Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Katherine Petty from the Rare Tea Company

It looks like a brilliant design- I’m aware of the Galileo thermometer and how it works and it seems like a great way to get the optimum temperature for the water. As I’m sure you are aware, the temperature of the water is crucial to the final taste of the tea, and different teas need different brewing temperatures to achieve the best possible taste. This is something that is quite difficult to achieve using a kettle, so the use of a Galileo thermometer seems like an ideal solution. I also think the use of glass is good - I always use glass teapots as it’s the best way to see the colour of the tea and I can watch the leaves infuse perfectly. Instead of using the colour to determine whether it’s ready, I often go by time, steeping the tea leaves for anywhere between 1-5 minutes depending on what tea it is.

The only slight concern I have is that from that initially it does look rather complicated- a little like a science experiment rather than a tea serving set, but for experimental methods it must be the best way to find the temperature.

Well done on all your hard work and it’s great to have another tea fanatic among us! I apologise again that I couldn’t be much help, next time if you could let us know a little sooner before your deadline we should be able to dedicate more time to it.

All the best,


Oscar from Suki Tea

I started SUKI TEA at a small Farmer’s Market with a good friend of mine in March 2005 in our quest for the perfect cuppa. With ethical sourcing our priority, we set out to provide consumers with the finest loose leaf tea, herbal infusions and fruit blends from around the world without compromising on quality and freshness. With multiple awards now under our belt, we are confident we have succeeded in our quest. SUKI TEA really is ‘TEA AS IT SHOULD BE’, however it was not an easy journey. When Callum presented me with his design for ‘The perfect cup’ it took me back to our original problem of how to bring a bit of mystique back into the tea drinking experience. Callum’s approach to this is from the tea drinkers perspective and I believe that an essential part of savouring something or the fine dining experience is to bring theatre to food and drink so I can see application for ‘the perfect cup’ in this area. The three glass system, temperature bulb, caddy and filter certainly turn making a brew into an artform. This concept is not about convenience rather the experience of tea, how it should be enjoyed. I look forward to see how Callum develops as a designer and will be keeping a close eye on his future work.

I have been researching teaware worldwide, consistently for the last 6 years and have not come across a more unique approach to serving tea. I’ll certainly be ordering ‘the perfect cuppa’ for myself if the opportunity arises.

Oscar Woolley

Co-Founder - SUKI TEA.

Local tea shop user testing

Completed object together

The tea board and metal together

Finished Tea board.

Building the tea board

The plastic for the tea board was layered together and cleaned up by putting a trim round the board using a mitre.
A hole was left in the board for a draw. The edges of the mitre were tidied using a little black wax to fill gaps.

Metal turning

The holes that were cut into the plastic are going to be filled with aluminum to help bring all the separate components of this product together.

Laser cutting layout on to plastic

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Plastic delivered

I went for the plastic made from old coffee cups by smile Plastics.

Recycled Plastics

Found a company called Smile Plastics which sell sheet recycled plastics. What is interesting about the company is a plastic they sell called Charcoal. This material is made from old coffee cups.
What a nice material for my tea board!


Spoken to a company who are happy to supply me with either Durat or Corian. Durat costs over £800 and Corain only £200. With Durat being out of my price range I am a bit unsettled at the thought of using a non recycled material as I can afford it. Think I should really focus on looking for an alternative.


Received a few samples of Durat.

Tea board

I am choosing between two materials Durat and Corian. Durat is a material used in hospitals and laborites for its durable and resistant properties and is made from recycled plastics. Corian has the same applications and properties as the Durat but is not as friendly to the earth. Is Corian a material I want to use? It doesn't tie in with the believes of drinking real loose tea which is sustainability.

I will look in to both and see which material is nicer.

Tea Filter Problem

The current tea filter design has a few problems. Visually it is heavy and due to the volume that the tea filter took within the carafe the water level had to be lower meaning the bulbs were had to retrieve. Along side those problems small tea leaves leaked out of the filter rendering it useless.The revisal of the tea filter is a mesh design visually lighter and takes less volume in the carafe leaving lower water level for easy bulb removal. The small holes in the mesh means there were little to no tea leafs escaping from the filter.

Tea Filter Problem

Balancing the weights

Using the old weights I was able to calculate what weight was required to balance the new weights. So the new weights were cut down and balanced so the bulbs responded to the correct temperatures.

Making the new weights.

With a visit from guest lecturer Stefano Milano he told me I should re think the design of my bulb weights. The old design of the leafs were nice but did not en-capture the theme of the product correctly. The tall glass carafe the scientific method of measuring temperature gives a very science feel, the leafs did not.

A revised design is a simple metal rod that can be hung on the bottom of the bulbs rounding off the scientific design.

Glass Return

The revised glass bulb with more volume and better loop for weight attachments.
The glass carafe return. A cup with vacuum double wall to prevent heat loss. Double walled carafe so it can be handled happily without burning.