Tê: The “Proper Brewing” Tea Machine

According to the UK Tea Council, the British consume 165 million cups of tea every day or 60.2 billion per year. According to product development company Cambridge consultants we are not doing it right. Cambridge Consultants has developed a capsule based tea brewing system that promises perfect cups of tea every time via a one button touch system.

Before you scoff, Cambridge Consultants do have a history with this sort of thing and one of its many achievements was helping to create the first round tea bag.


Tê (I love your accent) is based on a traditional tea brewing method – “but with the convenience of a disposable capsule”. I’ve never found tea bags to be that inconvenient Tê’s ability to reduce brew time and increase drink quality.

Cambridge Consultants poured (pun detected) considerable brainpower into analysing how tea can be brewed differently from the traditional teapot or tea bag method. The key to Tê is a specially engineered recirculating pump technology which is incorporated in the simple capsule – for maximum convenience and minimum mess.

“Whilst coffee systems have seen a significant amount of innovation over the last decade nothing has changed in tea brewing, leaving the tea drinker almost forgotten about. We saw a real opportunity to use our experience in the beverage industry to level the playing field and make a step change in this category.”

Edward Brunner, Group Leader of the Industrial and Scientific Group at Cambridge Consultants


Tê brews in just two minutes, which is apparently half the time of a traditional tea pot. It also gives you control over the strength and flavour of your cuppa. The cost of the machine has obviously yet to be determined but they are targeting the lower end of the price range for similar coffee devices – with capsule cost mainly depending on the type of tea leaves selected.


“Contrary to other tea machines on the market, this is based on a genuine tea-brewing process – rather than simply a ‘single-pass flow’ with fresh water. The technology process has been developed with black teas but has the potential to be used across a range of herbal and fruit teas, and other hot drinks.”

Cambridge Consultants will be demonstrating the Tê machine at CES 2013, January 8-11, in Las Vegas.

New vacuum from Vax is on the cards

A gadget made out of cardboard? Are you mad? That was my first thought when I found out about the cardboard Vax. I checked the date – no, not April 1 so maybe it wasn’t a joke. And, aside from what you read on Latest Gadgets, I know not to believe everything I read on the internet.


But after some digging around, I have found it is indeed true – there is a vacuum cleaner that has been made out of cardboard, and you, dear readers, can find out how you might be able to take part in a trial of the prototype, as well as make your very own cut out and keep mini cardboard Vax!

The idea behind the Vax ev is, as you may have guessed, ecological. With manufacturers, agencies and the consumer wary about how landfill is filling up, this neat little number has been made with optimum sustainability in mind, as it is made from recycled and recyclable materials.

The Vax ev has been developed by industrial design student Jake Tyler, who worked with the support of vacuum cleaner maker Vax’s new product design team. The plan was put into action while Jake was working at Vax’s UK headquarters on a student placement scheme. Probably unsurprisingly, Jake graduated with a first class degree and now works with Vax full time.

The motor housing is contained within a cardboard body, that begins life as part of the retail packaging, and then pops into place around the working parts. It can be customised using felt tip pens, so your Vax ev will be like no other!

And if you’re thinking this could be a fire hazard, rest assured that the cardboard has a flame retardant coating. Where parts cannot be made from cardboard, a recyclable nylon plastic casing gas been used. This is easily produced and cuts out the need for assembly lines, so the product can be made and distributed locally, reducing energy use and fuel costs.

The Vax is a fully working prototype at present, and if you want to get involved in its trial, send your details to Vax here

Dyson Hot fan heater, warm up your room

As I write this, the weather forecast is promising another week of unseasonably warm temperatures. However, when winter finally comes, the experts are warning us that it will bring with it some far-from-average low temperatures, so the latest release from Dyson could well be high on many a winter shopping list.


The new Dyson Hot fan heater hardly looks like your average fan heater – and Dyson promises that it works very differently as well. Usually, fan heaters only heat up the bit of the room in front of them, and everyone jostles for space to sit in front of it. Not so with Dyson’s latest production.

Instead of fast spinning blades, the device uses Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology, which draws in air at the bottom of the heater using an energy efficient motor, and then this is amplified six times, using processes called inducement and entrainment. Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that is it the same technology used in jet engines and turbochargers (which will hopefully impress your other half if they’re asking why you have spent £269 on a fan heater).

The upshot of all this technological wizardry is that the whole room should be heated evenly, thanks to the smooth oscillation of the machine, and it is easy to achieve a target temperature. Safety wise, there are no visible heating elements or blades and no safety grill to get dusty, so it gets points from me for cutting down on cleaning jobs. It also cuts out automatically if it tips over, which is comforting if you have kids, animals, are buying it for an elderly relative, or are just a bit clumsy.

And should the weather prove too warm, it also offers a cooling fan to offer an uninterrupted stream of smooth air.

A remote control allows you to easily change the temperature, airflow speed and oscillation without moving from your comfy chair.

The Dyson Hot fan heater is available exclusively from John Lewis.