As I’ve noted many times before – though it certainly bears repeating – tea is often presented as a low-key, calming alternative to that other drink. You know the one. Though they both offer a kick thanks to their caffeine content, tea also contains a compound called theanine, which is thought to provide something of a calming effect. Not to mention the fact that the culture of tea drinking seems often to be rather more low-key than that of coffee.
Which is why I find the notion of “fast” tea to be a curious one, so much so that this will be the second time I’ve discoursed on the topic. In my previous article I offered a few thoughts on a device called the Capresso, which is said to be able to make a cup of tea or coffee in as little as a minute. More recently I’ve come across a few other devices that operate along these lines.
As you probably know by now, a certain well-known coffee concern recently made a (very) high-profile foray into tea selling when they opened a fancy tea bar in Manhattan. Many, if not most, of the press accounts I saw heralding this occasion used the term “zen” – a word that’s become a kind of shorthand for calm or relaxing – to describe this new establishment. However, at least one of the accounts I read (written by a tea blogger, not a mainstream reporter) remarked on the fact that this new bar used a fancy gadget that allows for the compression of about five minutes of steeping time into one minute.
Said gadget is apparently a BKON, whose makers claim that it “creates perfectly crafted premium tea more purely than any other brewing method – letting the world experience tea like never before.” This impressive feat is done by “throwing out the rules of brewing” and using a trademarked process called “Reverse Atmospheric Infusion” to come up with “a beautiful, balanced cup of perfection in just 60 seconds.”
Which is some pretty high-falutin’ language and which seems to conflict just a bit with the notion of tea as a slow, calming “zen” type of experience. Ditto for the single serve tea “pods” I recently wrote about, which also promise a quicker cup of tea. But then again, there’s nothing to stop those of us who have an extra four minutes to spare from making tea the “slow” way. I guess we can use all that extra time to stop and smell the roses or do whatever else we like to do to fill these staggering expanses of time.
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