Kyoto-based Kaikado has been producing airtight canisters for tea and other items since 1875. Made through a manufacturing process that involves as many as 140 steps, the tea caddies, or chazutsu, have been handmade virtually the same way since the company was founded. A double-walled construction protects the leaves from humidity while helping them maintain their scent. As the joints of the lid and body are lined up, the lid descends in a smooth, silent motion while expelling air from the container. Depending on the metal you choose, the color will change over time — copper in 1-2 years, brass in 3-5 years, and tin in 30-40 years. I love how the manufacturer describes the unique patination process that happens through handling the canisters. “Gently caressing the entire body of chazutsu day after day brings out a mysteriously elegant sheen and gleam to its years. Chazutsu provides utility and pleasure as it ages gracefully with ownership.” Wow, that’s some sexy stuff. Stay tuned for a novel starring the containers called Fifty Shades of Earl Grey.
Available in the U.S. through Tortoise General Store in Venice, California. $140-$185 U.S.