BKON Craft Brewer completely infuses a cup in 60 seconds.
Tea-making is thought of as more slow and contemplative than coffee-making, but sometimes you just need your dose of caffeine now. Technology has now touched the world of tea brewing in the form of reverse atmospheric infusion (RAIN). The device that executes this complex process is the BKON Craft Brewer, and it blows other methods out of the water in terms of speed (60 seconds to completely infuse a cup) and consistency.
What’s RAIN? Loose tea leaves and water are placed in a vacuum chamber, and then air is sucked out to create a vacuum above the liquid. This draws the flavor of the tea out of the leaves in the form of a gas. Water takes the usual place of air as soon as the vacuum is released, causing the tea to infuse immediately. The complexity of the process makes for twice as many variables that can be controlled by the person making the tea, including vacuum depth, duration and frequency. Typical brewing methods only use contact time, water temperature and agitation. The creators of the Craft Brewer also claim that the tea’s flavor is made more vibrant through the method, in part because the reduced amount of contact with hot water leads to less flavor damage. “You taste the tea and not the water,” said Rishi Tea’s Josh Kaiser at a tasting.
The brew chamber also self-cleans after each cycle, making for a lower-maintenance machine for both individuals and tea shops. It’s also a “smart” machine, storing up to 200 recipes.
There’s a lot of excitement about RAIN, and it won Product of the Year at the 2014 Specialty Coffee Association of America festival in Seattle. However, it’s going to be a while before you can have one at home; a unit currently runs at almost $13,000. Fortunately, coffee and tea houses have a little more capital to invest in the technology, and you can use BKON’s brewer locator map to find locations – currently in New York, Seattle, LA, and Chicago – where you can enjoy the perfect cup. See the process explained by co-founder and inventor Dean Vastardis below.