Tea is synonymous with bourgeois comfort. Scores of writers agree that there are few things as cozy on a rainy day than a cup of strong tea and a good book. Kakuzō Okakura, for one, divined the art of life and "romanticism of the social order" from the tea ceremony, while Dostoevsky’s Underground Man finds a warm cup of tea preferable to humanity’s bleakness.
Still, apart from its literary pedigree, tea isn’t exactly cool. When it comes to design, coffee—tea’s rival—has the aromatic drink beat. After all, for every smartly designed teapot, you have an Aldo Rossi coffee maker or an espresso machine made to look like a Ferrari.
Japanese design firm Kinto’s new loop tea strainer takes inspiration from the gizmo revolution in design—a "smart tea preparation" for a smartphone age. It looks a lot like a USB drive or an iPod nano, but rather than store bits of data, the capsule holds spoonfuls of loose tea.
The sleek design features a mesh lid that you slide open to scoop the tea and close when you’re ready to dip the stick into a cup full of hot water. The strainer even comes with a "docking station" to store the would-be device when not in use. Framed as such, the stick will fit right at home on your gadget-laden work desk.
Most of us consume a great deal of our tea intake in the office break room or cubicle. But because few co-workers share similar tastes in tea—some people actually like Pomegranate Vanilla White Tea—individual tea bags are usually the only viable option. That’s why the Loop strainer is a godsend for tea connoisseurs. It lets you have your customized tea leaves at home, work, or even on the go. And it’s easy to clean. Can’t beat that.
You can pick up the strainer here for $17.