Utsuwa, a Japanese word literally meaning vessel or container, can refer to any number of things: a bowl, a plate, a pot. For bowls and cups, the word utsuwa often invokes the image of something you hold in two hands, cradling it gently as you take a sip.

It was with this in mind that Hiromu Nagato, an Iwate-based ceramic artist, created the coffee utsuwa. Nagato, who often drinks matcha tea in traditional ceramic bowls, wanted to create a similar experience for coffee drinkers. Holding a bowl of matcha in both hands, the heat from the tea radiate through the clay, and when you bring the bowl up to your lips, the fragrance envelopes you, creating an immersive experience that heightens the flavor of the tea. Coffee cups are usually held in one hand, but by designing a bowl that needs to be held with two hands, it offers a complete sensory experience and lets the drinker truly focus on the flavor and the fragrance of the beans.

Nagato’s coffee utsuwa is made in collaboration with lifestyle and home furnishings store iloilo, and is the first in a collaborative series called &iloilo, uniting artists and the brand’s sense of simplicity.

The brand’s name, iloilo, comes from using the Finnish word “ilo”, which means joy and happiness, and doubling it up to also create the Japanese word, “iloilo” (usually romanized as iroiro) to mean “various, a variety of something”.

Together with Nagato and other upcoming artists, &iloilo aims to create new lifestyle experiences for people to enjoy at home, including these handmade pieces of art for your Sunday morning coffee.

Coffee utsuwa are available exclusively via the iloilo website with prices starting at ¥8,000 per cup.

Note that each coffee utsuwa is made to order, and will take approximately 2 months from the time of booking until delivery.