Given the choice, I’ll nearly always opt for coffee over tea, especially when I can get my coffee from a superautomatic coffee machine. However, as much as I rely on coffee’s high caffeine content and strong aroma for their stimulant properties, I do enjoy a nice cup of tea from time to time. Recently, I’ve been on a white tea kick; Earl Grey is my default choice.
Making tea is no more complicated than making coffee, but you do have to be careful with white tea not to have the water too hot (whereas it should be boiling for black or green tea). And, of course, you want the tea to steep long enough—but not too long, lest it become bitter.
Now there’s a machine that does for tea what my Saeco Royal Professional does for coffee: automates the whole process, making it virtually foolproof (regardless of what kind of tea you’re drinking). The Zarafina Tea Maker has three slider controls. One lets you set the type of tea, one indicates whether the tea is loose or in a bag, and one determines the strength. Pop your tea into the hopper, set the controls, and turn the machine on. It heats water in its built-in tank to the proper temperature, soaks the tea leaves in it for the proper time, and then dispenses the final product into a ceramic teapot. Although I haven’t tried it, it looks like a brilliant concept and a well-executed design. And, at about $150, it’s an order of magnitude cheaper than a good superautomatic coffee machine!
Update: This post was featured in The Coffee and Tea Festival (#14).