To people in the U.S., the prospect of a milky Coca-Cola may sound odd. But since 1919, Calpis–a sweet and acidic fermented yogurt drink–has been a mainstay in Japan. Bottled as a concentrate, it took off in prewar Japan, as it required no refrigeration to stay fresh and it was fortified with calcium.
Generations later, Calpis continues to be a beloved drink across the country, with 99.7% of citizens having tried it, according to the company. But while there’s a huge market for wine, beer, and sake drinkware, there’s no perfect cup for consuming Calpis. Or at least there wasn’t, until the Japanese design firm Nendo designed one.
The new glass makes preparing a drink from Calpis concentrate a foolproof–and even downright elegant–process. You’ll note that the bottom of the glass is designed with ridges like a flower, and the top bulbs out smoothly like a wine glass. Those bottom ridges allow the glass to be placed onto the table almost on its side. From this position, the glass forms a perfect 30 ml pocket for your Calpis concentrate. Once filled, you set the glass normally onto the table, then top it off with water. This allows you to create the perfect 4:1 water to Calpis ratio without measuring anything.
At this point, the ridges serve their second purpose. Instead of stirring the water and concentrate together, you simply swirl the glass with your hand, and those indentations create friction with the liquid and improve the mixing process.
Nendo has crafted a Calpis glass with an almost absurd level of consideration for user experience. But if you’re like me, you’ve begun to see Nendo’s designs not as objects created to solve specific problems well, but as pieces of self-aware design criticism that question the very nature of consumption in the first place.