Friday, September 4, 2009

Tea Top Brew Mug

Product: Tea Top Brew Mug
Vendor: Mighty Leaf
Price: $12.95
Vendor Description: You no longer have to drink over-brewed tea with this easy-to-use "traveling teapot" for enjoying whole leaf tea on the go. Our Tea Top Brew Mug is the first of its kind: a mobile mug crafted especially for tea drinkers.

The double-walled stainless steel mobile mug brews whole leaf Tea Pouches, keeping your tea hot, while staying cool to the touch.

Tea Top Brew mug holds 14 oz. Not dishwasher-safe; hand wash only.

Travel Mug: Today I get to review a new travel mug from Mighty Leaf. This mug is very similar to most travel mugs for hot beverages with one main exception. There is a slit in a dome on the top of the mug. This allows you to pass through the tab from your teabag and pull the teabag up until it is stuck so it is out of the tea. The general idea is that you can pull the teabag out from your water to prevent it from further steeping in the mug, a major problem of some of those loose leaf travel mugs. When the teabag is pulled through it resembles a handkerchief or Kleenex sticking out of a dispenser. It does a good job of keeping out of the water/tea. One thing I did find rather interesting about this product is unlike many travel mugs the top is not threaded on, but rather only has a rubber gasket to keep it in place. I like this much better than any of the threaded type mugs that I have tried in the past.

Usage: I tried this mug with three different types of teabag, a Mighty Leaf teabag, a Lupicia tetrahedral mesh bag, and a Kalahari Red Tea satchel. The Mighty Leaf teabag worked perfectly, as the product was made for it. Mighty Leaf teabags are sewn together with the drawstring itself so there is much less of a chance of it coming off. Also the shape of the teabag lends itself well for this handkerchief style pulling. The Lupicia tetrahedral didn't fair as well. Unfortunately tetrahedral teabags are not attached at one of the corners, but partly through the side of the bag. Because of this you cannot pull a corner through the opening in the mug as easily. Also the thicker nature of the tetrahedral bag does not allow it to get stuck as easily. Lastly since the drawstring is affixed to the bag there is a chance the string can pop off, this happened in my testing. Lastly was the Kalahari Red Tea satchel style teabag, this is the same type of teabag you see in lower end packaged teas and the traditional looking Lipton teabag shape. Again with this teabag the string is not affixed to a corner, but is rather loosely held down by a staple in the teabag. When trying to pull it up through the slot it simply came undone. Much more easily than the tetrahedral bag. Also due to the staple's location it could not be pulled up through the hole at all. At least the tetrahedral came up a little bit. Basically this mug was designed for Mighty Leaf teabags, and performs admirably with them. With other teabags it's not such a great bet.

Thermal: As a double walled stainless mug a big portion of this product is the insulating capacity. For this, I placed some hot water in the mug and charted the temperature over time. The mug was sitting on a table in a 74F room filled to the fill line with plain water. As shown in the chart to the right (click through for a readable version) the temperature dropped about a degree a minute for the first 20 minutes or so, and then cooled a bit slower. After almost 2 hours at 125F the water was still warm, but not hot. The mug handled itself fairly well as expected for a travel mug. By 2 hours after filling I don't really expect to be drinking piping hot tea anymore, I probably would have finished it before then.

Conclusion: This is a rather nice travel mug. It works best with Mighty Leaf teabags, but will work for tetrahedrals as well. I would have liked to see some sort of tie off mechanism on the top of the mug for non-ML teabags to hold the out of the water. A handle on any travel mug would also have been a nice addition. Despite my thoughts for improvement I rather like this mug. If you like to drink ML teabags anywhere but your desk, I would say this is a must have. It's not very expensive for a travel mug and it holds heat fairly well. If you're not a big fan of ML teabags you might want to continue your search, but I haven't seen anything else that comes close to fitting this arena yet.


Anonymous said...

This is a good mug to use for visiting coffee shops like Starbucks where you want just a cup of hot tea. That's one of the least expensive drinks and you'll get a discount by bringing your own cup. They have nice whole leaf tea in their bags, which are generous-sized. You can get multiple steepings out of one of those. I'm not sure how all that would work with one of these but I imagine it's possible. --Teaternity

Eric said...

I came across this mug last month but was put off by the fact that it's geared towards tea bags. Mighty Leaf's tea bags are great, but for the most part I'm still drinking loose leaf, so it seems a bit limiting.

For those interested, I wrote a huge overview of some of the best tea travel mugs available out there on my blog: Tea Travel Mugs