The Tea Capsule Is Coming

Nothing is as simple as making a cup of tea. Put water in kettle, boil water, pour over teabag in large mug and leave to stew, adding as much milk as you want. (Well, that's how I make mine.) And now there's , which is being billed as the leaf-drinker's version of Nespresso, which shortens the brewing time of a perfect cup of tea from four to two minutes.

It's been cooked up in the Beverages Lab (cough) of Cambridge Consultants, a technology and design consultancy in the U.K. and is, one assumes, not totally serious, but at the same time, deadly serious. Rather like the London mayor, Boris Johnson. Anyway, Edward and Roger, the two product demonstrators, talk grandiloquently of filling, dispense and brewing, of centrifugal forces, of air bubbling through the tea to reduce the bitter notes, and of CES 2013, where you'll be able to see them in action.

If Nespresso is embodied by George Clooney, then Tê is the capsule version of George Formby, with a knotted handkerchief and rolled up trousers on.

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10 Comments

  • Dean

    Just making the tea brewing process faster is not an innovation. Tea is such a simple process already- this complicates it. If the only pro is time savings, as they say in the video, the list of cons goes on and on as many people have listed- an appliance to make tea? No thanks.

  • Ay Bee

    Dumb, dumb and dumber!!!  The device for the 'self' is becoming a joke!  Just consider the motor car!!  Pretty much everywhere you look these days the box on four wheels is occupied by one person!  The moment I saw the Nespresso machine and its multicolored itty bitty aluminium coffee capsules I thought that their product designers must surely be the most out-of-touch people on the planet.  There's already enough junk in the world.  Why make more?  And why make one-cup coffee machines?  Has society really become that selfish; that confined in attitude or interest to one's own needs or affairs?  Have you seen the Nespresso Cafe of the Future? The George Clooney commercial where he walks up to a counter, pops in a capsule (gold of course) and makes 'himself' a coffee?  I gather the company has taken a leaf from Bill Gates' career and is now running with the  motto - 'a machine in every kitchen and in every home, everywhere!'  WAKE UP!

  • McD

    This is not new.  Nestle, the maker of Nespresso, has had NesT (get it Nes(tle) Tea) on the market for several years now in certain European countries.  Capsules (or pods) of tea, in a variety of flavors.  

  • jesspants

    Cool for people who want gadgets, but seriously - what's hard about putting hot water in a cup with some tea leaves or a teabag?

  • mangochutney

    I call bullshit.
    Seriously, there are so many different teas of which many require a lot of care while brewing to get a good-tasting cup. And even among the more easy-to-brew kinds of, say, black tea, there are intricate differences that will make it very hard for a machine to produce good results.

    This means that they're either going to have to introduce intricately tuned programs for each different family of tea, or they'll only be offering a small selection of teas that produce consistently good cups of tea. The latter would consequently mean that the chance of getting first class teas in those capsules is going to be slim — of course they won't admit that.

    Add to that the unnecessary waste these capsules produce—same as with coffee capsules—just for the seeming convenience of a faster brewing process and you have a buzzword-heavy, bullshit-laden, and elitist advertising campaign waiting to happen.

    What do you need for a good cup (or pot) of tea?
    - A glas/porcelain/steel cup or pot — DUH!
    - a stainless steel tea strainer that's easy to clean (if you're a loose leaf person),
    - your favourite kind of tea,
    - and depending on the kind of tea a thermometer to get the water temperature right.
    That's it.

    Brewing my favourite pick-me-up kind of Earl Grey takes three minutes, tops.

  • kiran bhanushali

    Good enough versus just right. Industrial process make things which are good enough for 80% of the people and make money that way. The perfectionists will stick to their custom processes of making things.

  • mangochutney

    Usually I'd agree with you, but in this case the advantage from 'brewing' a cup of tea in this machine and brewing it the traditional way is very very small, at least in my opinion.

    In case of tea it doesn't solve a problem that hasn't been solved already:

    1. There are great teas to be found in prepackaged teabags. We're not in the dark ages anymore, where the stuff they put into bags was mostly crap.

    2. There are water boilers out there, that can deliver the ideal amount of filtered and perfectly heated water (80°C, 90°C, 95°C or 100°C) for one cup at the touch of a button.