Taste Testing With teaBOT, The Robot That Brews Up Loose Leaf Tea In Under 30 Seconds

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Toronto-based teaBOT is a robot that whips up customized cups of loose leaf tea in under 30 seconds. The startup launched in 2013 as a way to eliminate long lines at cafes by delivering automated grab-and-go cups of tea. teaBOT is now in the U.S. with the current Y Combinator batch.

Most tea needs at least 10 minutes to brew, after getting the water to the desired temperature. Each type of tea leaf needs to steep at a certain temperature to get the right flavor and there is quite an art to getting it there. However, teaBOT works by allowing customers to select from thousands of combinators of tea flavors like the mild chamomile mixed with tangy red rooibos.

The bot will let you mix and match different teas or select from some suggested concoctions on either the teaBOT smartphone app or the provided kiosk tablet to get a super fast hot brew. You can also pay using your Apple Watch, if you want. Once the selections are made, the teaBOT uploads the information and pours in a delicious mix of your own, unique blend in under 30 seconds.

We’re really testing the tech-savvy market right here in Silicon Valley.
— Brian Lee, teaBOT
Special lids with a proprietary filtered mouthpiece keep the tea leaves inside the cup while allowing the hot water some room to cool.

Cafes interested in placing a teaBOT within their place of business get a percentage of the revenue and teaBOT will own and operate the kiosks for them, including servicing the machines and replacing supplies and product.

The kiosk just opened up its first services outside of Canada, right in the heart of Silicon Valley at Palo Alto’s Coupa Cafe. The plan, say co-founders Brian Lee and Rehman Merali, is to place the kiosks in cafes, college campuses and possibly other commercial locations. We went to sip some flavors with teaBOT and chat with the founders about their future plans.