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TEFORIA EUPHORIA by Gail Gastelu, The Tea House Times

Monday, November 13th 2017 @ 8:28 PM

Seeing can sometimes be believing. But doing, tasting, trying something with your own hands, well, that is more engaging and leads to greater understanding of a product, I feel.  Actually, I often wonder why at trade shows more businesses do not encourage you to DO IT YOURSELF.  Great, have some reps there to demo but then allow your potential buyers to try it if it is a machine, use it, push the buttons, learn more by doing.  Hands on learning works so it should also work when trying to engage customers/buyers to want to embrace and ultimately buy your particular product.

In the tea industry since 2003, I have seen and lived through many trends. The latest is machines to make tea.  Most tea professionals are non-believers. Why mess with something so simple? Boil the water they say, steep the tea, done.  Sure, sure.  Because this is what we do as tea professionals. We KNOW what to do, what temperature, the quality of water necessary; how to best prepare different teas at different temperatures to ensure proper handling and optimal taste, consistency, and more.

But, does the general public know this? Maybe yes, maybe no.  Can a machine help them? Maybe yes, maybe no.  Are we even there yet? Are consumers ready for machines to make tea when they barely know the difference between white, green, oolong, and black? Or have they even ventured past the generic grocery store tea bag yet? Or have they even ventured beyond iced tea which is most popular, still, in USA?

Perhaps then, the machines are the dreams of us tea professionals for now, rather than the consumers.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  At the moment, I say maybe yes.  I will explain why.

Truthfully, I have been among the non-believers.  Why spend big money, hundreds of dollars, on a machine that can do the same thing as a $19 electric tea kettle and a $10 strainer basket? Well, Teforia sent me a machine several months ago, and I finally set it up this week. Unfortunately, the company has ceased business just as I was sent one of their machines to consider for a formal review/write up. So, it sat there waiting for me to decide what to do with this box I had received. 

Finally, I set it up.  It is super chic, super sleek, and gorgeous beyond words.  It looks HOT in my kitchen! haha Really, really, very nice.  Very impressive. Very rich looking. Very awe inspiring. OK…. great… you say…. but, how does it work?  It is likely the most well thought out product I have ever seen.  Not only does it make the tea for you, but you can control it by scanning a code from a Teforia branded tea package OR control the machine from an app on your mobile device if steeping your own loose tea.  (There are NO BUTTONS ON THE MACHINE!)

When I saw the price of the packages of tea, I thought they too were overpriced. But, when you realize that most of them can be steeped again and again over the course of your morning or afternoon for example, you begin to see the value.  I think I set the machine to run an oolong six or seven times and each steep was slightly different, but incredible, perfectly steeped, unreal.  Addicting.  The machine could quickly become an addiction. It is just so darn fun to use. So beautiful to look at and to touch. For me, it is a tea professional’s incredible playground for showing off.  If you are a tea pro and you had this in your kitchen when guests visit, OMG, they would faint and be so jealous.  Besides that, Teforia is so clean!! To me, that is a big deal.  Anything the tea touches can be easily cleaned. Other machines? I am not so sure.

Can the average consumer afford something like this? maybe not. But does the average consumer purchase champagne? Not at all or not frequently. That type of purchase is a “special occasion” purchase for most.  Perhaps this type of machine was simply ahead of its time more than being overpriced.  There are certainly many consumers who like to show off with their fancy, fancy, overpriced coffee makers and cappuccino machines in their own homes. This is not different…. just … truly, ahead of its time I think.  Even though Teforia has ceased business, I hope the day comes when it can be resurrected or somehow marketed differently to attract more buyers and at a more affordable price point too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the product in my opinion and it is so much fun to use, people would buy more tea and consume more tea, better tea, more consistently.

Do people really want a machine to replace the calm that a tea break brings about? A lot of what makes tea so special is that time and calming ritual surrounding its preparation. You measure the leaves, heat the water, steep it, watch the tea leaves do their little dance, and hand pour into your favorite tea drinking vessel, sit down and enjoy a warm cuppa in hand or with friends or family.  I too, love, love, love this. But, at the same time, when I am busy working, it is nice to set it and forget it…. to run the Teforia machine while the app keeps track and reminds me if I am not nearby to hear the machine chime when ready.  Besides that, the tea is prepared perfectly and I have not forgotten it or over steeped it… which, yes, happens quite frequently because I may be interrupted by a phone call or other business. 

For now, I watch as many others try to make a machine to help people make tea. It may build better appreciation for better tea.  Or it may make you want to chuck them out the window.

Right now I am in Teforia euphoria so I don’t think any other machine coming out could possibly compare in function, design, and futuristic technology. Sorry Teforia. I hope you come back someday.

(Teforia ceased operations as of Nov. 3, 2017)


For the Love of Tea. . .


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© All content and images are copyright of author unless otherwise noted.
GAIL GASTELU is owner/publisher of The Tea House Times, producer of TeaCourse.com continuing education and TeaEtiquetteCertified.com online tea etiquette certification. She is also producer and presenter of Tea Course Fast Track and produces numerous other products and services to connect businesses and consumers to everything tea. Gail lives in NJ with her husband and two children. Her motto is "Just Do It!"  Learn more about Gail's work here. Contact Gail via email here.  (Gail is also known as "Lady Gayle" to  her Red Hat Society friends.)

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