Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Tea Spot steeps loose tea in WHAT?!?!?!

We get a lot of questions regarding the choice of silicone for our Tuffy Steepers. As the socially responsible loose leaf tea company, and the creators of STEEPWARE... it was a rather dramatic departure from handcrafted porcelain! And needless to say, for a tea connoisseur, the thought of steeping your tea in a rubber basket is, at first blush, not very appealing! But I would challenge even some of the most refined tea drinkers to carry a Silicone Tuffy Tea Steeper around on their next few out of town trips… and I’d bet that most of them will ultimately succumb and become users of this nice, big, and practical loose leaf tea filter that folds up to less than half of its total volume. Yes, the first time you smell a new Tuffy, it’s going to smell of rubber – but pour boiling water through it, and let it sit for a while – it will be odorless after your first steeping (it you prefer to rinse it with tea that will go to water your favorite plant later, be my guest…

There was a lot of research and testing done on silicone materials before we came out with this product – that’s why our’s is made with a German-grade (not US, sorry!) silicone – it exceeds the FDA standards, and is considered “medical-grade” silicone. I too was a bit taken aback the first time I saw a quiche baked in a flimsy rubber pan – wouldn’t that rubber melt right into my food?! Silicone rubber is a synthetic rubber made from a polymer of silicon and oxygen, and food-grade silicone is considered very inert. Silicon is one of the most plentiful elements in the Earth's crust, second only to oxygen. The melting point of our Silicone is 932°F - not a likely temperature to get anywhere close to while making tea…

In addition, we feel that there's no big barrier to purchasing and using silicone rubber objects, if you follow the general responsible consumption plan, aka, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Silicone is certainly preferable to toxic plastics, and a happy alternative material (so far as we know) in baby bottles and non-stick pans. It's reasonable to replace disposable paper muffin tin liners and the like with silicone liners, if we use the silicone liners for years and years. So… no need to make things complicated next time you camping or on the road – you can just grab a Tuffy Steeper, along with some of your favorite tea leaves and stay well anti-oxidized… that’s why we created it – so drink up, and feel good about it!

1 comment:

  1. There's going to be a bias against all new materials used for tea steeping. However, the advent of the modern fine teas at least available here in the West only goes back a couple decades at most. So who knows what's the best for everyone's tea? Your explanation here certainly makes sense: silicon is itself a natural material not really very different from, for instance, Yi Xing clay. And I must say "medical grade" sets my mind at ease. --Jason