Review: Snow Peak Titanium 450 Mug (2011)

Snow Peak Titanium 450 Double-Wall Mug

In keeping with the auspicious tradition begun by my HDPE Water Bottle Taste Test, I decided to get a Snow Peak's double-wall Titanium 450 mug and run it through my usual gauntlet of unscientific tests. The challenge: how would my favorite imported Jasmine Tea taste in the Snow Peak Mug, as compared to my favorite at-home mug.

The skinny on titanium is that it's supposed to be odorless/tasteless, in the sense that it doesn't alter the flavor of liquids or foods when used as a container. Notice I say 'supposed'. In practice titanium is always machined with added ingredients that do indeed affect taste and smell. I learned this the hard way when I bought a cheap titanium mug a few years back. Fluids in that mug tasted like Yak dung. Actually, I don't really know what Yak dung tastes like. But my tea did suck.

Snow Peak and MSR use higher quality Ti alloys, so I thought it was time to give Titanium another chance. What got me interested in the Snow Peak 450 Double-Wall is its...double wall. Yes, the mug actually has two walls, inner and outer, for the specific function of letting you drink hot tea without burning your fingers—and also without having to race to finish your hot tea before a cold wind turns it into iced tea.

So, on to our Taste Test. First, I brewed up a cup of my favorite Jasmine Tea (Yama Moto Yama) in my favorite at-home teacup, which is made of glass. I find that glass gives Jasmine tea an extra-smooth texture (shall we say, glass-like?) that rolls nicely off the front of the tongue. I took a few sips to get the taste of Jasmine/Green Tea perfection in my head, and then I poured the tea directly from glass into the Snow Peak mug and took a sip.

Okay...it still sucked.

I noticed a clear and present metallic tang from the Titanium alloy. So maybe Titanium versus Glass mug wasn't such a great test after all. The fairer test, since I'm never going to put a glass mug into my backpack, would have been to compare tea in the Snow Peak Mug versus my Jetboil Cookpot, or versus my anodized aluminum cookpot, which I also use as a mug.

By that point in the test, however, I'd kind of lost my enthusiasm. Maybe I'll look for a stainless steel mug to compare—but I don't have high hopes. The ultimate verdict here is going to have to be, tea in metal doesn't taste as good as tea in glass or china.

Let's run through a few other considerations, however. In addition to the fact that glassware tends to break and become deadly-jaggedy, it's heavy. The four-ounce Snow Peak 450 double-wall is a very reasonable choice for all but the most ruthless ounce-counters. And for those of you who are really ounce-averse, Snow Peak's single-wall cups get down all the way to 1.1 ounces, which leaves very little room to complain.

Andy Lewicky

ANDY LEWICKY is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer who enjoys good books, jasmine tea, long walks in the rain, and climbing and skiing the big peaks of the California Sierra. email | follow




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