Where to Buy: Tsleeve
The goal of t-sleeve® is to be not only a convenient way to enjoy tea, but to be as eco-friendly as possible. Both the box packaging and t-sleeve® are recyclable. Once t-sleeve® comes in contact with the moist tea bag, it becomes a compostable product. Feel good about doing your part for the environment and reducing your carbon footprint.
Learn more about this product here.
When I first received this product to review, I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it. If you’ve read my reviews for any length of time, you’re already aware of what I think about bagged tea. I prefer loose leaf – always! – and while I have managed to find some bagged teas that I’m happy with, I still have qualms about the bag. And here I was with Tsleeves, a product that in essence embraces the tea bag. Hmm.
As with all things tea, I try to go into the review with an open mind, so I’ll do that wit this product too.
So, what is this product? It’s a sturdy cardstock envelope that’s just a wee bit larger than the average size individually wrapped tea bag. (For this particular review, I used a Stash tea bag.) You can also put a packet of your favorite sweetener in the Tsleeve.
The image doesn’t really show it, but there’s a little slit in the back of the Tsleeve that allows you to slide the flap into the slit for a closure. Then you have a neat little package with your traveling tea needs to take with you wherever you’re headed (a restaurant or hotel that doesn’t serve tea you like, work, or whatever.) It’s a handy little way to take tea (even though it’s bagged) with you. You can easily stow the Tsleeve in your purse or briefcase.
Note: I wouldn’t recommend using an unwrapped tea bag in this product, because of the little rectangular notch at the top of the Tsleeve, the unwrapped tea bag would not be protected from the elements, including the elements in your purse.
Anyway, when you’re ready to brew, then you remove your tea bag from the Tsleeve, unwrap the tea bag, and then slide the tag and string through the Tsleeve and through the notch at the top, as shown in the picture to the right.
This is probably the most useful part of the Tsleeve, in my opinion. On the occasions when I’m brewing tea in a tea bag, the tag seems to inevitably end up in the cup with the liquid as it infuses. Either the string isn’t long enough, or the act of pouring the hot water into the teacup seems to whoosh the teabag right into the cup with the liquid and I either have to try to fish the tag out with a spoon or fork or I burn my fingertips trying to get the tag out with my fingers. This ‘feature’ offers a larger ‘anchor’ that doesn’t get swept away into the tides of my teacup.
So, instead of having a dainty little tag on the side of the teacup, you have a rather large, anchoring Tsleeve sitting on the side of your teacup. This isn’t the most attractive look if you’re at a tea party with fancy teacups and saucers, but, if you’re drinking out of the average hotel room cup, it’ll work fine.
Once your tea is finished brewing, the idea is to hold onto the Tsleeve while you pull the tag up, which will pull the tea bag into the Tsleeve. Then, they suggest that you squeeze the tea bag into your cup.
I didn’t do this. Why? Because you should NEVER squeeze a tea bag into your cup. This doesn’t squeeze flavor into your tea cup, it squeezes tannins into your tea cup, making it bitter. This is supposed to be the main function of the Tsleeve – to help you ‘squeeze’ the tea bag and dispose of the tea bag.
So, for me, the most useful part of this Tsleeve is that it anchors the tea bag tag so that it doesn’t go floating in my tea and it gives me an easy way to dispose of the tea bag after I’m finished steeping the tea bag.
For me, personally, this product really has a very limited use for me because I don’t drink a lot of bagged tea and because I don’t squeeze the tea bag. (And neither should you.)
But, I do thank the makers of this product for sending me a sample of it to try. I can see how this would be a useful tool for the casual sipper who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t squeeze the tea bag. For those of us who do know better, it could be a handy convenience when we want a cleaner way to dispose of the tea bag when not at home.