The Teforia smart infuser is like having your own tea master

A historian would tell you that America’s love of coffee dates back to the British tea monopoly in the Western world and the subsequent objection of American colonists to related King George taxes. Yes, we love coffee, but we Americans (and I mean “Americans”) love our tea too. It’s one of the most popular beverages in the United States, but I challenge you to find a smart teapot to rival the wealth of coffee makers and espresso machines on the market.

On behalf of the millions of tea drinkers, I’m sick of the sad teabag in a scalding cup of (probably unfiltered) water. Well, the founder and CEO of Teforia, Allen Han. The smart infuser it’s launching today is such a perfect complement to tea that Mr. Coffee should be embarrassed.

Methods of brewing tea predate the internet revolution – by thousands of years. Even for enthusiasts, most of us simply resort to a thermometer and a good transparent cooking pot. When we step out, we expect little more than a selection of herbal teas and bagged teas, followed by water at an unknown temperature to infuse. No more.

Teforia uses a proprietary selective infusion process to identify varietals and cultivars for a well-balanced flavor, as well as controlling the amount of caffeine and antioxidants in your brew. It’s like having tea prepared for you by a master on a tea plantation; the precision of the temperature and the amount of water associated with the infusion time make all the difference.

Allen understands a good cup of tea. Culturally, it’s important to him, but he also just enjoys it. The company has been working with a number of family tea estates in Taiwan for a few years. One particular journey reaffirmed its mission to improve the quality of flavors and health benefits that we most often miss in our non-scalded coffees.

“I’ve always wanted to witness the tea making process from start to finish,” Allen wrote. “In the spring of 2015, during one of my trips to Taiwan, I received a call from one of the tea masters we work with immediately after landing in Taipei after the 12-hour transpacific flight…He said: ‘We started our spring harvest yesterday…this is your opportunity to witness the tea being made live! ”

The estates are truly rural, in this case seven hours from Taipei. By the time Allen arrived it was the middle of the night. In the thick mist of early morning, Allen got up and headed for the fields. “I saw trucks pull up carrying 30-40 people and they scattered in small groups of three to four across the estate, carefully picking only the top two leaves and the buds at the end of each branch. So as I watched them happily chatting, that was the moment when I really appreciated how precious each cup of tea is.

When we take good loose leaf tea (Camellia sinensis), carefully picked, dried, packaged and sent halfway around the world, and immerse it in any ancient water, we not only miss the connection to the community and history so evident in Allen’s experience, but the range of flavors the master wanted – and you paid for.

As Allen says, “It further fueled my mission with Teforia to provide the best experience for tea drinkers, so they could for the first time experience tea as Mother Nature and the tea masters intended.”

As we cannot all travel in tea, Teforia was designed as the home solution. Allen and his team’s respect for tea is reflected in the design of Teforia. It features a flawless face like a Wedgwood platter. The buttons on the device are capacitive; you don’t see them until you touch them and they light up. However, since Teforia’s infuser is connected via Wi-Fi, you can control it with the app on your phone or desktop, without having to touch it at all.

Teforia’s website offers single-origin teas that the smart infuser already knows how to brew to a tea master’s specifications. Place the coded biodegradable containers on the brewer’s scanner (also concealed) and it reads the code. Pour the loose tea into the infuser, and Teforia can take over from there. If you have a loose tea or herbal tea that is not selected by Teforia, you can teach the smart infuser to recognize it. Enter the size, color and shape of the leaves in the app, and Teforia will infuse them. After a tasting, you can adjust the recipe and share it in Teforia’s online community.

Adjusting recipes isn’t just a simple matter of changing the flavor. You can alter caffeine and even antioxidant levels. Different types of antioxidants can also be viewed and adjusted in the app, so you end up with a healthier and tastier cup of tea.

The carafe and the infuser are double-layered; the outer layer is impact resistant and the inner gorilla glass is excellent for heat transfer and easy to clean. Although it would have been much easier in general, from a technical standpoint, to conceal the brewing process, watching the tea leaves swirl as the colors of the water add to the overall experience. Teforia is an upgrade and an honor to traditional methods, not a heartless mechanical version of what has worked for five thousand years. In fact, making the process smart – and the well-designed app that comes with it – makes tea traditions accessible to more people than ever before.

The app design complements the infuser; in its clean interface, you’ll find the bulk of the commands that make Teforia’s specialty and coffee brewers jealous. Adjust caffeine or antioxidant levels in a given recipe, connect to the community where you can search and share tea recipes, or read their truly informative tea blog. With the application and the connected properties of the Teforia infuser, the possibilities are vast. For example, Teforia could track your fitness tracker to know when you get up and prepare your tea. Tired from a long day at work? Teforia might recognize your phone when you walk up the stairs and start the brewing process – all you have to do is make sure it has water and change the filter when the app prompts – this what he will do.

Tasting Teforia tea when you’re used to drinking loose leaf tea without even knowing your water temperature is like going from Shergill IPA to Pliny the Younger – you don’t know what you’re missing until you haven’t tried it. Teforia is like the Master Yoda of tea makers, an enigmatic little thing at first glance, but ultimately wise beyond all your years. The regular price of Teforia’s Tea Appreciation Degree is $1,300, but the company offers the first 500 Teaforias for $650. In comparison, a fully automated espresso and coffee machine can cost up to $12,000. In any case, $1,300 is a lot cheaper than a trip abroad to a tea plantation.

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