of green tea with luscious peach and a mildly sweeter apricot.

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Our black tea flight consisted of Assam (India), Ilam (Nepal), and Monk’s Blend (Sri Lanka). The Assam is cultivated in the eponymous region, situated in Northeast India. Typically grown near sea level, the Assam tea is characterized by briskness, malty flavor, and a deep dark hue. The delightful, delicious, and holistic brew hails from a region that borders Bangladesh and Burma; Assam is considered the largest tea-growing region in the world. Next, we sip the Ilam: This “winding road” tea (etymology of “Ilam” in the Limbu dialect of Nepal); king Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev declared Ilam as one of the Five Tea Zones of Nepal in 1982.  The tea, itself, is placed at the echelon by tea experts, partly due to its smoothness and partly due to its shorter supply than its cousin brand, the Darjeeling. On to Sri Lanka, the Monk’s Blend is a medium-bodied flavor with a palette that invokes the iconic tea kingdom, Ceylon. A blend of vanilla and grenadine accentuate the intensely-rich notes of Calendula and sunflower oil. Monk’s Blend may be an acquired taste for some, but it is a tasty beverage, nonetheless.

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Drink up, then get ready for a sensational soak at the Foot Sanctuary! A rejuvenating, relaxing, and healing foot soak/ foot massage is considered an ideal method of drawing out toxins, improving circulation, moisturizing the skin, and relaxing the body. (Chinese reflexology, in particular, correlates each point on the foot with a certain area of the body; experts can detect, and often treat/cure, whichever ailment that the soles and toes point to, so to speak.) Epsom salt detoxifies the skin and relaxes muscles; the herbs supply nutrients; the oils carry healing properties by way of aromatherapy. If you want to have an invigorating foot massage, then it is best that you book an appointment in advance.

We chose two of the most popular foot soaks at the House of Steep: The signature “Abundance” treatment includes lavender, sage, and herbs ($23.00). The targeted “[Anti-]Muscle Ache” contains basil and chamomile ($22.00). The same treatments are popular for a combined soak and foot massage.

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Here is the recipe for an awesome escape from the rain: a delightful snack for $7.00; 2 tea flights ($9.00 each);  and 2 foot soaks ($23.00 and $22.00, respectively), totaling only $70.00… So worth the trip! 🙂

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Check out our video below or on youtube!

The best cup of tea and foot massage in Arlington

Alevtina Gefen
Alev Gefen

Hi, I'm Alev. I am a linguaphile, travel fiend, and foodie. I love diving deeply into culture through its authentic foods, especially when sharing meals with the local people in every country I visit. Whether at a table or by a street food stall, I love it all, and writing about the experience is half the fun!

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