I was recently contacted by the folks at GlassDharma, asking if I wanted to check out their products. No, they have nothing to do with the TV show Lost. Rather, GlassDharma is the purveyor of glass beverage straws. Yup, you heard me right… glass straws!
“Hmmmm, that’s an interesting idea,” I thought. But then I wondered, “well, why would I ever need a glass straw?” Company founder and glassblower David Leonhardt hopes they provide an answer to the excess waste of plastic straws in landfills, while also being a healthier solution that won’t leech toxins into your beverage.
GlassDharma sent me 3 models to test out for this review:
Simple Elegance Standard (12 mm diameter and 8 inches long)
- Their flagship model, a straight straw
- Also available in 9.5 mm/8 inch and 14 mm/9 inch sizes
- Price Range: $7-10
Beautiful Bend (9.5 mm diameter and 9 inches long)
- Straw with a bend located towards the top
- Also available in 12 mm/9 inch size
- Price Range: $8-9
Decorative Dots (7 mm diameter and 6.25 inches long)
- Artsy, narrow straw with colored glass dots fused to the side
- Also available in 9.5 mm/8 inch, 12 mm/8 inch, and 14 mm/9 inch sizes
- 6 color “dot” options: Red, Green, Blue, Amber, Clear, & Black
- Price Range: $7-12
There’s also a Simple Elegance Extra Long straw that is ideal for mugs or tall glasses (or as I found out, dropping into a 20 oz. bottle of pop… I lost my Standard length straw attempting that!) The Extra Long sizes include 9.5 mm/10 inches and 12 mm/10 inches and run $7-8. Additionally, you can get a Simple Elegance “Shorty” version that is 6.25 inches long, available in 7 mm, 9.5 mm, and 12 mm diameters — price is $6-8.
Each straw came packaged in a little cardboard box proclaiming that it was “handmade in the USA” with a lifetime guarantee. In fact, per their website, the GlassDharma straws are “made of borosilicate tubing… the strongest glass commercially available” and are “annealed to Corning, Inc. specifications (a process that strengthens the glass).”
So now you know all the marketing and product information. But what did I think of the actual straws?
Well, to be honest, I’m not a huge straw user, other than when I’m patronizing a local fast food joint. And I had a hard time thinking that I’d lug around a glass straw for use in such situations. The company sells carrying cases made of either bamboo or hemp that you can take with you for such purposes, but I didn’t get a chance to try those out.
Primarily, my testing was done at home. Granted, this use of the straws didn’t really contribute to “saving the Earth” from waste, but it did seem to elevate a regular drink to something more elegant. And when you think about it, many of us are drinking a lot more water these days, typically with a water bottle at our desks. How you usually get water out of a water bottle? Yeah, with a built-in plastic straw of some sort. Replace that with a glass and a glass straw and see if you don’t drink more water… I did!
I also loaned my set of straws to a friend to try out — when was the last time you loaned a straw to a friend? (ha ha!) She noted that the larger diameter straws were really ideal for drinking milkshakes and smoothies, which are great applications.
The biggest problem I had with the straws was cleaning, which reminded me a lot of chemistry class in high school. GlassDharma does sell cleaning brushes, which I would probably recommend, but didn’t have a chance to try for this review. Without the brushes, it just seems like a lot of work to keep these things clean. On the plus side, they can handle dishwashers and hot/cold water without a problem.
As I read the text, descriptions, and photos featured on the GlassDharma website, I can’t help but think they are missing out on positioning the “specialness” and even “sexy” appeal of using these glass straws. Yes, I can see if you are environmentally conscious, that’s a great angle to take. However, there’s a lot to be said for “hey, these are just really cool straws!”
We tried to capture some of that appeal with the photos featured throughout this review, which were taken by my friend Sarah as she gave the straws for a test drive as well. I really liked the appeal and class that her photography captured with this product. I personally think that this could potentially be a great way to help sell the idea of “glass straws” to those who might be scratching their head at the idea!
Overall, while the idea of using GlassDharma straws is probably not a mainstream accepted practice, they are a well-crafted addition to your overall beverage experience. While not only conserving plastic and being more organic in application, they also bring a level of class and sophistication to an everyday drink… and are totally worth it if you can swing the added expense!