I have more than one coffee maker in my kitchen. To keep the clutter down, I try to limit the number of coffee-making devices that are on my countertop at any given time to two or three. If I could – or, I should say, when I can – redesign my kitchen, I would love to be able to incorporate a TopBrewer into the design. The gleaming stainless steel tap looks as though it might dispense filtered water, but it actually is designed to brew perfect coffee on demand while taking up at least 90% less counterspace than any other coffee making option.
The TopBrewer from Scanomat is operated with the touch of a button using your snartphone or tablet, via an app that contains a menu of all the drinks that it can produce. These include espresso, coffee, macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos. In addition to caffeinated beverages, you can also get warm or cold milk and hot water from the tap. Milk is dispensed via a milk foamer – the smallest milk foamer in the world – that is incorporated into the design. Located at the very tip of the coffee tap, it heats and foams milk to the perfect temperature and cleans itself after use.
It takes the TopBrewer about 25 seconds to pull a shot of espresso and just 15 seconds to brew coffee. As you might imagine, there is some behind-the-scenes installation that needs to take place. It requires refrigeration for milk and space for both a grinder and fresh beans underneath the counter where the tap sits. There also needs to be a drain in the counter to catch any small drips. There are standalone units available that would be easy to incorporate in commercial settings, but for residential use it really seems best to do your installation while you renovate. The downside is that the unit costs around $8,000 (while my french press costs considerably less), but if you bargain hunt for some of your other kitchen fixtures, you can probably find some wiggle room to fit it in.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, things that are creepy and crawly catch my eye a little more frequently than they do the rest of the year. Fred’s Tea Bones tea infuser isn’t an item that needs to be relegated to your box of Halloween decorations 11 months out of the year, but it certainly is perfect for adding some frightening flair to your favorite tea this time of year. The infuser is made of molded food-safe silicone and has two main parts, a skull and crossbones. The crossbones act as an anchor for the skull, which pops open to give you a perfect cavity to stash your tea, and the two parts are connected by a thin chain. It’s a great looking infuser that is ideal for use with spicy seasonal teas – especially if you have clear glasses in which to steep your tea so you can enjoy the spooky effect.
Do you take your tea with lemon? Lemon juice is a great way to perk up a mug of otherwise boring tea, giving it not only a little extra flavor, but adding a sinus-clearing citrus aroma to the cup that is idea for cool fall and winter evenings. Typically, the lemon is served as a simple wedge that can be squeezed over your cup. This is a bit messy when you’re serving tea to guests and a bit wasteful when you’re making tea for yourself, as you have a good portion of lemon leftover that might dry up or otherwise be forgotten. One stylish way to add a splash of lemon juice is to use this lovely Lemon Squeezer, instead. The gadget is made of stainless steel and it includes a base and a pointed spout. The spout, which has a serrated edge that will loosen the juice from the lemon, slides neatly in to your citrus without requiring a knife or making a mess. Once your lemon is spouted, you can rest it on the stand until you are ready to serve. Then, simply angle the spout over your mug and give the fruit a little squeeze, and the juice will run neatly into your tea. This also might come in handy for adding just a splash of citrus to your cocktails, for those times when tea isn’t quite enough.
The best part about the spout is that, since the skin of the fruit is largely intact, it won’t dry out sitting on your counter and you’ll be able to come back for another squeeze the next day. For longer storage, keep your lemon in the fridge.
Folgers commercials used to depict coffee-lovers being lured out of bed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, no alarm clock needed. I don’t know about you, but that coffee would have to be very close to my bed for the smell alone to get me up in the morning. I have considered putting a coffee maker of some kind in my bedroom before, and the Barisieur might just be the solution to my problems. This nifty gadget, designed by British designer Josh Renouf, is an alarm clock that starts to brew you a perfect cup of coffee as soon as it goes off. It has a vintage look that conceals some very slick technology.
A beaker of water sits on top of an induction burner that turns on when the alarm goes off. The burner heats up stainless steel balls inside of the beaker, which will cause the water to boil and will also make a subtle noise that will rouse you from your sleep gently. The steam will travel up a tube and condense to pour out over fresh grounds, and you’ll have a perfect pour-over at just about the moment you are ready to get out of bed. I can’t wait to get one myself, but unfortunately they’re not on sale yet. The projected price is £150-£250, which is a bit steep but could very well be worth it for giving you the perfect way to wake up in the morning.