Lindsay said

Help with tea travel mug

So I just got a tumbler-with-infuser type travel mug (this one:, and some limitations have made themselves fairly obvious. With the infuser built in, the temptation is to put some leaves in the infuser, pour over the boiling/hot water, and head out the door. But this leads to two problems:
1. You need a very forgiving tea, if you’re going to have it infusing for an indefinite amount of time. I tried it once with a green tea, and that was definitely a mistake.
2. Because the mug is so well-insulated, it takes forever for the tea to cool down to drinking temperature. I’ve added ice cubes, but then I ended up with tea with notes of inside-of-freezer. Adding a bit of cold water worked better, but only after I’d burned my mouth sipping enough of the tea to make room in the mug.

I guess one solution would be to brew the tea, remove the infuser basket, and wait for the whole thing to cool down a bit before screwing on the top and heading out the door. But my time management skills in the morning are not the best, so let’s just assume that won’t always be an option.

Wise Steepster-ites, what advice do you have?

11 Replies

A tea tumbler like this one you might like as you can flip the whole unit over and it’ll stop infusing. From there, remove the leaves. It is also not as insulated so the tea will cool faster – however this tumbler can’t do boiling teas. There are also a few other tumblers similar like this one from Crimson Lotus (I’ve been eyeing this one myself)
Libre is also another popular choice but I find it pretty messy using the flip method

Admittedly, I have a bunch of different tumblers in my collection and I grab the one that works before for what I’m doing. I grab an insulated Timolino to use with more forgiving teas (blacks, ripe pu’er) when I’m on the go and want stuff hot for long time. Other times I use a glass tumbler with delicate teas (dropping the temperature some) that doesn’t hold heat as well and somewhat helps not over steep – provided I’m not drinking this tea all day.

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Ditto what oolong owl says.

I find oolongs and puerhs to be more forgiving of leaving them in hot water forever.

For blacks, greens and whites, I brew them in a gravity steeper and then decant them straight into the tumbler. If I want the tea to be hot by lunch time, I’ll preheat the vessel, if I want to drink it right away, I’ll have a few ice cubes at the bottom before I put the tea in so I don’t have to throw away tea for ice.

My cup collection is kind of crazy though. I have no problem admitting I bring a normal thermos (with tea), a tea thermos (with tea leaves and build in strainer), and a bottle of iced tea and a bottle of water to work, everyday… and I have loose leaf in my purse. Yeah… basically my whole bag is beverages and lunch.

Most of the Teavana tumblers and Davidstea tumblers tell you to take the leaves out when it’s done steeping, so they’re really more for when you’re already out of the house than when you’re taking it to go.

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Uniquity said

I’m another that makes the tea and then puts it in the tumbler. I am really sensitive to bitterness, so there are very few true teas that I can stand steeping indefinitely. Herbals are a convenient option for that sort of thing, but usually I am drinking black tea. So, I steep it up in a pot (or in mug before leaving) and then remove the leaves. I need an extra 5 minutes (ideally 10) but it’s not too bad.

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Anlina said

I do travel mug tea one of two ways, depending on how rushed I am.

My mug is about 16oz, so I’ll use enough leaf for 16oz but add 12oz of hot water, steep, remove the leaves and then top up with cold water.

Or, if I’m in a rush, I’ll make an oolong that’s usually good for multiple steeps, use enough leaf for 8oz and then just leave the tea in the water. I usually end up with a pretty good cup that doesn’t taste over steeped.

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tinkup said

Hi, Lindsey….
Even though you have a new, spiffy mug already, I thought I’d share the one I have. I love this thing! I got it from Argo Tea, but they don’t have it listed on their website anymore. It’s an Aladdin product & so far has been very sturdy. The tea does stay warm for a good time, but not so hot you can’t cool it down by leaving the lid open. The infuser basket is lowered into the water with the handle, and then pulled back up into the lid when finished infusing. Then that’s where it stays. No need to take the lid off & removed the basket! I’ve found if to be a wonderful item. The only problem I’ve had with it is that 2x I didn’t get the basket closed tight enough & spilled the tea. Beyond that I have been very happy with this tumbler. I’ve had it for about a year & a half, and it’s still doing the job!

Oh yes! This mug is pretty cool. I don’t know where you might find it in Canada, but in the US you can find them at Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart and some other places.
Tinkup, do you find the infuser basket big enough for large leaf teas like rolled oolongs? I think that’s the only thing holding me back from this particular mug. Well, that and plastic, but mostly the small infuser basket.

Dustin said

Bigger leaf teas will be cramped in this. I do wish the basket was bigger (and the cup was glass), but it works pretty well other than that.

Oh, I had this mug a while ago before ‘loosing’ it on the train.
I personally hated it, but ya know, to each their own.
I didn’t like it because:
1. The infuser basket is waaay to small, especially for rolled oolongs and any leaf larger than a broken leaf black tea.
2. after a few uses, the infuser basket turned stupid. It would have a hard time staying up out of the water, and even popped open after a bumpy ride to work one day. The basket lock is weak and a couple of times it dumped the tea into the water.
3. the lid was very persistent when it wanted to stay on. Alternatively, if I wasn’t careful to push the lid on hard enough, i would get tea everywhere.
4. the plastic insulated part broke apart after about a month.
5. It never kept the tea warm enough for extended amounts of time.
In this big wide world of tea tumblers, there has got to be the right one for everyone!

Dustin said

I wonder if you got one of the early models with the basket issue you were having. The first one I got was for my sis who ran into the same issue of the basket falling down. The one I got clicks when the basket reaches the top. I wrote to Aladdin about it and they sent me a replacement for my sister’s cup, so I think it was a kink they worked out of the design.
I haven’t had the lid staying on issue, but the two halves (inside and outside) parts that make up the base did separate after years of use. It hasn’t effected the usability of it tho. The insulating times worked pretty well for me, but maybe you savor your tea more than I. I have a David’s travel mug and the tea never freaking cools to a drinkable temp! Kind of annoying.
I do agree that there should be a better solution out there. I wish that The Tea Merchant’s kickstarter had gotten funded because that seemed like a possible mug solution.

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I have tried my fair share of travel mugs in my day, and I have yet to find the right one. I have a thermos brand one similar to the one you have Lindsay. Whenever I use that particular one, here is what I typically do:

The night before I set up the teas I want to drink at work (1-2 different types, usually.) one goes into a french press, the other, i use about half as much and put it into the steeper basket. I put the steeper basket in a Ziploc and toss it into my bag. Alternatively, you could put the loose leaf into a plastic bag/other containment vessel and toss into the steeper basket when you get to work.

Wake up in the morning, turn on the kettle, crawl back into bed.
When the kettle beeps, I steep the tea in the french press and pour into the travel mug, sans infuser (obviously.)

When I finish the tea in the mug i make another cup or two with the loose that I brought with me. I pour the hot water into a different glass to cool it down before pouring it into the mug. Or I sometimes pour the cold water I am going to boil to cool down the internal temp of the insulated tumbler.

+1 for Anlina’s idea of the cold water trick!
oh, and as if you need more travel mug porn, this is one that i have been looking at. (Although it would be impractucal for my needs.)

Oh, and can you boil water at work? Are you allowed to have a kettle?

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tinkup said

I’m loving this conversation! I’m very new to the world of tea. I’ve always been a brewed, ice tea drinker, but have just started getting into hot tea this last year. So…I have no experience with large leaf teas. I’m still just discovering flavors that I like.

I have noticed on my mug the basket doesn’t click back into place as tightly as it once did. I might need to send an email to Aladdin & see what comes from it. It has been a very good purchase for me though.

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