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This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.
I have a well-documented obsession with spoons. In the test kitchen, I don’t consider my station to be set up until there are at least 50 tasting spoons in the crock on my counter, and when I walk, my spoon-filled pockets jangle like a villain’s spurs in a Spaghetti Western. Tasting food, thinking about it, talking about it, and deciding if it can be better, is the crux of my job—and my life. So when I discovered a tasting spoon that felt better in my hand, a touch softer against my bottom lip, and that stood a little taller on my counter, there was no going back.
That spoon is Umeshiso’s Little Dipper.
Developed for coffee cupping (tasting), with a short handle but a deep round bowl, these spoons have established a dangerous new precedent in my life, the same way sleeping on 600 thread count sheets for a night will ruin you for all other bedding. I can barely look at another spoon now that I eat with it, cook with it, and use it in all my photographs (the Rose Gold looks great with everything). And since I learned that other loyal fans use it to scoop ice cream and portion out cookie dough (they don’t bend easily!), I’ll probably start doing that with it, too.
The excellence of this spoon is no accident. Specialty coffee veteran Umeko Motoyoshi founded Umeshiso with this kind of frequency (if not variety) of use in mind: “I’m in a unique position because spoons are all I care about,” they say. “Most people use spoons to eat for a few minutes and that’s it. They don’t have to use a spoon over and over again for hours to cup 50 coffees.” Which helps explain why everything about it was so highly considered. Even its weight was field-tested to see what people in the industry liked using best (56-59 grams, FYI).
But utility isn’t the only thing these spoons have going for them, either. Motoyoshi launched Umeshiso with the intention of making coffee cupping—an experience typically dominated by white men—more inclusive. “The first Umeshiso spoon was rainbow colored, as a reminder to myself—a queer, mixed race, nonbinary femme—that I can show up with my rainbow spoon and be my rainbow self,” they say. “That I deserve to be there and my perspectives and my palate are valid.”
Overall, it adds up to a spoon that does a better job of being a spoon than any other spoon I own.
Umeshiso Little Dipper Spoon
Umeshiso prices spoons on a sliding scale to provide them more affordably, so customers can pay what they can.