How to Care for Your Glassware

May 17, 2022

by Janelle Wazorick


Tea is a delight for the senses: the flavors, the aromas, the colors! And what better way to enjoy the delights of tea than with glassware? From the Glass Mug to the Glass Teapot, glass teaware allows you to view the rich colors of tea from the submerging of leaves in hot water to the pouring of a cup of tea. In the market for some tea glassware? Here is what you need to know to keep and maintain glassware to enjoy many pots of tea to come.

What to Look for in Glassware

Before you run out and buy any glassware, let’s talk about what glassware will work with brewing tea. When seeking out glassware to use with tea or any hot beverage, the important thing is to look for glassware that has been made to withstand heat. Typical glasses used for juice, wine, or other chilled beverages can crack from the increase in temperature. Glassware made with tempered glass or borosilicate glass is made to withstand temperature increases and is often found in glassware specifically made for brewing tea.

When browsing glassware, you’ll no doubt run into single and double walled glassware. Depending on what you want in a tea experience, you may prefer one over the other.

Single Walled Glass: The traditional option and easy to find, single-walled glassware is just like your favorite ceramic mug only made of glass. It doesn’t retain heat well, so your beverage will cool faster, but you can get burned if you handle the glass while the beverage is still hot. However, the entire space inside the glassware can be filled with your favorite tea, with no volume lost.

Double Walled Glass: Described as glass within a glass, double walled glassware has a vacuum of air between the two walls of glass. This acts as an insulator, keeping the heat from the tea from transferring to your hand (and burning you) as you pick it up. While it may feel thin and delicate, double-walled glassware is sturdy. However, because of the open space between the walls, this type of glassware will hold less liquid than single-walled glassware of the same size.

Using Glassware

So, you’ve finally purchased some tea glassware and are eager to brew your next cup and enjoy the mélange of colors. Brewing tea in glassware is the same as brewing in any other kind of teaware, but before you put the kettle on, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to keep your glassware around for many pots of tea to come.

Wash Your Glassware Immediately After Getting It

Before you even think about brewing a pot of tea, make sure to thoroughly wash your glassware and any accessories it comes with (read on for cleaning tips). Even if glassware comes in a box, it’s important to clean off any residue from the manufacturing process: not only will it affect the flavor of the brewed tea, but you don’t want to ingest any of the chemicals used to make your teapot.

Some infusers that come with glass teapots or cups may come with a silicone ring around the top. This is to help keep the infuser in place in the teapot as well as protect the glass from contact with metal. Instead of discarding the silicone ring, wash it along with the teapot and infuser and put it back on the infuser once it has dried.

Heat and Glass

One of the most common causes of cracks in glassware is thermal shock, which results from glass being exposed to sudden changes in temperature; repeated thermal shock can also weaken glass until it finally cracks. While most glassware made for tea is made for heat exposure, it’s still important to be mindful of dealing with glass and heat. To avoid your glassware from cracking, keep the following rules in mind:

• Make sure your glassware isn’t too cold when you pour hot water into it. If your glassware is stored in a cool location, make sure you bring it out ahead of time to give it a chance to warm up. Another option is to pour a little warm water into the glassware and discard it to warm the glass before brewing (in fact, many traditional Asian methods of brewing tea, such as Gong Fu, recommend doing this to avoid the water temperature from getting too cold for brewing)

• Avoid dishwashing glassware (or, if you must wash on the top rack with a low-temperature setting). One of the most common causes of cracking glass is the temperature fluctuations that can occur in the dishwasher. Many tea glassware is safe for dishwashing, but to be on the safe side, I like to handwash my glassware so I can control the water temperature. If, however, you prefer to use the dishwasher, avoid higher temperature settings and keep any glassware on the top rack.

• Unless otherwise stated, do not use glassware directly on a heat source. With the exception of glass kettles that are made to heat water (like Adagio’s Water Kettle), water should be heated in a separate kettle and poured into glassware.

Additionally, glassware should be kept out of the microwave unless otherwise stated.

Care For Your Glassware

You’ve enjoyed your tea in your glassware, but now it’s time to clean up. To extend the life of your glassware, you need to show it some love by caring for it: gently wash it, store it away properly, and avoid any unnecessary stress.

Washing by Hand

Many tea glassware is made to be dishwasher safe, but to be on the safe side, I like to handwash glassware to avoid etching or cracking that can occur in the dishwasher. Wash glassware in warm water with dish soap, using a soft washcloth or sponge. If washing a teapot, invest in a thin, double-sided brush to reach in and clean the hard-to-reach areas of the teapot spout. Dry the glassware with a soft towel and lay it on a drying pad upside down to airdry the rest of the way.

Baking Soda: A Simple and Effective Cleaning Agent

Sometimes, glassware will develop stubborn tea stains. It may seem that no amount of scrubbing can budge them but rest assured: there is an easy and inexpensive solution, and chances are you have it in your pantry already. Baking soda is a wonderful compound that not only has its uses in cooking but also in cleaning. It’s a mild abrasive that will gently lift even the most stubborn tea stains off glassware. Simply apply baking soda to the stain in question, rub (either with your fingers or a soft cloth), and rinse. It even works on tea stains stuck on non-glassware such as ceramic mugs or metal infusers.

Sometimes, you might even have a leftover tea smell on your glassware. Unless you want your last pot of lapsang souchong to accompany your current pot of silver needle, getting rid of that smell is a top priority. Luckily, that baking soda you used to get rid of tea stains can also be used to deodorize your glassware. If you detect an after-smell on your glassware, simply fill your glassware with water and pour a tablespoon or two of baking soda into it (you can just eyeball it: it’s not an exact science). Let the solution soak for at least thirty minutes (or even overnight), and rinse. Repeat if necessary.

Storing

Store your glassware in a safe location where it won’t easily fall, such as a cabinet or stable shelf. Use a shelf liner if you can, since it will help circulate air underneath your glass and help prevent condensation (as well as cushion it against the hard surface of the shelf). Avoid touching glassware with other glassware.

The End of a Glass’s Life

It happens: maybe we poured hot water too quickly into the glass, it slipped out of our hands, or that seemingly soft tap was more damaging than we thought. Due to its delicate nature, glass does chip and crack. If this happens, stop using your glassware! The last thing you want is to get an injury when you sit down to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea (not to mention the mess it could make!). Safely discard the glassware and replace it.