2 February 2012
A revolutionary approach to the gentle art of making tea
Cambridge Consultants applies beverage expertise to turn high street tea retailing into one of 'life's little luxuries'.
Technology design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has created a new prototype that brings a sense of theatre to the underdeveloped tea experience to rival that currently enjoyed by coffee drinkers in today’s coffee shop culture. With consumer spending now focused on ‘little luxuries’, the TeaTotal prototype brings a dynamic experience to the customer who loves tea. It allows for personalisation according to taste, and brews the ‘perfect cup’ in half the time of the standard tea process, maximising revenue for the retailer.
TeaTotal is a fully programmable tea brewing device, allowing the consumer to specify not only the leaf, but also the intensity of the tea flavour and the relative bitterness. Cambridge Consultants’ design team was able to identify the independent variables that impact flavour, and how to separately manipulate them to deliver each consumer’s ideal cup. Moreover, while a standard tea process brews tea in roughly four minutes, TeaTotal only takes around two minutes, creating faster throughput in a retail setting. The prototype has been designed to use loose leaf tea and the theatrical brewing pot fills with water, swirling the leaves around and steeping until the tea is poured into a cup and the spent leaves are ejected, all highly visible to the expectant consumer.
“Recent retail figures show that even if consumers are reluctant to buy expensive consumer goods in the current economic climate, they are willing to spend money on little luxuries like cosmetics, personal care products, food and drinks,” said Edward Brunner, Principal Engineer in Cambridge Consultants’ Consumer Team. “Tea drinkers stand in line in a retail outlet and watch as their coffee-drinking fellow customers are treated to a personal ‘barista experience’. Meanwhile they are presented with a mug of hot water and a soggy bag on a string. Tea drinkers deserve more, and will demand more as tea becomes the new coffee. The TeaTotal prototype brings that same sense of everyday luxury to tea, where we have seen a richer approach to leaves and flavours but not yet to the brewing process itself.”
In the last five years, Cambridge Consultants has been engaged in over 30 beverage dispense projects in the consumer and commercial spaces, ranging from novel espresso delivery to high quality milk frothing technology. This prototype demonstrates that creating a premium consumer experience for tea is far from blue sky thinking and can be brought to market within a year. Cambridge Consultants is currently looking for retailers or their suppliers who would be keen to work with them to take the concept to the market.
Cambridge Consultants representatives will be available to discuss the prototype in more depth at the CoDev 2012 conference in La Jolla, CA on 13-15 February 2012 at booth No.1. CoDev is a three-day conference focused on how to create a thriving innovation engine to meet ever-changing marketplace conditions.
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 450 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in innovation and high-tech engineering consulting which supports companies in the creation and development of their new products and services. With a staff of about 23,000 employees in more than 20 countries, the Group generated revenues of €1.756bn in 2014. For more information, visit: www.altran.com
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