For all its high-class connotations, the ritual of making tea is rather messy. After steeping your tea bag, you’re required to do one of two things: pull the dripping pouch from your cup and drag it to the nearest saucer, losing precious tea, or place the tea bag on your spoon and wrap the string tightly around it to squeeze out every last bit of Earl Grey. Both methods get your hands wet, and one renders your spoon useless. Tèo, a new teaspoon designed by Austrian designer Karin Santorso for Alessi, takes a more dignified approach to tea bag management with a handsome, sculptural solution that takes care of the tea bag for you.
Tèo is essentially a wide spoon, big enough to cradle a tea bag. But the magic happens due to its hollow handle, which allows the tea drinker to draw the tea bag by the string up through the top. The handle narrows slightly, naturally squeezing the tea bag of its moisture, while the steeped tea from the bag runs cleanly down the spoon and back into the tea cup. The tea bag, firmly encased inside the spoon’s flute-like handle, can remain there, out of sight, while the spoon is used to stir in sugar or milk. The design itself was inspired by the shape of a curled leaf.
Yes, there are certainly more complicated tea steepers that keep your tea in little cages or compartments of kettles. But Tèo is much more suited for the way most of us drink tea, and that’s what lends to its brilliance. Who knew such a simple, clever device could radically improve upon a centuries-old tradition? Santorso, who makes up one half of the Vienna firm LUCY.D, recently won accolades for best product design at the New York International Gift Fair.