“Cute” isn’t a word we throw around very often.
Instead, when describing a design that's newly landed in our Shop, we try to lean on adjectives that herald utility, practicality, and effortless beauty—adjectives that better your understanding of what you're looking at (see: delightfully oversized, heirloom quality, easy-to-clean). Cute can feel flimsy, even trite. Cute doesn’t get shit done. But when our Shop team gathered to examine the latest home-goods-hopefuls at a recent weekly product review, we couldn’t help ourselves.
“How CUTE is this?”
“OMG. Too cute.”
You might have thought a long-eared, cuddly puppy had appeared in our office. But, as it happens, we were ooh-ing and aah-ing over a pair of ceramic French presses sent to us by YIELD Design Co., a studio designing and manufacturing ceramic and metal goods in St. Augustine, Florida.
The trappings of coffee-making, a process that receives great attention and reverence in our office, often tend be rather straightforward despite their excellence. Yes, there’s something graceful about pour-over devices and all their dramatic curves, but they blend right in on a coffee bar. And standard glass French presses are classic and clean, but their sheer industriousness trumps any attention to looks. YIELD's Ceramic French Press, however, practically sashays onto the table, all perky and coy and unexpected.
It's ceramic! It knows it looks good. This is the Marilyn Monroe of coffee makers.
The press comes in two sizes (28 or 50 ounces) and two colors: a cloudy grey or a half-and-half-inspired cream. The matte, unglazed exterior keeps it feeling just down-to-earth enough, and the inside features a contrasting high-gloss finish, which happens to be very helpful when it comes time to clean the thing. For the press’s best feature of all, a glinting copper plunger and pull, perches jauntily out of the top. It’s just the right winking, finishing touch—much like the sparkle added to an otherwise understated cookie by sanding sugar.
But adorable looks aside, this French press does have skills.
Yield manufactures their French Presses in partnership with a Fair Trade ceramics house in an ancient village in Vietnam. The facility has 700 years of ceramics production under their belts, with tricks of the trade passed down from generation to generation (the facility is currently run by an eight generation grandson of a famed ceramicist from the 18th century!). The workers are given fair pay and safe and ethical working conditions, and child labor is never used.
We tested it ourselves (not that lot of convincing was needed in this office of caffeine-a-holics). The press comes with a detailed instructional pamphlet, helping you brew your best cup, and explaining ratios of coffee grounds to water depending on how much coffee you want to make. The resulting brew was full-bodied and round, not at all bitter. Even better? We left the French press to hang out for about 30 minutes, and the coffee was still piping hot when we came back for a cup.
More: How to make your best cup of coffee using a French press.
In the end, YIELD’s ceramic French press delivers on the promise that stands behind all of our Shop goods: It’s useful, it upholds a tradition and improves upon it, and it celebrates a craft and the makers behind it.
But if we’re asked to describe it to someone, we’re still gonna lead with, “Oh, it’s so cute.” And we’re starting to think that’s not such a bad thing, after all.
How much coffee can you drink? Let us know in the comments!