I have written before about the greatness and convenience of Chinese tea thermoses. I use a Chinese tea thermos nearly every day on the way to work, either a glass one or a Yixing-style clay one. One of the necessary accessories for these thermoses – especially the glass ones – is something to transport the thermos in so that it is protected against breakage. (I learned my lesson about this with the first glass thermos I bought, which I broke very soon after.)
One thing that I found makes an ideal carrying container is a fabric bag intended for a wine bottle. The one that I use is roomy and tall, and it is made of thick enough felt that it serves very well to protect the tea thermos. It would be easy enough to put some additional fabric inside to provide even more cushion, but I just keep it clean and simple. It is also easy to carry around since it has nice, long handles at the top. Most wine carrying bags are not very suitable for protecting tea thermoses because they’re made out of paper or they’re too thin or too ugly, but this one has done an excellent job and cost very little money.
And then there’s the odder solution…
I am more obsessive about cultural cohesion than anyone I know. I’d never drink Japanese tea out of Chinese cups, as one example which can be extrapolated to my approach to most everything else related to tea. Part of this is conceptual, and part is aesthetic, and part of it is so that I can follow a logical system without having to actually make too many choices among a huge array of tea ware. This compulsion for cultural conformity, however, is also the reason that I find my other protective tea thermos protector so utterly hilarious.
I’m usually on the lookout for objects that suit a particular purpose, regardless of what they were manufactured for. So when I saw a display of tacky beer cozies in the grocery store, I realized with glee that they would fit perfectly around a Chinese tea thermos. So I sifted through the offensive slogans on stretchy polyester and nylon hoping to find one that could fit my mischievous intentions for it. The one I chose was just as outlandish as the others in the bin, but has a subtle charm – and it’s red, which scores it a few points right off. I’m also quite sure that “high life” is a reference to caffeine, or tea grown in the mountains, or the pure joy of drinking tea, right?
As I anticipated, it fits perfectly. It’s a little snug around the glass thermos, but fits around the clay thermos like it was made for it. To be honest I haven’t actually taken a tea thermos out of the house wearing this silly cover because the other carrying bag is so easy and effective, but I always have the option. Besides, I am very glad to have rescued this perky girl in the red, yellow and black Germanic dress from a life surrounding a beer bottle.
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- Han Tea Ceremony at Seattle Chinese Garden
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