Gadget promises to brew the 'perfect' cup of tea
- 1 May 2014
- From the section Technology
A machine with a £7,700 ($13,000) price tag is said by its manufacturers to make "the perfect cup of tea".
Bkon, the company behind the machine, says the brewing process is a lot more complicated than simply dipping a tea-bag into some boiling water.
Prototypes are being tested in US coffee shops, and the device could be commercially available later this year.
But experts are questioning whether anyone would want to pay so much for a tea-maker.
The Craft Brewer, relies on a novel process of brewing, called reverse atmospheric infusion (Rain).
It uses a brewing chamber, into which loose tea leaves and water are placed.
The air is then drawn out to create a vacuum.
This negative pressure in the chamber brings the tea leaves to the surface of the liquid and, according to Bkon, draws out flavour more precisely than simply adding boiling water.
The process is repeated for between 60 and 90 seconds - different flavours need different numbers of infusion cycles - and variables such as water temperature and contact time can be fine-tuned.
The machine can brew more than 60 cups of tea an hour.
It has led the makers to boast of having created "tea 2.0".
In 2012 Cambridge Consultants, the company that helped create the first round tea-bag, designed a capsule-based tea-brewing system.
"We asked, 'What is the science behind making a good cup of tea?'" said head of consumer product development Ruth Thomson.
It is currently in talks with a range of manufacturers about bringing its machine to market at an equivalent price to "conventional coffee machines".
Ms Thomson said of the Craft Brewer: "The price tag shocks me, but I can see why it would cost that.
"There are a lot of parameters to consider when making a good cup of tea, and the pressure parameter is one of the most expensive," she said.
"But it is an important parameter and would be likely to have a significant impact on taste."