Glow-in-the-Dark Tea

South Korean designer comes up with a light-up beverage, but should you ditch the headlamp?

We are hyper-familiar with getting up in the middle of the night for a late-night bathroom break—to pee is human, after all. After you’ve loosely laced your boots, you stumble out of the tent, fumble for a headlamp, and look for that special tree.

But what if you didn’t need a headlamp for your late-night calling? A South Korean product designer may have found a solution. Save the batteries: Simply plop a tea bag into a clear glass, and presto, you’ve got light.

Wonsik Chae, a designer from Suwon, Korea (an area known for technological advances from the nearby large Samsung Electronics plant), has invented what he calls the Lighting Bag.

It’s a tea bag filled with fluorescent molecules that reacts to a chemical intermediate liquid agent already in a clear glass. According to Chae’s website, once the tea bag hits the water light is given off—the tea “work[s] as a catalyst of the chemical reaction.”

Use it, and your tea will glow brightly with an almost toxic yellow-y tint.

Chae created the innovative lighting concept for the 2008 Industrial Design Degree Show at his school, Hongik University. The assignment for the light bag seemed to crib from an old Apple slogan: “create a different way.”

The bags come printed with the words ‘draw a light’ on them, and while the prototype isn’t for mass consumption yet, one can only hope that soon enough, Chae will roll out a whole line of flavored-light teas. How about Green Tea Gaze or Chai-spiced Illumination? Celestial Seasonings, eat your heart out.

It might be great to have a glass of tea ready when you get done with your potty break, but it could turn into a vicious cycle—you’ll be peeing all night if you keep refilling yourself with tea each time you go.

To see photos and a video of these tea lights at work, check out coverage over at Toxel.

–Matt Draper