Chinese design brand Defront has created a tea service that it hopes will make traditional drinking ceremonies popular with the country’s younger generation.
The Hei tea service is designed to replicate and simplify the four stages of a traditional ceremony – measure, place, wait and taste – by integrating the various steps into a portable set.
“We noticed that the tea ceremony is vanishing among the young generation,” said the brand, which was founded in 2015 with the aim of using design to re-engage with tradition.
“Inspired by the modern fast-working pace and increasing need of spiritual substance, we wished to make a design that could make the tea ceremony just as simple as having a tea bag,” it continued.
The design incorporates a disguised thermometer that lets the user measure water temperature using numbers marked on the lid. A drinking cup can be stored on top of the pot when not in use.
The set’s metal infuser is based on the shape of a teaspoon and attaches directly to the thermometer via a magnet, allowing it to be easily removed.
“This is the starting point for our design of Hei,” they added. “Defront combined Eastern and Western tea culture, redesigned tea drinking and infusion process, and made it adaptable to modern life.”
The set is named after the Chinese word for black, to symbolise “solemnity and quiet”, and is made from Yixing clay – a material that was first mined and used around a thousand years ago.
According to the brand, the clay’s mineral composition improves the taste experience, with its unglazed surface creating a better flavour by absorbing traces of the drink.
Defront funded the tea set on Kickstarter, achieving $36,528 of support in just three days.
Brooklyn designer Paul Loebach also put a spin on tea-drinking tradition, designing a laboratory-style set as an alternative to the “grandma look” of ceramic products. Other tea-related design covered on Dezeen includes pots with elongated necks reminiscent of flamingos, and a limited edition tea service with mammoth tusk handles.