Around the end of October 2017, Teforia announced it would close its doors. The company offered a $1,000 tea maker that was an internet-connected tea brewer. Once you chained yourself to the machine, you were hooked. The machine could only be used with an exclusive set of pods with RFID chips that initiated pre-programmed settings for each tea. Teforia offered 2 versions of the machine – the $999 Teforia Classic and the $399 Teforia Leaf.
Reactions to Teforia
Opinions of the machines abounded.
A Gizmodo reviewer noted the machine was a pain to clean, and brewed weak tea.
World of Tea lauded the Teforia Leaf’s praises for drawing the best from the leaves.
So what were the problems that led to Teforia’s demise?
Tea Drinking Public
There aren’t enough tea drinkers eager to fork over that kind of dough.There are still way more coffee drinkers, and there are still a good chunk of tea drinkers who throw back tea just for the medicinal value. For others, tea is a cold bottle they get at the convenience store. The vast majority of tea drunk in the US is iced tea. The portion of specialty tea drinkers is truly quite small, and Teforia and other gadgets do not provide the impetus for a seismic shift.
Wifi. Bluetooth. Apps. RFID chips. Does the path to better tea really require that much tech? I do understand the importance of quick, convenient, and great tasting tea. But there are very good ways to make tea that aren’t that complicated.
It cost too much
$400 or $1,000, and I still have to hand wash it? No thanks. I’d rather use that to buy yixing teapots that will increase in value while potentially improving the taste of the teas steeped in them.
Some people run in fear of loose leaf tea because they think that brewing loose leaf tea is complicated or messy. They’ve seen all the fancy setups and get turned off or intimidated. Steeping loose leaf tea is really not much different from using a teabag.
Things You Need
1. Tea – Choose a good tea. Life’s too short to drink bad tea.
See also: Top 10 Teas To Expand Your Tea Palate
2. Hot water– at the right temperature. Good teas are more tolerant of hot water and produce less bitterness, but optimal temperatures can extend the life of your tea leaves and deliver richer character. A good kettle will help control temperature and allow for smooth pouring.
See also: Walker Tea Review Series: Water
3. A steeping vessel. This could be a gaiwan, teapot, tea infuser, or other. Avoid those infuser balls and similar gimmicky crap. If you want something that goes straight in a cup, get a brew basket instead.
What To Do
1. Get your cup and pot ready. If you want good tasting tea that isn’t weak and watery, you’re looking to add a good heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup of tea served at each steeping. Notice this is per steeping – don’t think that you need 5 teaspoons if you’re going to steep the tea 5 times. Most good teas can be re-steeped. In many cases, they can be re-steeped multiple times.
2. Heat your water. There’s all kinds of talk about how heating water in the microwave is bad. It may not be the best but it isn’t terrible either. Kettles are nice, and a Zojirushi is delightful. Aim to heat your water to slightly below a full boil- look for small bubbles, not a rolling boil. Most teas don’t need water that hot.
3. Add water to your cup/pot. Tea leaves will float. Try to pour so that all the leaves at least dip beneath the surface for a second.
4. Wait 30 seconds and then decant. “Decant” is just a fancy way of saying get the water off the tea leaves. You may be thinking that 30 seconds isn’t enough. You may be right. Use 30 seconds as a rule of thumb- as you learn to use the tea leaves you’ll find a your ideal amount of time. In most cases you certainly don’t need more than 2 minutes for a first steep. That’s just over-steeping tea leaves that can be better used on the re-steep. As you re-steep, steep a little longer each time – add 10 to 30 seconds to the previous steep time.
See also: 10 Commandments Of Tea
For the longest time, having tea at the office or away from home has involved compromise. In most cases, the compromise came in the form of a teabag. Even when teabags have high quality tea, it rarely compares to a well-steeped cup of quality loose leaf.
This compromise on quality often comes at greater convenience. Or at least that is the prevailing logic.
But the Finum Brewing Basket offers a middle path that comes closer to achieving Tea-At-Work-Nirvana.
It would seem that right after building a better mousetrap, mankind has striven to build a better kettle that would bring the world a-knocking at the door. Despite all the bells and whistles, everything from the Breville 800XL Tea Maker to the Keurig is still, at its essence, a kettle that heats and distributes water.
So how does the Bonavita BV3825B stack up?
Introducing one of the heavy hitters in the tea-making arena.
The Breville BTM800XL tea maker packs a combination of powerful features:
- custom temperature and steep times for different kinds of tea
- an automated brew basket that lowers and rises on program
- “set it and leave it” for scheduled tea brewing
- BPA free lid
- a brew basket big enough to allow for leaf expansion, even for oolongs in 1.5L of water
- a keep-warm feature- for those times when you can’t get to hot water just when you’d hoped
- Durable: I’ve personally used this teapot almost daily for over 7 years. It’s never let me down.
- the lid absorbs aromas easily. Avoid strong-smelling teas, or leaving a tea in the pot overnight.
Overall, it isn’t the cheapest teapot out there- but you’d expect that from a dependable tea kettle made of the highest quality materials available. Its automation also allows for hands-free operation when making a larger volume of tea. This tea kettle is definitely worth considering if you are a regular tea drinker seeking greater convenience in preparing larger volumes of tea.
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The Banko-yaki kyusu, Shofu kiln is a thing of beauty to behold and use.
Teas of Japan (thes-du-japon.com) offers this teapot made by Yamamoto Hiromi of the Shofu workshop. The Shofu studio was originally the collaboration of three brothers. The teapot was created by the youngest brother, who now focuses on works shown in art galleries. Don’t expect new teapots to come from the Shofu kiln.