Europeans love little better than a nice cup of tea. Which means an awful lot of water is being boiled daily — only a portion of which is actually necessary, given most people aren’t fastidious enough to boil only the quantity of liquid they actually need to fill their cup or teapot.
Part of this wastage boils down to (inevitable) human laziness. But it can also be viewed as a byproduct of design. The volume of the kettle as a container has a suggestive effect, encouraging the user to fill it up before they hit the on switch.
And even though most kettles have a measuring scale to offer guidelines on how much water to boil based on how many cups you need, cup sizes vary and the minimum measure is still often more than is needed if you’re just making the one cuppa.
European designer duo, Nils Chudy and Jasmina Grase, decided a different kind of kettle was required to re-think the process of heating liquids — one that puts energy efficiency at the fore. The elegant result is Miito: a prototype ‘un-kettle’ that comprises an induction heating plate base, where you place whatever vessel of liquid you want to heat. And a metal heating rod that you stand inside the cup or pot to heat the water:
The Miito works with water but can also apparently heat other liquids, such as soup or baby food. Although one wonders how much collateral splattering of your kitchen surfaces might result from doing that in an open top vessel.
(The kettle does apparently automatically turn itself off once the liquid has reached boiling point. Which sounds like a minimum safety requirement, given boiling water can leap around a lot — and open topped containers aren’t going to offer any barrier to scalding splashes. But if the device is shutting off strictly at the point of boiling that’s another way to save energy.)
Mitto is only a prototype at his point, with the Berlin-based startup behind the design in the process of raising crowdfunds on Kickstarter to get their reworked kettle to market next year, with an estimated shipping schedule of April 2016. The device started life as a student project during their time at design school in the Netherlands.
At the time of writing the team has more than doubled its original crowdfunding target of €150,000 — pulling in pledges from close to 3,000 backers — still with almost three weeks left on the clock. So they are flush with more than enough funds (and tea lovers) to deliver a shipping product.
Early backers were offered Miito starting at €75 ($80). It’s since stepped up to €90 ($100). So it’s definitely a premium-priced (un)kettle. Albeit you should (in theory) be able to see some small electricity savings — provided you don’t start heating extra cups of tea just to get involved with such a cool design. That would be ironic.