Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tea Machine

Tea is a worldwide-enjoyed beverage made from water soaked in leaves. First discovered in China, it quickly spread to Japan, India, and from there on to Europe and the Americas. The first tea plants also provided caffeine, a minor stimulant. Later, "herbal" teas were developed that tasted reasonably good but provided no caffeine, as people were jittery enough as is.
So let's say for arguments sake that I have a room full of British workers who need their cuppa tea, right this instant. I have mugs of hot water, and tea bags, and no time to let it brew. I have learned from my own tea drinking experience that the fastest way to brew tea is to dunk and lift the bag, as every lift drains the saturated water from the bag, and every dunk provides fresh water.
So I have a machine with many wheels, about ten inches (25cm? Length of a teabag's string.) over each cup. I dip each teabag in once, then attach its label to the wheel. The wheels connect to a motor, slowly turning them, one revolution every 4 seconds. 2 minutes later, all the teas are done. Discard bags, add milk or cream, sugar, and bring to my workers, who tell me that it's "about bloody time."
Oh, but wait? What if they're the sophisticated type of tea drinkers that dislike teabags? (Sensitive people claim that the paper in teabags leaves an unpleasant taste in the final tea.) I can replace the teabag with a straining-sphere (imagine two strainers, with the handles removed, and attached to each other via hinges. I open them to add the tea leaves, then close them so as not to lose the tea leaves), and attach the spheres to the wheels. Then at tea-time, fill, spin, milk, sugar, serve. This is endlessly reusable, and I can compost the tea for eco-credit.
Lastly, I can scale this all up for use in tea shops or coffee shops. The latter machine can be filled with coffee grounds instead of tea leaves to make coffee instead of tea.

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