If you spend much time percolating around specialty cafes, you’ve probably noticed the drinkware of choice slowly starting to synchronize around sleek, organic looking ceramic cups that are simultaneously hefty and surprisingly comfortable in hand. That’s because these mugs, part of a set called Lino, were designed over several years in conjunction with the coffee talent over at Intelligentsia (you can read a great article about the story behind the cups over at FoodRepublic).
The company behind the Lino mugs is notNeutral, the housewares branch of Rios Clementi Hale, a design & architecture firm:
Founded by the award-winning multidisciplinary design firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios, notNeutral creates bold, idea-based, accessible objects for the everyday modern lifestyle. Blurring the boundaries between the figural and abstract, and the decorative and functional, the pieces we design are durable, playful, and imbued with a clever take on the ordinary that is unquestionably not neutral.
Having conquered the sipping part of the equation, notNeutral is setting out to reshape the way you brew coffee with its new Gino dripper, seen below (I didn’t get the notNeutral carafe, so instead I have it resting on a Hario glass tea pot).
The first thing most coffee geeks will ask when they see this is how it compares to the similar Kalita wave. That’s because both brewers use cupcake style flat-bottom paper filters, in contrast to the wedge and cone geometry you see with the Melittas, Chemexes, and Harios of the world.
While the principle is the same, there are a few differences that give the Gino an edge. The first thing you’ll notice is that it has a double-walled glass design. This presumably insulates better and provides more stable temperature while brewing.
Another thing I noticed is that (on my sample, at least) the flow rate is slightly slower than my glass Kalita Wave. That’s helpful when you want to make a single cup but don’t want to have to go too fine with your grind to get the desired brew time. That said, I still would recommend brewing enough for at least two cups to get the best results (higher dose=wider tolerance for error in my experience).
Finally it just looks great! It’s aesthetically pleasing, especially with the matching mug set, and it feels great too. The glass rests on a soft silicone insert that also allows you to wash or preheat the inside easily. It all feels high quality. The Lino mugs and Gino dripper set ($54) would make a perfect gift, especially with the optional carafe (not pictured, but you can pick it up here)!