A DRM-locked, $400 tea-brewing machine from the Internet of Shit timeline

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/22/ewaste-for-breakfast.html

Did you buy a useless $400 “smart” juicer and now feel the need to accessorize it with more extrusions from the Internet of Shit timeline? Then The Leaf from Teaforia is just the thing: it’s a tea-maker that uses DRM-locked tea-pods to brew tea in your kitchen so you don’t have to endure the hassle of having the freedom to decide whose tea you brew in your tea-brewing apparatus, and so that you can contribute to the impending environmental apocalypse by generating e-waste every time you make a cup of tea.

The key components aren't dishwasher safe, either, so you'll be needing to keep special cleaning brushes by the sink to keep it all running.

In the extremely unlikely event that the startup behind this brilliant idea should fail, the combination of cloud-reliant features and DRM-crippled tea pods means that you'll have to throw the whole thing away.

Look, if you want a pointlessly overcomplicated way to make tea in the morning, may I politely suggest that you buy a lovely little Teasmade?

The brewing process is very impressive to watch, but the Leaf is all about the teas: it will only brew Teaforia’s proprietary Sips. Yet the teas themselves were a mixed bag, or box, as it were. Some were truly lovely. Wisdom and Grace, a chai-like rooibos that was, according to its product page, “originally blended for His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” was warming and soothing, reminiscent of mulled wine. The Jade Dragon promised honeysuckle in its tasting notes and it delivered. But many of the Sips tasted very under-brewed, and didn’t come out hot enough to enjoy for very long. Many of the promised tasting notes were vivid in the smell of the tea, but absent from the actual taste.

The Earl Grey variety presented the perfect opportunity to put a friend and myself through a little blind taste test. My boyfriend, who is well trained from making my daily morning tea, brewed a Tazo Earl Grey while the Teforia micro-infused the Earl Grey Sip. We labeled them A and B and gave them a taste. We were both convinced that A had to be the Teforia, because it was...better, basically. How wrong we were! The watery, over-perfumed B was the Teforia brew. Oops.

A $400 Smart Tea Machine Gave This Brit an Existential Crisis [Libby Watson/Gizmodo]


I also like keurigs and the likes where you have to wait 2 minutes per cup and have your party of 6 waiting to drink cold coffee together or drink by themselves one by one.


I dunno, I kinda think with this one that they’re on to something. I mean, in most social situations, you make up a big pot of coffee, set out cream and sugar, and you’re good. With tea, it can be trickier. Some people want black, some people want herbal, so having individual serving sized packages of tea is not a bad idea. I wonder if it would be possible to do that without the DRM, maybe enclose a certain portion of tea leaves in some kind of water-permeable package…

Hmm, I don’t think I want to say anymore, cuz I’ve got a great idea. If you’re interested, wait for Tea-in-a-Bag, coming soon to a Kickstarter near you!


This has to be completely cynical, right?

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I’m surprised that products like this are still getting funded at this point.

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Here’s what I’ve learned from these posts.

I need to build a tech startup that produces overpriced convenience gadgets with DRM.


[quote=“plc, post:3, topic:103277”]
wait for Tea-in-a-Bag, coming soon to a Kickstarter near you!
[/quote] THERE MUST BE AN EASIER WAY cue infomercial music


Thanks, Obama.

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Try to get funding for a consumer product without a razors-and-blades revenue stream these days and these institutions will look like you are utterly daft. “Wait, how do we make billions on something where this is no path to vertically integrating all things related to this product?”

“You don’t, but this product serves a need and is a higher quality, higher margin product that has been well received by customers.”

“You mean someone else could get into your business?”

“I mean, yes, we don’t anticipating any blocking IP against competitors in the Fondue business. We found that people who bought our Fondue pot purchase 75% more cheese and 40% more wine. There’s a good exit strategy to a high-end branding company. We sell certain cheese through our website and find our average customer purchases about $30 cheese per month from us.”

“Can you use anyone’s cheese?”



I’ve stayed at hotels in the last few years that have switched to providing tea via a Keurig (or Keurig-like) device instead of those ancient, inconvenient teabags. The horror.

Can anyone even tell me what’s inside a Keurig cup for the purpose of making tea? It can’t be anything as simple as tea leaves, because there’s nothing left inside after the tea is produced. What sorcery is this?

Is this thing IoT ‘enabled’? It seems to have a Bluetooth connected app, for some reason, but other than that.

But, yeah. China teacups that do not crack with boiling water in them, tea leaves (or bits of tea) in a bag, a vessel that can boil water quickly and easy availability of fresh milk (if that is your preference) are all their respective pinnacles in the technology of easily and conveniently making tea.

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I’ll stick with my Mr. Tea; thank you.

Father Guido Sarducci: Thank you. Something a-wonderful has happened to-a me. I was-a chosen to be the SPOKESMAN for this-a wonderful new product. And, Bill, I want to thank you, because the reason they picked me was because they saw me on-a this show. And-a, really, from-a the bottom of-a my heart, I do thank you.

And, you know, Joe DiMaggio does-a this-a commercial – he’s-a the spokesman for something called-a Mr. Coffee, and-a I think that’s-a why-a they-a wanted me, too. This-a product, it’s-a called Mr. Tea. Mr. Tea. And-a, you know, I don’t even drink-a tea. And I said to them, “I don’t-a drink-a tea,” but they said, “That’s okay. We want you anyway.” And-a, I just-a love-a this-a product. What I like about it is, it’s-a SO simple. All you have to do is get-a like a tea cup, or a coffee cup, whatever you call it, and you put a tea bag right inside of it here, and then you put the cup – it fits right in here – and then, you get hot, boiling water… and-a just-a pour the hot water into the Mr. Tea machine… [ he demosntrates these actions ] And, as-a you can see, the water comes-a down through here, down there, right into the cup! And then, all you have to do is wait two, three minutes… and then it’s done! And it depends – if you want it real strong, I’ve found that you should-a leave the tea bag in there quite a while. And, also, if you-a don’t want it strong, you can use it two, three times over and over, so it’s-a real economical, too.

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I get how we got here. And I think that some products can get away with this. If a consumer buys a razor for $15 and it has propitiatory razor head system, heck if it has DRM razor heads, if things go bad in the many ways possible, the consumer is out $15. That isn’t a bank breaking loss.

I just don’t think that model scales up well to more expensive items when you tack on DRM and the poor performance these over engineered solutions seem to always deliver.

I’m pretty sure it’s just something like the old Lipton instant iced tea powder.

I’ll stick with my Goblin (although they are frightfully noisy when boiling)

synthetic estrogen and other hormone disruptors.

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