Photos: Heather Beschizza
But is tea brewed in it any good? I used it casually for a few days, including a blind test against a Brown Betty-style pot, and found it perfect as a compact tea-making gadget -- a role that has its charms -- but too small and fiddly to replace a traditional pot for hardcore tea addicts.
• It's gorgeous. Anyone who keeps it in a cupboard must be sent to industrial design appreciation camp. Pretty on kitchen counter and office desk alike, it's also tidy. The "rectangular" base and short spout make it easy to store on a crowded shelf.
• The metal used is distinctive and heavy-duty steel, not the junk they make cheap kettles out of.
• It makes enough tea for two good-size cups: along with its small size, this makes it an effective way to get the business of brewing tea out of the kitchen and on to your desk.
• Watching tea infuse and seeing the leaves unfold is mesmerizing.
• None of the components will affect the brew's flavor.
• Small capacity means you won't be making tea for more than one or two people.
• It cools quickly. The open spout, and perhaps the thin pyrex, are to blame. This is not so much a problem for fans of herbal teas, but black tea lovers will want to craft a "Soracosy."
• You can't stir the contents. The lack of a vent means that it can glug when poured, though it wasn't too difficult getting used to it.
• Ground teas may escape through the large holes on the spout's grille.
• The process of opening Sorapot is very clever, but likely to end in tears if you're not careful. You cannot just whip it open; follow the instructions or risk breaking the flask or having a heavy chunk of steel crack the countertop.
When it comes to getting a perfect brew, especially if you need lots of it, Sorapot's little flaws mean that it's not quite the equal of traditional pots. That said, it's much better than garbage like the Sunbeam tea maker.
It's especially good for those who tend to make tea by the cup, squeezing flavor out of lukewarm, milky teabags after a 30-second steep. Getting a Sorapot will civilize you, you filthy barbarians. Likewise, if you hate to lug around a bulbous, unweildy, desk-scorching traditional pot, Sora's portability will do you good.
For the rest, it's just a $200 work of art, and you'll either like it or you won't.
Sorapot [Joey Roth]