Instant Matcha-brewing machine gives you fresh, organically made matcha tea in minutes!

Calling the Cuzen Matcha an ‘Instant Matcha Maker’ is as accurate as calling an airline pilot a chauffeur. I mean, it’s accurate in the fact that they both help transport you, but there’s still a vast difference in the scope of what they do. The Cuzen Matcha brews matcha tea in mere minutes, but it does so with the ritualistic expertise that’s often associated with brewing Japanese Matcha Tea. Unlike an instant coffee maker that just combines coffee grounds with water and filters it through, the Cuzen Matcha literally, mechanically conducts the matcha brewing ritual from start to finish.

The incredibly sleek looking device comes with a vertical chamber that houses a ceramic mill that finely grinds the leaves, mimicking the effect of a stone grinding mill. The matcha powder is collected in an aluminum container and is then dispensed into a cup of water with a magnetic whisk at its base that rotates to emulate the process of bamboo-whisking the powder into the water, giving you a perfectly brewed cup of fresh matcha tea. The entire process replicates/automates traditional practices, and by manually grinding and whisking the matcha, you’re left with a cup of tea that tastes as authentic and organic as it gets.

The matcha brewing process is simplified to just two button-presses. One button to start/pause the matcha grinding/brewing process, while the other button allows you to determine the strength of your beverage. The Cuzen Matcha comes with its own sachets of matcha leaves that get poured into the hopper inlet on top. The ceramic mill then grinds the leaves to a fine powder under 20 micrometers in size. This powder is then dispensed into Cuzen Matcha’s proprietary whisking cup that comes with a rotating whisk at the bottom. As soon as that happens, the whisk begins spinning (thanks to a magnetic motor controlling it from below) to perfectly incorporate the matcha powder into the water. The freshly brewed matcha can then be poured into your drinking cup, onto ice, or in cream to create a whole variety of matcha-flavored drinks.

Cuzen Matcha makes matcha-brewing incredibly easy, while still remaining true to the traditional process of matcha-making. Unlike your regular Nespresso/Keurig machines that just pump pre-brewed coffee from metallic pods (which generate tonnes of waste), Cuzen Matcha follows the matcha-brewing technique without any compromise. The leaves are ground right before they’re dispensed into each cup, resulting in fresh, organic, authentic Matcha every single time. Besides, the Cuzen Matcha appliance itself channels this incredibly calming Japanese minimalist aesthetic too, making it just the most beautiful and innovative take on this classic beverage with a cult following! Authentic Japanese Matcha is now literally just a button-press away.

Designers: Naoya Edahiro & Ayumi Ostrowski

Click Here to Buy Now: $299. Hurry, only 150 left!

Cuzen Matcha – Enjoy Organic Fresh Matcha from your Home

At the push of a button, the Cuzen Matcha produces a fresh cup of matcha with their shade-grown organic Japanese tea leaves. It’s authentic matcha reimagined for the modern world.

The Matcha Maker

They engineered this machine to maximize freshness and reproduce the qualities of a traditional stone mill and bamboo whisk.

Ceramic Mill – A complex groove pattern and super strong ceramic components set at high pressure produce a fine powder (under 20 micrometers) equivalent to a traditional 130-pound granite mill.

Tea Leaf Hopper – A brushed aluminum chamber that holds up to 20 cups of matcha leaves and prevents the leaves from losing their freshness by limiting their exposure to oxygen.

Wooden Lid – The key to keeping matcha leaves fresh for a longer time is a lid that seals tight and prevents oxidation.

Magnetic Whisk – Rotates at high speed, synchronized with the ceramic mill to produce the same effect as bamboo whisking by hand.

Platform – The other half of the magnetic whisk. Features matching notches that slide into the bottom of the whisking cup.

Strength Levels – Pick how strong you want your matcha. A single, one-and-a-half, or double shot.

Grind-Only Mode – Perfect for those who want to whisk freshly ground matcha the traditional way. Also great for cooking and baking with matcha powder.

Error Indicator – Gives you an LED error message if something’s misaligned in your Matcha Maker’s mill or cup.

Easy Clean Up – A quick rinse to wash out the whisking cup. For a less frequent, deeper cleaning just pop out the magnetic whisk and clean the cup.

Matcha Leaf

They produce two different blends of matcha. Both are from shade-grown organic harvests, with their own flavor profiles and intended uses.

Try These Classic Drinks

Straight Matcha – Enjoy a freshly made cup of matcha. Premium Matcha Leaf is recommended.

Matcha Latte – Pour 6 oz of steamed milk into a double or triple shot of fresh matcha. Signature Matcha Leaf is recommended.

Sparkling Matcha – Mix matcha shot into sparkling water for a refreshing drink. Signature Matcha Leaf is recommended.

Using the Cuzen Matcha Maker

Just pour leaves in the hopper, fill the whisking cup with water, select the strength you want, and push start. Once your cup of matcha’s ready, you can make a matcha latte, sparkling matcha, or add it beer, white wine, or cocktails.

Understanding Matcha

Unlike tea that you steep for a few minutes and throw away, drinking matcha means you ingest the entire leaf. Because you’re eating the whole matcha leaf, we think it’s important to harvest only the healthiest, most nutritious, and flavorful leaves—which is why we partner with organic tea farms in Kagoshima, Japan. Their farming process uses no chemical fertilizers and no chemical pesticides, so you enjoy the real taste of matcha.

Before harvest, our leaves are shade grown for at least three weeks until they’re vibrant green, lightly sweet, and full of umami flavor. Once they’re picked, the leaves are steamed and dried, prepared and sealed so they stay fresh right until your drink is made.

Click Here to Buy Now: $299. Hurry, only 150 left!

Pratt Industrial Design Student Floats a Concept to Aid Self-Rescue in a Flash Flood

Yaokun Wu is an industrial design student at Pratt Institute. He recently designed Flash Pak, a system of dispensing lifejackets in areas prone to flash flooding. If you’ve seen news footage of people caught in a flash flood, you know how terrifying it is; one second they’re walking down the street, the next they’re caught up in a raging torrent that lifts and shoots them down the street.

Wu’s idea is simple: Flash Pak is a lifejacket that’s attached to a lamppost or street sign. At the first sign of flooding, the bottom lid can be flipped open to dispense the lifejacket. But in an oh-shit situation where the street is suddenly overtaken by water, the lifejacket’s buoyancy carries it up the pole along with the water level. The idea is that those floating by could spot it and snag it.

Wu’s Flash Pak is one of six finalists in the upcoming 2020 Lexus Design Awards, having been selected from among 2,042 entries from 79 countries. The final judging will be on September 1st of this year.

If you’d like to submit an entry for the 2021 Lexus Design Awards, click here.

Crave's First Programmable Vibrator is Now Up on Kickstarter

Sex tech company Crave began its entrepreneurial journey in 2011 with a crowdfunding campaign for their first vibrator, the Duet. It was celebrated from the start for its women-first, design-focused approach to sex toys, and the company has become a leader in the market ever since. Today, Crave launches a crowdfunding campaign for an update to their best selling original that offers up a surprising DIY twist.

The Crave Duet Pro

The product now on Kickstarter is their new Duet Pro, Crave’s very first programmable vibrator. The Duet Pro coincides with an app called MyVibes, which allows the user to adjust the device’s speeds and patterns. “[MyVibes] really puts the control in the user’s hands,” Crave co-founder and VP of Design Ti Chang shared. “Not only can you adjust the patterns, but they can also be deleted and reprogrammed as often as you want.”

Owners of a Duet Pro can adjust their vibration patterns within Crave’s MyVibes app

The launch to Duet Pro was years in the making, but the team admits that the pandemic certainly threw their plan for a loop, causing them to rethink their strategy. Chang says that while she has plenty of previous experience in launching a crowdfunding campaign, “previously we were all in the same building, able to discuss face to face, make decisions as a group, and work together to make a video and promo materials. Suddenly with COVID, we had to adapt the process. And let me tell you, making a launch video remotely was no small feat!”

The challenge forced the team to get creative not only about how they could produce promotional materials for the campaign, but also what they would provide to backers supporting it. One experience Chang and her team have translated to fit into our time stuck at home is their Build-a-Vibe workshop, which Chang has hosted at capsule and promotional events since 2011.

VP of Design Ti Chang sits in Crave’s refurbished Airstream trailer, which has toured the United States as a hub for their Build-a-Vibe workshop series.

The original idea for Build-a-Vibe in fact stemmed from Crave’s very first crowdfunding campaign out of necessity, as Chang describes it. “Back then, we were a tiny startup and we met our crowdfunding goal in 48 hrs,” she says. “Truthfully, we sold way more than we anticipated and as a result, we really needed help building the products in our micro-factory to get the orders out to backers. Like any scrappy and resourceful entrepreneur, we invited our local friends to help us build Duets for several days and noticed then how people were having fun and engaging in conversations that would have otherwise been awkward.”

Duet Pro Kickstarter backers can pay to participate in an online Build-a-Vibe session, where Crave technicians will instruct participants on how to build their own programmable vibrator.

For the pandemic-friendly version of their Build-a-Vibe workshop, Crave is offering within their Kickstarter campaign the opportunity to build at home. Backers who decide to build their own vibrator will be sent a handy kit including your Duet parts and all the tools needed to build it, and are guided by one of their technicians through the process via a Zoom call. I got to take part in a 1-on-1 session myself (also available as a higher tier option for backers as opposed to the group Build-a-Vibe session). The experience is great, for one, as a form of entertainment that will satisfy your inner maker, but also as an opportunity to chat more intimately with the team behind the design.

Crave’s Build-a-Vibe tool kit includes everything you need to build your own vibrator

The truth is, our new reality has many of us are spending longer periods of time with our partners than ever before. This trying moment can create problems in relationships. The Crave team hopes that a product like the Duet Pro, and even the opportunity to build your own, can serve as a connection point for couples working on those areas of intimacy—maybe even for those who are uncomfortable having conversations around the topic. “There are couples who come to this Build-a-Vibe experience and it becomes this couple activity that they can do. It’s this DIY aspect for someone who may not be thinking about vibrators and can look at it and say, ‘oh, here’s a different take that I can relate to. It’s also a fun activity we can do together’,” Chang tells us.

“A way that you can help people reconnect with thinking about sex is to create the conversation,” says Rachel Johnston, Rebellious PR’s Vice President who is also assisting in Crave’s product launch. “And so [the Duet Pro] being interactive is a such a cool way for us to do that.”

For anyone who loves to tinker and is looking to liven things up in their relationship, Crave’s Duet Pro Kickstarter campaign is running until September 3rd, 2020.

Collective installs stage in New York ONS Clothing store

ONS Clothing by Collective

Architecture firm Collective has inserted a stage with a green curtain for hosting events in the back of the ONS Clothing store in New York City.

The flagship location of ONS, a menswear apparel brand, is located on 201 Mulberry Street in New York’s Nolita neighbourhood.

It is located inside an existing structure situated 1.5 metres below street level that was previously a garage.

ONS Clothing by Collective

ONS intends to use the stage space for hosting cultural events, such as exhibitions and pop-ups that it says will change regularly.

Steel railings, ceramic tiles and asphalt flooring are among the references Collective has taken from the streetscape to guide the store’s design.

To balance the dark colours and textures of the flooring the studio has inserted pops of colour using light blue tiles on the changing room pods and blue and green counter surfaces.

ONS Clothing by Collective

“The material we used in the store were carefully chosen for the feeling of the street – ceramic tiles, steel ramps, fibre glass objects while their bright array of blue and green colours balance out the crudeness of the black asphalt and steel,” Collective said.

Pale wood floors and wood panelling cover the walls in the front room of the store, which the studio conceived as a “standalone wooden box”. In the space there are two wood counters for displaying accessories, while rectangular cutouts in the walls to hold clothing racks.

ONS Clothing by Collective

An asphalt ramp replaced the existing wheelchair lift to create an accessible pathway from the street into the storefront and to the rear of the space where the studio has constructed a large stage.

“The ramp allows a natural flow of circulation from a higher point entering the very deep area at the back of the store, and at the same time, its hovering presence performs as an object in space,” the studio added.

ONS Clothing by Collective

There are several “props” on the stage including blue- and white-tiered shelving units, curved plinths for displaying products and potted plants, added as a decorative element.

Angular green drapes attached to a steel rack on the white ceiling and wrap around the space to form an adjustable divider. When closed the fabric curtains extend 30 metres forming a backdrop for the retail displays.

ONS Clothing by Collective

“Together with the rearrangement of the bright colour display props, the back room area of the ONS,” it continued.

“Flagship is immediately domesticated and activated into a stage for events, with a light touch of living room like domesticity and comfort.”

ONS Clothing by Collective

Collective is a studio that practices architecture, interiors and exhibition design founded in 2015.

It is led by Betty Ng, Chi Yan Chan, Juan Minguez and Katja Lam and has offices in Hong Kong, Madrid, San Francisco and New York.

ONS Clothing by Collective

Los Angeles clothing brand Lunya also has a retail space in Nolita that takes cues from “upscale New York” apartments, while other stores in the city include a jewellery store in SoHo.

Photography is by Eric Petschek.

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Flower Pitcher

Produced in Austria by the celebrated sixth-generation glassmakers of Lobmeyr, Diptyque’s cut crystal flower pitcher blossoms with a hand-painted green flower motif designed by Tatiana de Nicolay. The pitcher is part of an exquisite new Diptyque collaboration with interior design destination The Invisible Collection. The entire collection (which also includes a jungle flower motif pitcher and glasses that match both) draws inspiration from a journey along the Mediterranean, from Provence to Puglia. Price is in Euros.

Image courtesy of Antony Watson – Atelier Vime

Great Student Work: Erica Stine's Sustainable Fly-Ash Chair

Erica Stine is a furniture design master’s student at SCAD. Emeco is the Pennsylvania-based furniture company behind the iconic Emeco 1006 “Navy Chair.” The two parties recently got to collaborate for a SCAD class project, which resulted in the Fly-Ash Chair of Stine’s design.

In seeking to design a furniture piece for Emeco, Stine looked past the aluminum used in the Navy Chair, and zeroed in on another material they could gain access to: Fly ash, a toxic byproduct from burning coal. Stine’s resultant Fly Ash Chair “utilizes coal waste local to Emeco production facilities in Pennsylvania,” Stine explains.

What is fly ash?

When coal is burned, energy is produced and waste byproducts are created. Some of this waste goes up the smokestack as flue gases. The rest of the waste is particulate matter called fly ash, and its contents are toxic, containing mercury, arsenic, beryllium, selenium and other undesirable elements.

In decades past, fly ash was simply released into the atmosphere. These days environmental regulations require fly ash be captured at the source using pollution control equipment. It is then dumped into landfill or dedicated ash ponds, which merely delays the problem; the toxic compounds within it can eventually leach into underground aquifers, i.e. the water supply.

Stine’s research indicates that U.S. coal plants produced nearly 111 million tons of fly ash in 2017. But she also learned that fly ash can be recycled; it can be used in place of Portland cement to create concrete. Furthermore, using fly ash can increase concrete’s strength and durability; Ancient Roman concrete, which is arguably some of the mankind’s most durable, contains volcanic ash (which is chemically similar to fly ash) as a binding agent.

As an additional benefit, using fly ash “reduces the need to manufacture cement,” Stine writes, “resulting in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – about 14 million tons in 2017 alone.”

Stine won a 2020 Red Dot Design Award for the Fly-Ash Chair.

See more of Stine’s work here.

This Card Game Can Help You Have That Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding

Being stuck at home means many of us are spending extended periods of time with roommates and loved ones, which can inevitably lead to quarrels and things left unsaid. Lots of people can also relate to not having the proper tools in their toolbelt to initiate those conversations so relationships can improve—that is, until now.

Listen, a card game meant to facilitate hard conversations, launches this week on Kickstarter and promises an engaging, interactive way to get down to the nitty gritty of what’s troubling you and those around you. A therapy tool disguised as a game, Listen works by acting as a space to air your thoughts with another participant. Here’s how it works: players lay out the cards and throughout the day are encouraged to fill them out when they have something to say about their partner. For every negative card filled out, players must also fill out a card stating something positive about the other person. These comment cards are later mixed with cards illustrating helpful communication techniques players can use to facilitate a productive conversation about what was written out on the comment cards.

The game, designed by Naïs Hoang, Laura Jaramillo, and Kazuki Guzmán, began from a brief to design a product meant to alleviate repercussions of the pandemic during their time participating in the WantedDesign Schools Workshop in May. The idea stemmed from their own experiences since the pandemic began, as they describe in a recent press release. “Laura was quarantining with her partner in a tiny apartment in Los Angeles, Nais with her flatmates in Paris and Kazuki just had his second child,” the team writes. “The common denominator was that neither of them were confined alone – and that came with some all-too-familiar challenges. This realization helped them decide to focus their energy on finding solutions for interpersonal friction that is being amplified by pandemic confinement.”

If this time has taught people anything, it’s that the little things can either make or break one’s own sense of satisfaction and happiness—the team behind Listen hope their small solution to good communication can help make people’s lives right now a little more stable. “We hope that Listen will make all conversations approachable,” the Listen team says, “from ironing out the smallest pet peeve to tackling that seemingly insurmountable talk.

Listen is now available on Kickstarter until September 3, 2020.

Sketchbook Overkill: Removable Brass Rings for Bindings, So You Can Replace, Re-Order or Remove Pages

It was just yesterday that I wrote about Studio Neat, designers of the off-sized Panobook, getting knocked off; Orangered copied their design with their BetterBook.

Just now I was e-mailed by a rep for Grovemade, a Portland-based home office goods company. They, too have come out with an odd-sized sketchpad/notebook meant to fit above or below a keyboard, and thankfully this one’s not a direct copy of Studio Neat’s work. Here’s Grovemade’s Slim Leather Notebook:

These ring in at $50 a pop. Why so pricey? The notebooks use Grovemade’s system of brass discs for removable bindings (so you can replace, remove or re-order pages), the covers are veg-tanned leather, and the thing is made in the U.S.A.

I myself would never use Orangered’s BetterBook, even if one was given to me for free; I can’t knowingly support design piracy. I could swallow the $19 for Studio Neat’s Panobook because I’ve got a thing for small, plucky design firms. But I could never spend $50 on a sketchbook for myself; I consider them consumable tools rather than keepsakes.

I would, however, spend $50 on the Grovemade book if I was buying it as a gift for someone else. Brass and leather are too fancy for me, but I know others with elevated tastes who’d appreciate it, and maybe that year I’d win the holiday gift-giving arms race that we all engage in.

One thing’s for sure: Studio Neat presciently realized that people want, and are willing to pay for, sketchpads that fit on desks with computer set-ups.

Impact Lebanon’s Crowdfunding Effort for Beirut Relief

Non-profit Impact Lebanon has suspended its regular fundraising to focus on a crowdfunding initiative to raise £5,000,000 in disaster relief for Beirut in the wake of yesterday’s catastrophic explosion. Dealing with an economic crisis, rolling blackouts and the global pandemic, Lebanese people were already facing immense hardship. With reports of deaths and injuries from the explosion increasing, some 300,000 residents in the city have also lost their homes. Impact Lebanon will be working alongside and sharing donations with various NGOs that are on the ground in Beirut, and they promise to be fully transparent regarding all money spent. See more at their Just Giving project page. There is also information for those in Beirut and elsewhere at lebanoncrisis.carrd.

Image courtesy of Impact Lebanon

Arquipélago Arquitetos builds low-slung Brazilian house with rammed earth

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

São Paulo studio Arquipélago Arquitetos has built a house with walls made of rammed earth in the countryside of Brazil.

House in Cunha, or Casa em Cunha in Portuguese, is named after is location in the mountainous municipality of Cunha, which is a 2.5-hour drive from São Paulo and known for its ceramics.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

Arquipélago Arquitetos designed the flat-roofed residence to stand out on its site at the top of a gently sloping property next to a large tree that offers shade. The reddish earthen tone contrasts with verdant surroundings, but depending on the season and position of the sun, the home appears to be integrated with the landscape.

“It was sought that the original fact of this construction in an isolated, wild place was a maximum signal of the arrival human presence in the landscape: straight lines marking the soft topography,” said the studio.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

Set on a concrete foundation, the rammed earth construction is composed of earth, sand and clay to create a wet mixture that is placed in between flat panels to harden. The studio said this technique allowed for easy, efficient and affordable construction on the site.

“An authentic formwork system was proposed that avoided perforations with metal bars and developed a more efficient building site so that its modulated components could be disassembled and reassembled with ease,” it explained.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

More rammed-earth walls were built further from the house to protect it and buffer from strong winds that pass through the site – mirroring a concept T Ryan Architecture also used for a rural house in Virginia.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

In addition to structural support and protection, the wall material also provides thermal insulation.

“All the characteristics of hardness, thermal inertia, colour, brightness, tactile quality are factors due to the physical and chemical characteristics of that specific soil,” the studio added.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

Earthy hues continue inside House in Cunha. Walls are composed of straw-coloured bricks from a local pottery studio that removes clay that is rich in aluminium from the region’s floodplains.

Ceilings are covered in wood to match the hallway and doors, while dark grey tiles cover the floors. Moving wooden panels with vertical slats also cover some of the windows, to filter sunlight and create privacy.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

The house contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms on one side and an open-plan kitchen and living room with green sofas opposite. A fireplace and a wood stove in the living room are made of mud.

Glass walls run along the rear of the home and provide all of the rooms with natural light and access to a patio, which is elevated and formed by two walls. Steps lead to a large circular space in the ground for a bonfire.

House in Cunha by Arquipelago

In addition to this house, other homes in Brazil’s countryside are Rio House by Olson Kundig, Minimod Curucaca and Catuçaba house by Studio MK27.

Photography is by Federico Cairoli.

Project credits:

Rammed earth consulting: Fernando Minto, Pablo de las Cuevas, Domitila Almenteiro, Materia Base
Wood structure consulting: Alan Dias, Carpinteria Estruturas
Construction: Carlinhos

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