Let's start with coffee. We use this coffee pot several times every day, and it consistently works brilliantly. Which is to say, it keeps the coffee warm, is good to lift and pour and doesn't break. Which are the fundamentals, to my mind.
As most people with them do, we regularly broke the glass jugs of others we've had, then couldn't easily find the right replacement. We would be reduced to pouring hot water through the grounds and a kitchen towel pushed into a funnel to make coffee until we got the elusive proper jug. Strange that the glass ones are so prevalent - glass being a poor thermal insulator and very prone to breakage. Duh.
OK, so it does the job, but there's more to it than that. Like most things that do what they should quietly without fanfare, the whole thing just feels right in use. You might think it wouldn't matter much if the proportions were different, or the handle was a bit thicker or thinner, but it does. Mightily.
These are readily available and cost about £21 (1 litre capacity). Especially economical when a replacement glass jug for the same size is around £8-10.
There are, no doubt many places to get them from, but if you are inspired to get one, you can look at it on Amazon by clicking here . Don't do that yet though, because you might be tempted to read some reviews, as I always am. I can save you some frustration by imparting that most of the negative comments on there are about the capacity - "This certainly doesn't fill 8 of my cups!" for example. Last time I checked, 'cup' was not an SI unit of measurement, and it must be obvious to most people that they come in many different sizes. Duh again.
Professional sports competitors are totally committed to excellence. Their success is measured by how often they win, and by how much. They will do anything to get a tiny advantage. Its worth it because their life is all about winning. They do it because next time they will be better. Being OK is not good enough; they must strive to be better, even by a tiny margin. Nobody, sports fan or not, would ever think that that's not worth doing.
What about design then. The kind that's about making stuff work well for people to use. How many things do you own that work really well; that are a delight to use? The classic examples are traditional tools like scythes. Perfectly balanced, shaped just right. For a 12-hour day working in the fields. I love stuff that works really well and my list comprises my bike, some hand tools, a bottle opener and a couple of pencils. These will be the subject of occasional posts under 'things we like'.
Now whether these items have been finely honed to make them work slightly better is something I probably won't be going into. But however they got to be how they are, the principle is that someone will have decided they're just right like that, after several improvements along the way. Except for the ones that aren't, which I will also be writing about from time to time. I suspect a pattern might emerge...