Conran turns to café society

Travel not only broadens the mind, it boosts the workload. Or so it was for Sebastian Conran when he visited the Far East with his client Michael Levene, managing director of kitchen and tableware producer William Levene.

In a chat about insulated cafétieres, Levene happened to say that the problem with those on the market was you couldn’t see the level of the coffee inside. Conran’s response was that you could produce a transparent one based on the idea of a wine-cooler – and, of course, he and Nick Oakley had already designed one of those for William Levene.

To check the viability of the idea, Conran’s team built a test-rig out of acetate sheet. This showed that a twin-wall cafétiere could keep coffee hot to the optimum time of 90 minutes, after which time it starts to go bitter, says Conran. Conventional cafétieres keep it hot for only 35 to 40 minutes, he adds.

The result is the Hot Cafétiere, a pot made of clear ABS/SAN plastic, stainless steel and glass that works like a normal cafétiere. The difference is that it’s cool to the touch, but keeps coffee hot. Due to go in stores at the beginning of July, it will sell at 22.99.

According to Conran, the styling is harder edged than his consultancy’s usual work. ‘We’re the kings of soft-tech round here,’ he says. And the manufacture? It was done in the Far East, of course, through local agent Pacific Partner.

Designer: Sebastian Conran PID

Client: William Levene

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