“If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty."
—Japanese Proverb

 

They say that drinking tea is a ritual, that it should be savoured, sipped slowly and appreciated. And while I love tea—a fact that partially stems from my having grown up in India, where the custom of tea drinking seeped over the border from China centuries ago and even helped name that now globally-known Indian version of tea called chai (derived from the Chinese “cha”)—I don’t live a lifestyle today where I can leisurely enjoy a cup each morning at the dining table.   

 

In fact, most often I am rushing out the door to be somewhere, grabbing my tea as an afterthought. And especially right now, during these crisp fall-wintry Vancouver days, I also love walking with a cup of hot tea warming my hands. 

 

Libre Tea Glasses

libretea.com

 

The glass 'n poly model holds 9 oz. (260 mL); USD$24. 

 

The glass 'n glass model holds 10 oz. (290 mL); USD$25.

And so I've quested to find the ideal eco-version of a to-go mug, scouring Starbucks, tea shops here and abroad, testing a few variations of MEC’s eco mugs, have received branded eco-mugs at various events—and yet have never been satisfied. 

 

What makes a perfect tea carrying container?

1.  The mug should allow for loose-leaf tea—a more flavourful and definitely more sustainable version of tea versus what’s available in a tea bag. Loose-leaf tea uses the long leaves of tea, which are higher in quality and flavour versus the powdered versions found in tea bags. Plus, you are rid of all the extraneous packaging, lessening the eco-footprint of your tea. 

 

2.  I should be able to see the tea. After all, drinking tea is rather like drinking wine, it is a complete, sensual experience, and it’s only when you can not only smell and taste tea, but also see it steep to the perfect hue and strength, that you truly get it. 

 

3. The to-go cup should be easy to sip. I once bought a stainless steel coffee/tea press from Starbucks that seemed to be well-designed, but the cup was not very comfortable to drink from, as the knob on the tea press stuck out and didn’t give you much space to sip. 

 

Could the Libre loose-leaf tea glass be the perfect to-go tea mug?  

Well, the verdict is still out, but the new Libre loose leaf tea glass is close.

 

It's comes in two versions: one that's built for the clumsy, called the "glass 'n poly tea glass" with a polycarbonate exterior and glass interior; and another that requires a bit more care, made of all glass, called the "glass 'n glass." 

 

Both are designed the same, with a removable and easy-to-clean stainless steel tea filter, and are transparent (so yes, you can see the tea leaves soaking) and BPA-free. 

 

I love that the lid screws on really tight so there is no spillage while commuting and that the two layers of glass and polycarbonate prevent the cup from getting too hot to hold comfortably. 

 

My only advice, you have to clean the Libre glasses and dry the insides out well (as you would wine-glasses) so there aren’t any streaks or marks left behind from your tea.