Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Using the Nissan Thermos Backpack Bottle to Elevate my Tea Drinking

Back when the Dot Com bubble was bursting, and I outgrew drinking Mountain Dew in the morning, I noticed that our designer would start his day drinking a most delicious smelling hot beverage. I knew it was tea, but surely it was some sort of rare blend. All my previous experiences with tea were blah. No, he assured me, it was just plain tea. Nothing fancy. Then it occurred to me: in the past I had gravitated towards the fruity teas my mom always offered folks after dinner, and I was always disappointed when the drink tasted nothing like the fruit on the package. And thus I became a lover of plain old black tea. I'll enjoy a mint or green tea every now and then, but my preferred drink is just regular old Lipton Tea.

A few weeks back, at a Chinese Restaurant, we were served tea. Out came not only small cups and a teapot, but a stand and lit tea candle to keep the pot warm. Like one of these guys. This, I immediately decided, I needed for my desk. That way, I could have hot tea throughout the day, rather than the usual large mug worth which is either scalding hot or luke warm (yes, a real First World Problem).

There were flaws with this plan, though. First, my desk is pretty crowded as it is; adding a tea set wasn't really going to fit. And Second, and this is probably a tad bit more important, the thought of having a small fire burning beside me, just waiting to be knocked over, is a less than ideal situation. Sure, I could have gone the USB peripheral route, but where's the fun in that?

So I put the idea on hold.

Then it was my Birthday, and my Mother-in-Law was generous enough to get me a Nissan Thermos Backpack Bottle which promised to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. The first night, I put it to the test: I filled it with boiling hot tea at 7pm, and didn't touch it till 5am. At which point I took a sip. The result: hot tea. Not tepid tea. Not warm tea. But hot tea. Not really a surprise, as the bottle has 595 5-star reviews on Amazon. 10 hours probably wasn't even pushing the limits of this guy.

In fact, it did such a good job of keeping scalding tea hot that drinking from the thermos is was almost guaranteed to result in first degree burns. An impressive feat, but culinarily not very useful.

So I took a cue from the Chinese restaurant and brought up a small tea cup to my office. For the last few days I've been dispensing hot tea throughout the day. It's the same effect as the candle warmer, minus the potential to burn down the house. A small cup of tea cools down pretty fast, so I'm burning myself less, too. The whole experience feels all formal and deliberate. And the tea tastes great.

Actually, I really am impressed with the thermos as a useful tool. The thought that you can bring along a hot or cold liquid anywhere you go without fear of it spilling is impressive.

Next up, I've got branch out from tea and start thinking bigger. I give you: Thermos Cooking. Essentially, you can use a thermos of really hot water as a sort of improvised crock-pot. This is really handy if you're eating on the go. Which, because I work from home, I don't tend to do a whole lot of during the work day. Unless you consider that terrifically arduous walk to the kitchen.

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