By Dan Moren
September 18, 2017 6:03 AM PT
Teamosa is a smart tea-maker with a Keurig-like plan
Regular readers of the site will know that Jason and I are both fervent tea drinkers, so unsurprisingly I’d already seen the Kickstarter for Teamosa by the time reader Ben asked about it.
Here are my quick thoughts: First, I love the idea of a smart tea-brewing apparatus. I’ve been delighted with my Breville Tea Maker (which we colloquially refer to as the “tea robot”1), which handles the whole boiling water/tea brewing process in a single step, keeps the tea warm for up to an hour, and lets you schedule a brewing time in advance. The only other feature I’d like to have, frankly, is the ability to start the process remotely—say, from my phone—rather than at a specific time, but, that’s just icing.
To a certain extent, a rising tide
lifts all boats infuses all tea, and having more advanced tea-brewing technology on the market helps push the state of the art forward and inspire competition, which is great.
As for the Teamosa in particular, there are a few things that caught my eye. First is this idea of “ultrasonic extraction,” which the team behind this device says increases antioxidant yield by 20 percent. Antioxidants are, of course, compounds found in tea and other foods and drink that are believed to promote good health, though most studies on that subject have been inconclusive. As to whether ultrasonic extraction is a better way to extract those questionably-beneficial elements, well, I did find a reference in a book called Ultrasound in Food Processing which says it is potentially more efficient, though it primarily references the creation of instant tea, which is, unsurprisingly, about as palatable as instant coffee.2
Long story short: this might increase the amount of possibly beneficial compounds in tea, so certainly don’t go into this expecting magical health benefits.
As far as the tech end of this goes, Teamosa mainly looks like a combination of the Breville tea-maker and a Keurig. You can choose your temperature, brewing time, etc. Teamosa rightfully points out that over-steeping or using water that’s too hot can adversely affect the taste and smell of tea…but any tea drinker worth their oolong probably knows that already. (Hence our careful timers and our little plates for putting our tea infusers on after we remove them.) You can control all of this from a smartphone app, as well; the tea-maker itself has a Wi-Fi chip.
But it’s the Keurig part that makes me raise my eyebrows. Teamosa does support your own tea leaves, but it’s also selling “paper tea capsules” that you pop in and use. Which has its convenience, to be certain—the machine can scan the capsule and automatically detect the correct brewing temperature and time—but it’s also probably more expensive and wasteful than using tea leaves. But, hey, I’m sure it provides the company a source of recurring revenue.
This being a Kickstarter campaign, it comes with the usual degree of risk. The Teamosa is expected to retail for $399, which is $150 more than the already pretty pricey Breville—and it looks smaller, so I doubt it scales to make as much tea as the Breville, either. The early bird backing is offering a machine, some capsules, and a pair of cups for just $239, but it’s not expected to ship for a year, and, of course, you’re buying something sight unseen.
As of this writing, the project has already hit its goal, so my advice would be to wait for it to come to market and see how it actually works. The way you’re making tea right now is the way it’s been done for thousands of years—it’ll hold up for at least one more.
No doubt to the constant frustration of John Siracusa. ↩
I also turned up an old patent related to ultrasonic extraction of tea leaves, so somebody thought it was effective back in the ’90s. ↩
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