Best tea infuser travel mugs

Okay, so admittedly I had a bit of a predicament here, as I wasn’t entirely sure that tea infuser travel mugs are the best piece of gear in the universe to take with you whilst galavanting around said universe, but my dorkily accumulated expertise on the subject knows no earthly bounds and thus demands narcissistic recognition.

Besides, a high quality vacuum-insulated tea infuser travel mug is not only spectacular for keeping drinks hot in the winter, but also for keeping ice water cold in the summer. The fact it also makes tea is effortlessly easy to ignore, and you can just swap out a regular water bottle for this instead, and you’ll gain the added bonus of having an awesome travel tea mug with no additional hassle. Win win!

So, here are my picks for the…

Best tea infuser travel mugs

1) Espro Travel Press

Espro Travel Press
Get it from Amazon

This is a relative newcomer, but definitely a major improvement to the French press style of steeping either tea or coffee; once the tea is steeped, you press down the plunger (with different components for steeping tea or coffee), which presses the leaves into a confined area, and stops them from over-steeping. The result is a better flavor, and you don’t have to remove any insert to start drinking. The filter is also much finer, which is especially great for tea drinkers, as it makes the brew a lot cleaner than typical French presses.

Better yet, the cap fits over the top once the plunger is down, which isn’t the case with most French presses. This means it won’t leak if you toss it into a bag, as long as the cap is screwed down.

  • 12 oz (0.35 L)
  • Stainless steel
  • Vacuum sealed
  • 360° drinking
  • Tea or coffee steeping
  • No need to remove brewed coffee or steeped tea

The Amazon listings seem to be 3rd party sellers, so the prices are occasionally wildly incorrect, perhaps also because it’s a Canadian company that sells the product, so it’s generally available through intermediaries. If something goes weird, just visit their site too.

2) Timolino TeaGo Mug

Timolino tea infuser travel mug
Buy from Amazon

This has been quite a reliable one for a long time, and although I’ve seen a few other designs since originally writing this list, it’s still a great choice for people who want something simple, and reliable. Just steep the tea in the insert basket, and take it out when you’re done.

  • 12 oz (0.35 L)
  • Stainless steel
  • Vacuum sealed
  • 360° drinking
  • Hidden chamber in the cap (for extra tea, or sugar)
  • Removable tea infuser
  • Drinking ports in the lid (rather than one gigantic opening)

The final point on that list is an important one, since it not only helps prevent hot drinks from spilling all over your face, but it also minimizes the amount of cold (or hot) air that can trickle into the chamber and ruin everything. Also, the cap comes off after just a brief twist, rather than having to rotate it a million times in order to take a sip. It’s a nice touch.

I also like the fact that it’s small, but you can find this one (and, as of somewhat recently, a larger version) from David’s Tea, which has more colors as well.

3) Highwave TeaMo XL

Highwave TeaMo XL tea infuser travel mug
Buy from Amazon

This one is rather similar when compared to the Timolino pictured above, but adds a push-button locking mechanism that adds another layer of protection to the whole procedure.

  • 16 oz
  • Stainless steel
  • Vacuum insulated
  • 360° drinking
  • Locking seal
  • Removable tea infuser basket
  • Hard-to-spill drinking ports

The locking mechanism means you can take off the cap and leave it upside down on the table, then leave the tea infuser nesting inside it, while leaving the mug on the table by itself, where its lock button will prevent it from spilling (and losing heat) even when the cap has been removed.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. Short version: It’ll work great.

4) Libre glass and polycarbonate tea mug

Libre tea mug
Buy from Amazon

This is an interesting design, which modified a fairly popular all-glass version made by other brands so it would suck a lot less. It’s glass on the inside, and indestructible polycarbonate on the outside.

  • Available in 9 oz and 14 oz bottles, or 10 oz mug with handle (0.26 L, 0.41 L, and 0.29 L)
  • Glass inside
  • Polycarbonate outside
  • Tea infuser hidden in the lid

The lid is actually where the tea goes. You stick the tea leaves in the cage, fill the mug with hot water, close it up, and turn it upside down. When it’s done, you turn it right-side up again, and the tea is no longer in contact with the hot water, so it can’t oversteep.

On the downside, it doesn’t insulate nearly as well as other designs, especially since you have to remove the entire cap to drink. This makes it good for hanging out somewhere, but not so great for bus rides, since it’s also easier to spill.

Also: Hot water can get stuck in the lid. When you turn it upright, the surface tension can hold it in there, so make sure to tap it to make the water fall out before you remove the lid, or you might spill it all over yourself.

5) Aladdin Tea Infuser Mug

Aladdin tea infuser mug
Buy from Amazon

This one’s pretty clever. You flip a switch to drop the infuser into the chamber, then switch it back to remove the tea from the hot water.

  • 12 oz (0.35 L)
  • Snap-open sippy lid
  • Microwave and dishwasher safe
  • Vacuum sealed
  • BPA-free plastic construction

Some of the above versions have the issue of either needing you to remove the infuser basket, or needing you to drink a certain amount of tea, so that the level of water drops below the tea leaves, so the tea can’t oversteep, This one skips that problem by having the drop-in mechanism, which is helpful if you’re taking this onto a bus and can’t deal with daintily leaving an infuser basket somewhere.

6) Any French press travel mug

Bodum French press travel mug
Buy from Amazon

Okay, so this one might be even better if you’re a huge coffee junkie as well, though on the other hand, many of the above options (particularly the ones with fine filters) work well enough for coffee too. If you shove a French press plunger all the way down so it squishes the leaves, it prevents them from contacting the water any further and becoming oversteeped.

The recent newcomer Espro listed above is probably a better choice at this point, but this sort of design has been around for a while, and it’s certainly reliable.

This one features:

  • 15 oz (0.45 L)
  • Stainless steel
  • Vacuum sealed
  • Flip-top drinking port
  • Rubberized grip
  • Built-in plunger
  • Dishwasher safe

Keep in mind it might not provide a perfect seal, so don’t fill it up with boiling water and then throw it in a bag or something. That would be bad.

7) Contigo’s Tea Infuser Insert

Contigo Travel Tea Mug insert
Get it from Amazon

So if you’re a big fan of Contigo travel mugs, you’ll be a big fan of this little accessory. You just stick it into a Contigo mug with some tea inside, and you can steep the tea right inside. Then you remove the insert, and drink.

Contigo mugs are pretty famous for their heat retention, so you might want to change the brew time to a be a little quicker, but then it’ll stay warm for quite some time.

The Contigo has also been updated since its original design; the well-known model, known as the West Loop, had a feature added that makes it easier to clean, as well as a locking mechanism that prevents the top from opening just from grabbing it. Both of these additions made it into a much more usable product, and it’s popular enough that’s easy to find quite cheaply, too.

More tea infuser travel mugs?

There are probably billions out there, but I excluded quite a few because there are simply superior alternatives listed here, particularly since many of the options are made entirely of glass and are a horrible idea for traveling around. So these are some of the best options out there for great tea infuser travel mugs that’ll last as long as any other item you love to bring along wherever you go.

Or a somewhat related note, check out my picks for best portable water purifiers if you’re off to the wilderness and want crystal clear water wherever you go.

About SnarkyNomad

Eytan is a pretentious English major whose rant-laden sarcastic tirades occasionally include budget travel tips and other international nonsense. You can follow his every narcissistic word on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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14 Comments on “Best tea infuser travel mugs”

  1. I’m sold on the one from David’s Tea, but one thing is unclear–neither you nor the website explained this bit:

    Does the infuser need to be removed in order to drink the tea?

    I like the idea of being able to remove it, should I choose to limit the steeping… but is it necessary to remove it every time I want to take a sip?

    (Thanks for the post!)

    1. It’s not totally necessary, but you would usually want to remove the tea before you drink, so the tea doesn’t oversteep and become bitter. But if on the other hand you just drink enough of the tea that the water level is too low to immerse the leaves, then it would work fine. The leaves would just get a splash each time you drink and it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

      1. It’s for getting through a day on campus. When I head out in the morning, I usually go with a rooibos blend which tends to resist oversteeping. Then, I transition to my greens, blacks, etc. Throughout the day, I usually drink it the second it’s ready.

        …and really, oversteeping is a small price to pay for: 1) having a container I know won’t break (like my glass one just did today); 2) having portable tea, in general.

        In fact, I’ve been dealing with the other one and its ‘eternal-steep’ mechanism… so even the option to remove the strainer is just a bonus.

        1. Yeah, with rooibos you’re usually fine. One trick you can do is fill the mug halfway up with hot water, and turn it upside down for a few minutes to steep. Then turn it right-side up and the water level is too low to oversteep the leaves. Some other tea mugs are specifically designed for this, but the trick will work for most designs anyway, though you might have to refill a little more often. Leaving the basket inside might slow down the flow, but if you’re on the bus or walking, it’s just something you’ll have to deal with, and it’ll probably be just fine, since you usually just want to sip anyway.

    2. I had the same question…So I clicked thru to David’sTea Website…from the pictures, it’s clear that I’d have to remove the strainer to drink the tea liquor…is that right? Show stopper for me…because where I would put the strainer on the train or bus?
      thanks to Nomad for writing an elaborate review…I want to try it in Davids’ tea store, though…

      1. Technically you don’t have to. The infuser is up at the top of the mug, so if you only fill the mug up to about 2/3 of its capacity, the water level won’t touch the tea leaves, so you could brew upside down, then flip right side up to stop the steeping, and drink. It’s an imperfect method, but it’ll work.

  2. Thank you for the great review of tea infusers – just what I needed to know. Have ordered the Aladdin as this will suit my friend perfectly, just a shame it’s $17 on Amazon.com and I just had to pay £23 on .co.uk!! It’ll be worth it though for her as she is a special needs teacher and doesn’t have time to sit and drink a cup of tea. Angela

  3. Thanks for the insightful reviews!

    I’d love to know your thoughts on glass versus stainless steel. I have a glass tea infuser from Grosche (http://www.grosche.ca/) that I love and prefer because I find the stainless steel mugs alter the taste of my tea. Does anyone else find that? Maybe it was just the brand I bought. I’ll love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    Elizabeth

    1. Stainless steel needs to be rinsed out a few times before it’s usable, but after that it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Glass doesn’t do this. You still need to rinse it out, just in case it’s dusty, but that’s about it. I just like stainless steel better because sooner or later I’ll drop it. There are some glass bottles with a silicone bumper on the outside, and those are good, but I expect I’ll manage to break it sooner or later.

  4. Would it be possible to update this list? I hope travel tea infuser mug technology has progressed.

    I had the Aladdin Tea Infuser Mug. It was clever, but the bottle didn’t insulate well (would get cold after a couple hours), and the basket was a pain to clean out.

    Still looking for that elusive ideal tea travel mug. So far I haven’t found anything that solves the problem of over-brewing.

    1. Well, I’ve seen some here and there, but they’re not fundamentally different…I could add them, but they’re just going to be variations of the same kind of thing.

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