I’m holding a fancy-looking bottle of water. Then I twist the cap, hear a swoosh, and the bottle fizzes with thousands of tiny bubbles. The water has turned deep amber. In a split second, with no more effort than opening a drink, I’ve just brewed tea.
The product is Tea of a Kind by Gizmo Beverages and its pièce de résistance is the nitrogen-pressurized cap you see above. With a twist, it fires a concentrated tea solution into the water at 90 pounds per square inch, not so differently than a modernist chef might use a nitrogen-powered whipped-cream canister to flavor-infuse creams and foams of all kinds. The other benefit of nitrogen, Gizmo claims, is in its preservation of the tea.
“Things like antioxidants and some vitamins degrade as they are exposed to UV light, oxygen, and even water,” Gizmo Beverages president Walter Apodaca tells Co.Design. “Because we preserve the content in a highly pressurized nitrogen chamber, we don’t lose this value.”
Nitrogen is sometimes used in food and wine preservation, and we know beer goes skunky when UV light penetrates bottles, so Tea of a Kind’s claim here makes a certain amount of sense. But ultimately, it’s something that can only be proven by food scientists in a lab.
Aside from the promised health benefits, however, there’s a perhaps more practical benefit to Tea of a Kind’s unique container model. The modular flavor lid could allow for rapid, low-cost deployment of new flavors across the distribution chain, as well as all sorts of dynamic market distributions that probably haven’t been considered yet. It’s maybe the first plastic bottle that, without reducing packaging size, could lower its impact on the environment.
“We can completely change the supply chain model and reduce waste in transportation,” Apodaca says. “We can load 750,000 Gizmo closures in a semi-truck, whereas you can only load between 40,000 and 80,000 filled cans or bottles.”
Even still, I’m a bit of a skeptic. The package seemed fun enough to open, but would this tea really taste better than most commercial teas? I took a sip of the lukewarm Citrus Mint Green to check. It was true, the flavor was rich and fresh-tasting, but it was quickly chased with a sticky, overwhelmingly synthetic sweetness. I checked the label: Stevia, and plenty of it. So I’m left only half understanding the model. Offer instantly infused (albeit from concentrate), potentially healthier to-go tea, but then top it off with so much quasi-natural sweetener that you can barely appreciate its subtle flavor? And I actually adore sweet tea!
That said, don’t let me stop your sweet tooth from trying it. You can see where Tea of a Kind is available on its website.