Today I have a VERY SPECIAL Product Review for you that is LONG OVER DUE! It’s this beautiful Glass Tea Holder & Crystal Glass – also known as – Podstakannik and it is from Russian Tea Time. For the Vegan MoFo prompt, today is all about Food Gifts. But since we are doing all of our Vegan MoFo posts with a twist we figured we will do a Tea Gift version!
I can’t say as I have ever had any other Tea Ware like this before! I’ve cherished it ever since it came in the mail! It’s a Classic Tea Holder with Cut Crystal Glass. The etched cut crystal is very exquisite! I feel like I can drink tea like a royal and be part of the Russian Tea Tradition! Of course I had to study up on Russian Tea Traditions while enjoying this glass and glass tea holder. Yes, indeedy! This is a two-piece tea ware set, folks, and I LOVE it!
Did you know that “Podstakannik” literally means “thing under the glass”? Now THIS is my kind of history! Literal and to the point without being overly fancy!
The holder is most commonly made out of metal. The primary purpose is to be able to hold a very hot glass of tea which is usually consumed right after it is brewed. Fabulous! Because this is the way I LOVE to drink my tea more often than not!
According to Wiki – Podstakanniks appeared in Russian tea culture in the late 18th century. That’s when drinking tea became common in Russia. Soon after they became not just practical utensils, but also works of art, just like samovars that were used for boiling water. Expensive podstakanniks for the rich, well-to-do, and elite were made of silver but were not very practical since they would get quite hot very quickly due to the high thermal conductivity of silver. By the 20th century, podstakanniks became very widespread. They were found to be extremely useful on railroads, as tea was served in moving carriages that were shaking. A bare glass was more likely to fall, scalding people with hot tea. Enter these beautiful works of art and tea ware
I absolutely LOVE my Glass Tea Holder & Crystal Glass – also known as – Podstakannik and it is from Russian Tea Time. And for just $24.99 – I – for one – think it’s totally worth it! It’s durable, versatile, a historical conversation piece, and lovely to look at AND USE!
Today is our last Vegan MoFo post. We hope you enjoyed all of the fun posts. We had a blast creating them. We will have some more fun holiday posts coming soon including the 12 days of Christmas from 52Teas and possibly even a rundown of what is in our favorite tea advent calendars!
Here’s the scoop!
Where to Buy: Russian Tea Time
Classic Tea Holder with Cut Crystal Glass
Enjoy this exquisite Russian tea glass holder, or “Podstakannik,” with your favorite tea. Now you can drink tea like a royal and be part of the tradition!
This would make a great gift idea paired with Russian Tea Time tea!
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Where To Buy: Libre Tea
Products > Libre glass’n poly Original
Each Libre glass ’n poly Original has a health-conscious glass interior for fresh taste and a durable polycarbonate exterior for ‘on the go’ durability. The stainless steel tea filter is surrounded by BPA free polypropylene as is the lid interior. Can be used 2 ways to brew and travel with loose leaf tea.
Learn more about this tea ware here.
I have mixed feelings about my Libre Tea Glass n Poly Original.
There is a slight learning curve to using it. Unfortunately I chose to use it the first time when I was on the go. Of course that is why I bought the item – for on the go. Regardless the result was me spending the first portion of my day with quite a large wet spot in the center of my lap. Yup – I was not too pleased with that. I will explain the incident in a bit.
To begin, there is one strong point about this tea glass that I want to point out. I have no idea why it is not highlighted more on their site, perhaps it is and I have not found it, but it is one of the most breathtaking parts about this item so if I were selling them I would have it very easy to find on the site. The part I am talking about is the lid! Look at the beauty here!
So a concern or dislike I have about this glass is that you have to let a lot of the steam dissipate before putting the lid on. Which means water that may not be hot enough to brew your favorite dark teas. Now to be fair this is information they very well pointed out on their site both in text and in the video, but even in having read it and seen it I’m still a little miffed about it. The reason you have to let the steam evaporate some is so that the seal does not leak when you turn it upside down to steep. If you don’t let enough steam out it can compromise the seal – thus potential leakage. I have found that while it still brews most of my black teas and pu’er quite well sometimes they are on the weaker side. Therefore I would not recommend using your most beloved dark teas in the Libre.
Another point is in regard to heat retention: When starting with boiling water – which has to be allowed to cool slightly before using the Libre, or using water at 195 degrees or above, the heat retention is decent. I have found my tea remains a least warm for up to a half hour. That is not terrible if you plan to drink your tea right away while on the go, however if you are wanting to sip it through out a span of time this may not be so handy. On the other hand if you are steeping a tea that starts out at a lower temp such as a green tea you don’t have near as long for your tea to remain hot, or even warm.
Sipping your tea: Okay this is where we get into my biggest complaint about the Libre and something that was not pointed out to me via the site or video. When you steep your tea using the infuser in the lid, be sure that when you remove the cap for the first time that you pay close attention! What happened to me is that water got trapped into the upper part of the lid with the leaves, inside the cap, and spilled all over my lap when I was in the car. Lucky for me that the heat retention was not all that great as I did not get burned! Still it was not fun to be headed to a public event with a wet lap and rear end because of course the tea that did not get soaked up by the lap of my pants went right between my legs onto the bottom part of my pants! So just be mindful to unscrew the cap and let the trapped tea escape into the glass rather than onto your lap! For a travel glass though I find this step quite annoying!
More on sipping: Maybe it is me, maybe I really do have a drinking problem, a tea drinking problem that is, but sometimes if I am not being mindful enough, when I take a sip there is a dribble, usually ending up on my shirt. I feel it has to do with the small sipping radius of the opening, and the threads where the lid screws on. The opening radius is small – my entire nose more or less has to go into the glass to get my lips around the opening. That makes it even more difficult to sip while the tea is still hot. No worries though that does not last too terribly long. Also due to the radius it is difficult to get enough of my mouth in the right place for proper sipping. Granted I may have a big mouth but it is something I have noticed. Due to it being a travel glass however I really don’t want the hassle of having to be all that mindful while sipping on the go. Ease of use could be far better.
Another issue I have with the Libre, which is a problem I find with most travel tea infusers, there is really no sipping mechanism that is truly convenient for travel. I’m not looking for a sippie cup and I don’t need a nipple, but it would be nice if there were a travel infuser that had some sort of lift up mechanism to sip out of without having to remove the entire lid. As I said this is not just an issue with Liber Glasses but travel tea glasses and containers as a whole. If you know of one that has this mechanism please let me know I would love to try it out and review it!
Size: Yes it does matter. I got the original size Libre. Its a decent size. Fits my small hand perfectly. If I liked it more, if it retained heat better, I would probably also get a larger size for longer travels as I can sip a tea down in light speed. However I will pass on getting a larger one due to the issues I have with this one.
So the pros of the Libre for me really come down to aesthetics other than it being BPA free, which is excellent. I think the lid is beautiful, stunning. The glass is clear, which I like as I can see my tea, the beauty of the tea, and how much I have left to enjoy. The size is good, fits my hand well. And well, that is about it.
I feel that Libre has a good idea here but I have seen many others identical to it from other vendors, except those did not have the pretty lid and the Libre name on it, so I would not go as far as to say it is a one of a kind item. Still I feel there is much room for improvement but then again this is only my opinion as I know there are others who absolutely adore their Libre Glass n Poly.
For me the downfall is I truly do not ENJOY sipping my tea out of the Libre Glass n Poly and tea should be enjoyable to sip.