Teforia Tea Infuser

For the truly dedicated, this machine might be worth the splurge

As the old adage goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So what exactly possessed Allen Han to create a $399 device that makes tea?

It's a question many have asked since the Teforia Leaf debuted in June, and it's a perfectly fair one, considering you can easily brew a cup in a matter of minutes without forking over a chunk of your paycheck.

And at this point in 2017, do we really need another smart gadget cluttering our kitchens? Hear us out: Tempting as it is to discount this as a high-end Keurig for tea snobs, the Teforia Leaf is a pretty terrific machine—one that's worth the investment.

For starters, the contraption looks totally different from other countertop appliances; the brainchild of a former Xbox 360 designer, it's sleek and futuristic, with none of the standard buttons and screens we're used to. But Teforia's aesthetic is only one small part of why it's so great.

At its core, Teforia challenges the common misconception about making tea: that you just toss a tea bag into a pot of boiling water—or worse, nuke it in the microwave. It turns out that not all tea should be brewed the same way; rather, there are numerous elements that affect how each blend tastes. Translation: You've probably been making tea wrong your entire life.

Enter Teforia, which uses smart technology to right our wrongs by customizing factors such as water temperature, aeration and steep time to brew the perfect cup of tea every time. It's this uniquely painstaking approach that elevates the machine into a league of its own.

Aside from the main console, the Wi-Fi-enabled appliance is equipped with a water filter, carafe and Infusion Globe, a glass sphere that holds the loose-leaf tea cocooned within SIPS, Teforia's proprietary breed of pod. ("SIPS" technically stands for Selective Infusion Profile System, but let's not get into that.)

To get things going, scan the radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag printed on the SIPS lid over the nifty leaf icon atop the device—that will basically tell Teforia the specifics about which blend you've chosen and how best to brew it. Then, open the SIPS container and empty the loose-leaf tea into the Infusion Globe—versus, say, plopping a K-Cup whole into a Keurig. Once the Infusion Globe is filled with tea, place it back into the main console, press start and let the microinfusions do their part in creating an aromatic, flawless cup of tea. 

Teforia works only with SIPS (sorry, Lipton fans), but there's an impressive assortment of options; some let you boost caffeine levels without compromising taste.   

The whole operation may sound superfluous, but the Teforia did, in fact, brew the best cup of tea I've ever tasted. It's certainly not a wise investment for the casual tea drinker. But it's actually therapeutic to watch this stunning machine expertly extract every ounce of flavor, brewed to perfection—just as the tea gods intended. Paycheck, be damned.

Ian Centrone is a native New Yorker and freelance writer currently exploring South America. Follow his adventures at @iancentrone  

Ian Centrone is a native New Yorker and freelance writer currently exploring South America. Follow his adventures at @iancentrone