Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day: Grab your travel mug for tea on the go

It's Earth Day, that quaint 24-hour period given over to the planet and the marketers who love it. For the tea world, it's a good reminder to ditch the plastic, styrofoam, even paper cups from your favorite to-go steeping shop. In my experience, most places have no problem filling up your travel mug.

Today, in fact, Starbucks will do it for free! Bring in your earth-conscious, reusable travel mug and get a free tea (from Tazo) or coffee.

I have two travel mugs I like for different reasons. One is blue, has a good-grip rubbery handle and is remarkably well-insulated; sometimes I've filled it with chai, gone for a walk, and returned home before the tea was cool enough to drink without boiling my tongue. The other is pink, has no handle and is just plain cute.

Of course, these are just insulated mugs that could contain anything; they're not specifically built for tea. There are, however, a lot of good travel mugs now especially designed with tea in mind. I've tried a few. Planetary Design makes a nifty French press mug, which is handy and fashionable — but a wee bit leaky on the go (great for an office desk, though). Bodum also makes a line of travel presses.

A new one I've just been trying out is the Libre tea glass, a portable insulated glass (glass inside, plastic outside, cool to carry) with a filter on top for brewing loose-leaf tea. You can actually brew two ways — with tea directly in the glass using the filter to screen the leaves as you drink, or with tea in the filter for brewing. I was a moron, not sure if it was designed for one application only, until I saw this video ...

Good Housekeeping has this good comparison of 27 different tea/coffee travel mugs. That first one, the Thermos tea tumbler, is similar to the Libre glass without, of course, the glass and thus no doubt a tad more rugged out and about.

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