There is something magical about ordering a cup of coffee or an espresso drink at a cafe. Face it, if there wasn't some type of extra allure, we would still be living in the dark ages. (Those dark ages being the 80s when it wasn't a given that a half-decent cup of coffee was available within a one-block radius.) Luckily for the afflicted, it is easier than ever to observe the coffee-making ritual--but tea drinkers are still mostly an afterthought.
Seeing no reason to continue leaving tea drinkers in the dark, Cambridge Consultants, a British design and development firm has created the TeaTotal. Combining efficiency, theatrics and consistency, the in-development machine offers an experience for the tea drinker that rivals that of a barista pulling a shot of espresso.
Users, in the form of cafe patrons, home consumers, or those at a vending machine, select the preferred loose-leaf tea variety, temperature, and strength level. Instead of walking away with a tea bag attached to a string dangling out of a to-go cup, the tea drinker becomes witness to the process itself: the tea is introduced to the water, where a stirring mechanism facilitates consistency and steeping efficiency. When ready, the finished tea is funneled into a waiting cup.
The machine isn't at your favorite caffeinated watering hole just yet; the development team is exploring partnership possibilities. Until that time comes, plan on continuing the tradition of baristas responding quizzically when being asked for a cup of Darjeeling brewed at exactly 90 degrees and at strength of 4 out of 5.