Infused beverages are a wonderful thing. Strawberry water. Pineapple vodka. Delicious. They also couldn’t be easier to make (all it requires is putting some fresh fruit in a jar with some liquid). But the process can take a long time to really sparkle with flavor–long enough that most of us drink plain old water, sugary vitamin water, or buy our infused booze off the shelf.
Zing Anything products, designed by Studio Murmur, are infusers with an infomercial-esque twist. They’re the shape and size of common water bottles, but they can instantly infuse drinks with all sorts of fresh, natural produce.
“As we started developing the Zing Anything products, a number of events were unfolding in the marketplace,” explains Studio Murmur’s T.J. Thomas. “Enriched water products were very popular but were also exposed to contain more refined sugars than people thought. Health issues, obesity, and the soda tax thing were making headlines around this time and consumers were becoming more aware and demanding healthier drink choices.”
Nothing is much healthier than fruit. So the Aqua Zinger and Vodka Zinger store fruit in a bottom compartment that uses two sets of blades, rotating against one another, to pulverize the pulp. “Since some ingredients will offer a quicker or slower release of the flavor, the grinding process serves to level the playing field and release juices and essences from a wide variety of ingredients,” Thomas explains. Meanwhile, a screen lets water in while containing the fruit goop, allowing you to steep it just as you would leaves of tea. (The main difference between the Aqua and Vodka Zinger is one of branding, though a finer mesh filter is being added to the Vodka version because liquor connoisseurs frown on pulp.)
It’s a simple enough premise, but even still, the design hides a lot of intent. Consider the basic interaction model–to pulverize the fruit, you simply twist the bottle’s top. It’s one of those small feats of culinary magic that would be easy to pull off on a kitchen countertop, but each container in the Zinger line fits in a backpack.
“One particular challenge to designing the Aqua Zinger was incorporating all the functionality and features into what users expect in terms of size and volume for a portable water bottle. We decided early on that we needed a double walled vessel to prevent ‘sweating’, but this meant that our envelope for housing the mechanism and the overall volume were impacted,” Thomas explains. “And of course, designing any beverage oriented for the American market requires a couple of must-haves….It has to be dishwasher safe and fit in your car cupholder.”
If anything, though, the Aqua Zinger shows just how complacent the bottled water market has become. Why have we all settled for a flimsy plastic containers filled with water from the tap–or maybe even worse–flown in from half a world away? We’re wasting so many natural resources by bottling something that’s available at every faucet, can’t we at least get a spritz of fresh blueberries in the mix?