Tag Archives: Affinitea

Affinitea Redux

Okay, I’m a little miffed.The sad state of beverages in the restaurant is killing me. And now that I have had decent tea, I’m offended when I’m served less than what’s possible. I’ve tasted what’s available on the market, and I know what’s possible. Being served a cup of hot water with a tea bag, for $1.25 is not the best we can do.

I was invited out to taste test the products made by Affinitea after I posted an entry about an article I came across in the Seattle PI. I was greeted by the vice president, Michael DiMartino, and make no doubt about it, he was giving me his sales pitch. He wanted press. But I wanted tea. And I wanted to be careful about crossing an ethical line. I didn’t want to shill their product simply because they treated me royally.

That being said,I was very interested in the idea of tea coming from what is, at its core, an espresso machine. How good would it be? Tea has delicate flavors. Unlike espresso, which is an up front flavor with subtle undertones, tea is like a soak in a warm tub. The comfort comes from the entirity of the drink. How would tea hold up under the patented new process introduced by Affinitea?

After telling me a bit of the past and how Affinitea got its start, Michael pushed the new machine to its limits. We started with a pot of green tea and a glass of Earl Grey. Truth be told, they were not bad. The best word I could describe it with is “respectable”. But I say that only because I brew these varities at home and I know what they are supposed to taste like. Although I have had better, what I sampled of DiMartino’s Green Tea and Earl Grey was better than 99% of the teas sold at restaurants and coffee shops throughout Seattle.

But the real joy, the real surprise, came in the mixed drinks. You haven’t lived until you’ve had the spiciness of a freshly brewed chai latte topped with cardomon and cinnamon. And Michael introduced me to my new favorite drink, a hot Mint Green Tea Latte which tasted like an adult version of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

I had the caffeine jitters after all that tea. But that didn’t stop me from drinking a Grapefruit/Herbal Tea mix, an Iced Mango tea, and an Iced Mango Latte. It was wonderful. I was in tea heaven.

And then, the bad news. No place in Seattle currently has an Affinitea machine. If I wanted to get my hands on another Mint Green Tea Latte, I’d have to go to Sacramento to Java City. If I was in Florida,I could go to Barnie’s.

If you’re looking to have good and great tea while out and about, look for places that sell Affinitea. It’s worth it.


An Exclusive! (of sorts…at least for me)

Remember a month ago or so, when I wrote about Affinitea?

Well, I’ve been invited out there by these beverage gurus to discuss the benefits and pleasures of their new Tea Brewing process. Stayed tuned in the coming weeks for an out and out interview with some of them.


Tea as a Coffehouse experience

tea

Getting good tea at a restaurant is near impossible unless you go to an actual tea house (but not always…at a local high class hotel, they have their own High tea….which comes with typical British tea time fare, and your choice of tea bags….at twenty eight dollars per person). Either the brew is always wrong, with the cafeteria-sized tea bags left soaking in the large metal can lenuring the bitterest of teas, or the restaurant simply brings out a cup of hot water and a selection of tea bags. It’s embarassing really, that so little attention is given to a beverage with such wonderful complexities and varieties.

So imagine my surprise when I opened the Seattle PI today and read about Affinitea. Affinitea has created a machine that’s based on espresso technology but has been tweaked to deliver a cup of brewed tea in 30 seconds.
Color me both excited and curious

Seattle PI’s Hsiao-Ching Chou writes: “The Affinitea Beverage Infuser’s caddy (it looks like an espresso machine’s portafilter, which holds the ground coffee) is designed to hold loose-leaf tea. The brew chamber to which the caddy is attached holds a series of jets that shoot hot water first to moisten the leaves and then to agitate them, allowing them to steep and unfurl.

“The infuser can create 140 pounds per square inch of pressure, which allows the “tearista” to brew a cup of tea in 30 seconds. Just like a shot of espresso, the tea flows from the valve on the bottom of the caddy and straight into a cup with or without ice.”

I really cannot wait to see if this comes to fruition. I also wonder if there is different brewing times for white tea, green, oolongs and blacks. Imagine getting a great cup of Earl Grey in 30 seconds, and when done, deciding to go for some mixed blend instead. Sure, it will probably mean that tea will be more expensive, but if the tea is as good as teh article suggests, what you pay for price you will more than make up for in quality.

I think I know what I want for my birthday now. :-)

photo by Karen Ducey of the Seattle PI.