Mono Filio Teapot

Luxurious, simple everyday brewer

I’ve used numerous tea pots, ranging from traditional to modern, built with materials from clay to plastic. The stainless steel and glass Mono Filio is the best one for regular tea drinking. I’ve been using this teapot daily for about a year and a half, drinking mainly green, oolong and white tea. I’m not sure the suspended design has any benefit besides looks, but it will prevent condensation and heat from reaching wood counters or tables. The real design innovation is the very large strainer basket. Aside from having a metal handle that makes removal easy, the basket is almost the full size of the pot itself, allowing a lot of space for the leaves to float freely. When tea leaves can float freely they release flavors more evenly, making for better-tasting tea. The tea bag is a modern convenience. What you typically get inside is crushed dust rather than intact leaves (this is why it often tastes bitter, especially in the case of black tea). When you put a tablespoon of oolong leaves in this pot, after two infusions the leaves expand to fill perhaps a cup in size. Like the smaller plastic InegnuiTEA, the transparency of the glass provides something interesting to watch while the tea brews. While the IngenuiTEA looks to be more of a travel device or something you use at work, the Mono is something you want to use in your house on a daily basis. The 20 oz. size creates the perfect amount of tea for two people and cleans up nicely. $100-plus is incredibly expensive. The matching cups I bought are $70 — ridiculous. With this one, you have to already know you really like tea. But unlike a lot of modern revisions of traditional objects where radical originality in looks creates some level of annoyance in use, Mono Tabletop’s teapot is exactly the opposite. It’s much different from the traditional clay pot, yet, for me, easier to use and a better experience. After some 4,000 years of tea culture, that achievement is worth $110.

-- Wayne Bremser 02/25/08

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