Honouring the Chinese art of Tea
Do you know why Chinese tea is served in such small cups? One of the reasons is because the tea is meant to be drunk immediately after it has been poured! (as told by my very long-winded Chinese-cultured uncle). That being said, timing and temperature is key when it comes to the purest of the pure art of Chinese tea culture – from the amount of time the tea leaves are left to soak, to the temperature of the tea in your cup after it has been poured. In the olden days, achieving such precision and consistency is called an art. Today, it’s called smart electronics. Lol.
That being said, the VRZone team is really happy with how the Qi Aerista Smart Brewer encapsulates the elements of what makes the perfect cup of tea. Here are what we are thoroughly impressed with:
1. Precision and consistency with ease
Timing is automated, and temperature can be controlled. We love how there are some pre-set options for different types of tea, which makes brewing the perfect cup so much faster than manually setting the time and temperature for each brew with the Qi Aerista. Also, if you aren’t that “into” the tea culture like some of our VRZone staffers, this Smart Brewer allows you to brew a “nicer tasting cup of tea” without having to do your research. Yes, we all have that group of friends who could perhaps benefit from more evolved taste buds.
What we also found pretty cool was the ability to do Cold Brewed Teas – something that most of us never really get to drink unless we are at a Starbucks. I guess to DIY a cold brew tea you could pretty much leave your tea bag in a cup at room temperature, but you’re definitely not gonna be achieving consistency with that approach.
2. Longevity of tea & leaves
Like how we dislike guests who overstay their welcome, we really appreciate how the Smart Brewer keeps the tea leaves separated from the tea at all times. By resolving the problem of oversoaking, we also realised that we could get more cups from the amount of tea leaves we put in.
The Smart Brewer also automatically switches over to the “keep warm” mode after the brew has been completed. How? Well… the Smart Brewer is also a kettle, and with the Qi Aerista’s mobile app, you can adjust exactly what temperature you would like keep your tea at. This means that your tea will remain “freshly brewed” even for the guest who is 15 minutes late, or, you can set a lower temperature (which won’t scald your tongue) for it to stabilise itself at.
3. Mobile App & Monthly Tea Subscription
It wouldn’t be called a “Smart Brewer” if it didn’t have a mobile app, right? After all, we have a mobile app for everything nowadays, so why not have one more for your kettle / tea pot! In all seriousness, this is not just another idle app in your phone’s background.
It hooks on to your home’s network and you can control everything about your brewer from it – the brewing process through pre-set modes, and customisable time & temperature. A nice use-case would be when you are in the middle of a Game of Thrones episode and not ready to run to the kitchen for your tea, you can re-activate the “keep warm” mode from your phone. Or, if you are anticipating guests, you could leave the tea leaves in the brewer beforehand and start the brewer remotely when they arrive.
There is also a monthly subscription of tea that you can get from Qi Aerista. Every month, they will send you three different types of tea that they have carefully curated. Updates about these teas will be posted on the app and you can learn about its history and instructions for the perfect brew. We found it to be very educational, where we learnt how to brew the classics such as “high mountain oolong” and “anxi tie guan yin” to the more contemporary tea concoctions such as “Hong Kong style milk tea” and “iced fruity vodka tea”.
Although they portioned these three bags to last you for a month, we think it’s more than enough to last us slightly more than a month, or just enough for you to share a cup with your partner every now and then. We thought this was a pretty neat idea because we usually have large boxes of unfinished tea boxes left lying around in our office. There is free shipping to Singapore for this hassle-free monthly supply of tea, and there is an ongoing promotion where the first month of the tea subscription is free if you purchase the Smart Brewer from the official Qi Aerista website.
4. Easy to wash & use
In Chinese culture, you never really “wash” your teapot… you simply give it a “rinse”. The Smart Brewer is designed to be just as easy to clean with a three step procedure that doesn’t require dishwashing soap – wash the infuser, wash the inside of the carafe, clean the exterior of the carafe with a cloth. That’s it!
5. Responsive Sales Team
There was a slight problem with the tea pot for the unit we had received, but the sales team from Qi Aerista sent a replacement tea pot and covered all shipping expenses. We were very pleased with how responsive they were in handling such error and troubleshooting issues, and appreciated how they followed up with the diagnosis of the damaged teapot that we had sent back. Great job, team!
The Qi Aerista is definitely a functional and impressive product. The design is simple and elegant, although the price point of US$199 might be a little steep for some. If you do have the extra cash to spend, we highly recommend this product because it really does brew perfect cups of tea, consistently. Another reason to purchase this product is to support the Qi Aerista team – they are a very lean team with a legit good product. We suspect that the high price point is because they have yet to reach the point of critical mass production to drive manufacturing costs down. Nonetheless, whilst taking pride that you are one of the earlier adopters of this fab product, you can be sure that they have poured their heart and soul into producing the Qi Aerista Smart Brewer!
3 Reasons why you should buy the Qi Aerista:
- If you have the habit of drinking tea, you’ll be using it everyday. Might as well brew yourself the perfect cup of tea each time – be it black, green, white, etc.
- As much as ice cream loves the refrigerator, your tea will love the “keep warm” mode. Set the temperature to let it sit at, such that you wouldn’t scald your tongue when drinking
- Easy to wash and use – there are not a lot of loose components, just a simple rinse and air dry is sufficient