Who knew adding White Charcoal to your water could have so many benefits. We talk to Founder of Sort of Coal Pernille Lembcke who tells us all about how white charcoal purifies your water, all its benefits and how to use it.

You can get Sort of Coal’s Kishu Binchotan Fine 12cm Charcoal Sticks at our #MoveYourFrameShop.

What’s the Sort of Coal story?
My first experience with White Charcoal was, as yours might be, in a glass of water handed to me by a friend in Japan. I had no idea what it was but had no doubt that the water I tasted was pure and healthy. I am still amazed that my senses seemed to instinctively understand the material before I gained intellectual knowledge of its purifying and enriching abilities. I was later introduced in Japan to the Danish ceramic artist Louise Vilsgaard whose creative eye was also attracted to this intriguing material that she discovered in the streets of Kyoto. We intently felt it as a mission to honor and share its beauty and beneficial power with other people. After meeting a professional charcoal maker who introduced us to the craftsmen and experienced the holistic production, we were convinced. 4 years of research and testings followed and in 2007, we finally founded Sort of Coal.

Charcoal has been used for centuries, why has it just become a big thing in health and wellbeing?
Well, if you ask your grandmother she might remember that active charcoal was a home remedy used to cure stomach infections, purify homemade alcohol etc.

Charcoal has always been used in any culture as a purifying and healing substance, but since the introduction of penicillin, we kind of forgot about it.
In modern times only industrial activated charcoal has lived its caged and hardworking “life” behind plastic bars in industrial charcoal filters for vacuum cleaners, emfangs, air purifiers in planes etc.
The only places where the tradition of using charcoal in the daily life as a purifying remedy was in the areas around the production of the so-called white charcoal in Japan and Korea.

Talk us through the ingredients that are in the charcoal sticks?
White Charcoal is made using the same techniques and processes that have been used for centuries. In this ancient Japanese method pieces of wood are baked in hand-built clay kilns, slowly at first and then at extremely high temperatures with restricted oxygen. This allows carbon to be captured in the wood by a process called pyrolysis. Perfecting the difficult ritual of burning requires patience and dedication, so it is fitting that the people who make White Charcoal are artisans, and often from a long line of charcoal makers. Their knowledge and expertise have been handed down from generation to generation; the craftsmen know exactly which wood to cut and from where, how to build and control the fire and when to stop the baking process. They use their senses to navigate, observing the smell of the steam and the color of the fire. Although many Asian countries produce Binchotan, Kishu Binchotan is superior due to the potent combination of the best quality Japanese Oak and the generations-old craftsmanship used to turn it into White Charcoal.

This technique transforms it into 95% pure carbon with a hard but very porous surface. 20g of charcoal has a surface of a tennis court. This huge surface created the power of attracting impurities and toxins and eliminating them by changing the chemical connections.

As its made from wood, the natural minerals absorbed from the soil by the growing trees are trapped inside the White Charcoal when it is made and later released into drinking water, the air or skin.

By adding a stick of White Charcoal in a bottle of ordinary tap water, you create a natural filtering process similar to that of spring water travelling through layers of rock and soil from its underground source to the surface of the earth. The water is naturally softened, ionized and freed of chlorine, while being enriched with minerals, such as potassium and magnesium.

How does it work? And how should we use it?
By adding a piece of powerful White Charcoal in the bottle, you create a natural purifying and enriching process similar to that of spring water travelling through layers of rock and soil from its underground source to the surface of the earth. Moving through trillions of micro cavities inside the White Charcoal, your tap water is naturally softened, ionized and freed of up to 75% of added chlorine, while being enriched with vital minerals such as potassium and magnesium.

How to use:
1. Start by boiling the Binchotan (from cold water) in a few minutes in order to activate
Drain the water and let the Binchotan cool down.
2. Place one piece in your bottle and add tap water. Leave to optimize the water for at least 2 hours (best overnight) and drink.
3. Refill the bottle. Boil once a week to refresh (1. step)
4. After 1-3 months of daily use ((one month for the Binchotan small), your KISHU BINCHOTAN will not be active any longer. Once you’ve finished using it, nature will gladly take it back. For an excellent fertilizer, just crush it and mix with potting soil where it will add nourishment and regulate the PH balance – so your plants can thrive and flourish and do an even better job of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere around this planet that we love so much.

What was your vision for Sort of Coal before you started?
My vision was, by offering a natural product in the marketplace, to inspire people and create awareness about carbon and our broken carbon cycle. Also to bring attention to drinking local water. Water is a precious resource but it’s not sustainable to bottle it and ship it around the world. This way you can drink the local water and still have a stylish and well-tasting alternative to bottle water.

At Frame we stock the Kishu Binchotan white charcoal stick, what does this mean?
Binchotan is the original name of this particular high-quality charcoal. Named after the Japanese craftsman who in the EDO times innovated it and got famous for it as used for the ceremonies. Kishu is the name of the mountain area in Japan where it is still crafted.

What’s next for Sort of Coal?
In the future, we would love to create a shop and or a spa-related to this tradition. That would be so cool.
Until that, we are focusing on developing and offering our classical products through independent partners and shops that we find interesting.

Our body products including charcoal powder and char essence (the bi-product of baking the charcoal) are quite special, but we hope to educate people to stop using perfumed products. The scent is only from this essence which is smoky woody. Without any essential oils that are known to provoke allergies.

You can get Sort of Coal’s Kishu Binchotan Fine 12cm Charcoal Sticks at our #MoveYourFrameShop.