Kicker Tea Project: Competitive Analysis, Design Principles, and Initial Concepting

See the introduction to this project if you haven’t already. We’ll wait here.

As our tea project progresses, we’re looking at many of the products in the space and what people are saying about them, focusing on forms, materials, and any issues tea drinkers have encountered. Comments like this one are great finds: “The bigger the infuser, the better: the more room the tea leaves have to expand, the better the flavor. Fine mesh is also recommended so that those pesky little tea leaves – I’m looking at you Rooibos – will not sneak into your cup.”

We’re collecting images of other products for inspiration. One wall of the studio looks like this:

We’ve come up with a set of design principles to guide our work. They are:

  • Respect the Ritual. No new steps, nothing that feels like a dramatic change.
  • My Tea, My Way. Allow tea drinkers the flexibility and control to make the tea how they like it. Allow for adjustments on the fly.
  • Not Just Taste. Design for sight, smell, and warmth too.
  • Digital Enhancements, Analog Experience. The process should feel like something low-tech.

We’ve also generated some design requirements that reflect these principles as well, such as

  • Tea must be visible while brewing
  • Easy to clean and machine washable
  • Easy to stop infusion
  • Easy to restart infusion (no automatic separation of water from leaves)
  • No drip when pouring or after infusion
  • No need for a trivet
  • Smart indicators
  • Timed stoppage of infusion
  • No plastic touching the tea (changes the flavor for the worse)

Some nice to haves:

  • Being able to see the leaves expand
  • Warming base
  • Suggested leaf amount indicators
  • No “stomping on leaves” (French-press style)

With these in mind, we started doing some sketching:

As we looked over the sketches, the requirements, and the design principles, we started to combine some ideas and started to focus more in one direction that we plan to ideate and sketch further around.

Continue reading as we dive into Selecting a Direction and Functional Cartography >>