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The teasmade strikes back

Remember the teasmade? If you are a New Zealander of a certain age, with a British heritage, you almost certainly will. A combination of alarm clock and jug, the teasmade sat by your bed and woke you up with a nice machine-made cuppa. For a time in the 1970s and 1980s it was the height of British suburban sophistication – the gadget for two million wannabes. Then somehow, subtly, it became the height of British naffness – along with the conservatory – and by the end of the 1990s, no one would be seen dead with a teasmade.

Now Allen Han, a US-based product designer whose previous work includes the Xbox 360 and Kindle Fire, has come up with the 2015 version of a teasmade – the Teforia tea-making machine. OK, so it isn’t designed to sit by your bed (but it could, surely?), and it’s controlled by a personalisable app, not an alarm clock, but the “machine-learning brewing device” makes you a nice cuppa, just how you like it, or so Han says.

The tea robot gets to work after you put your selected tea into the infusion chamber, and brews it according to your app-devised specifications, letting you pour it out after about four minutes. Voila, tea’s made.

Han told PSFK’s Emma Hutchings he came up with the idea on a trip to Asia three years ago.

“I had a cup of tea that changed my life and transported me back to my childhood. That discovery led me to realize how the $90 billion dollar global tea market largely consists of commercialized brewing methods and treatments. Most tea drinkers don’t know what they’re missing, so I wanted to create a way to perfect the process of brewing tea while honoring its tradition.”

Your Teforia tea-making experience doesn’t come cheap. The company has 500 devices available on pre-order, for $US649. After launch early next year, a machine could set you back more than $US1200.

Chief editor at Idealog, Nikki's a veteran in the journalism industry. A former lecturer at AUT University, she was the chief reporter at NZ weekly business publication The Independent and was deputy editor of Canadian publication Unlimited magazine.

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