Cozy Season Cometh So Here's A Considered Collection of Kettles & Teapots
Posted on 21 November 2015
There are a lot of positive aspects that come with the turning of seasons. Really! In the fall we're thrilled by brilliant leafy hues, wooed by pumpkin spiced nonsense, and re-educated in the delicate arts of layering. Warm drinks are hardly a fall/winter exclusive, but there's something extra special about the role tea or coffee plays during the darker months. They're often part of a morning ritual, or a needed beacon of comfort to guide us into our icy days. So it's hardly odd that most countries (and families) have deep traditions around how to prepare our steamy things properly.
Though drinking methods run deep (and deeply subjective) I always appreciate inspiring design, so I've rounded up some interesting examples of warm drink wares from our design files and our own collections. Even if we're set in our ways, it's nice to add a little appreciation for the tools that help us through the irritatingly chilly days ahead.
Natsume-gata Arare tetsubin kettle by Kozan. Japanese kettles made in this style and region traditionally use a high-iron "nambu" cast iron (the same used in our Iwachu skillets), graceful shapes, and interesting textures. The nambu imparts healthy iron into the diet, and the form is designed to highlight the process of making and drinking the tea. This particular style combines a couple of my favorite features: a hedgehog-y pebbled texture, a bold height-doubling handle that is likely to stay cool, and a stubby-but-sensible baby elephant spout.
The Whistler by Rachel Castro for Alma Gemea. This tea set features simple ceramic cylinders wrapped in a layer of insulating cork. The series is named after the Whistler, one of the oldest cork trees growing in Portugal, and the forms are inspired by the way cork bark wraps around the truck. The soft cork provides both heat retention and hand protection, as well as a striking contrast against the smooth hard (and hot!) ceramic. Can't sterilize cork? Whatever, just make oolong. That stuff smells executively funky even when it's perfect and delicious.
Michele de Lucchi for Cleto Munari Carafe. This crazy server dates to the middle period of Munari's work with architect Carlo Scarpa, after the two creatives had thoroughly traded inspiration about art, design, architecture, haptics and food. Its bonkers late-'70s modernity appeals to the forcibly zany Memphis revival currently trickling through the design world, but it's also just plain fun.
The tall and beautiful Peter Schlumbohm Chemex Water Kettle combines the attractive glass of the ubiquitous Chemex Coffeemaker with bizarre design features. The long neck is meant to double as the handle, as the playful cork or silicone stopper diverts heated steam away from the external glass. In practice we've found that this absolutely isn't the case, since heat from a gas stove reaches the neck anyway making it more visually compelling than useful. Beautiful idea, but I'd stick to their insulated options.
Menu Kettle Teapot with Tea Egg by Norm Architects. This cool set incorporates a few fun parts. At the bottom you get an updated tea warmer with a removable ceramic base and candle. The kettle itself is pure glass, which is both beautiful and functional since it allows a clear look at how steeped your tea is when you're running wild and timer-free. The cap and "egg" submerge your tea at a variable depth, and when you're done steeping you simply pull up on the silicone tab to stop the steep. The thin flat handle likely sheds heat nicely, and looks pretty slick.
Aggressively Alessi Designed
9091 Tea Kettle by Richard Sapper for Alessi. Feels like half of a silver bowling ball, looks like a modernist rooster, sounds like a beautiful train. Trigger will burn the sweet bejeesus out of your finger if you want to pour its warm contents into anything more concentrated than your whole counter.
Ceramic French Press by Yield Design. Yes, ceramics and semi-precious metals are trending. No, a ceramic French press doesn't sound any more user friendly than a run-of-the mill Pyrex press, though ceramic does have some insulating qualities. But look at this thing. LOOK AT IT. Beautiful lines, aggressively simple depressor, comfortableish handle, and boy howdy is it chic. And at 1.5 liters it is nice and big, which is obviously a plus.
Ikawa Coffee Home Roaster. There's a lot of very minimal coffee and tea products out there (and fairly so - we're talking about hot water plus a fragrant thing of choice) but I do require some interesting function with my form. This small roaster pares down the simple act of heating your beans to what you really need with modern precision, and finally injects the device that does it with a less plasticky look than consumer roasters normally come with. No wonder their Kickstarter went crazy.
If minimalist design isn't your thing and you need more warmth to get you through the day, consider investing in a samovar. If anybody knows how to go big and go hard on some warm beverages, it's the Russians. The samovar has hardly been exempt from modern minimalism though. Apparently no excess is sacred.