Automated Tea Purchases with TeaBOT

LOGO-teaBOTToronto area high school friends Brian Lee and Rehman Merali are riding a wave of enthusiastic support for a personalized loose leaf brewing kiosk they call the teaBOT.

The device is a tea shop in 10 square feet open 24/7 with an app that lets you design, order and pay for loose leaf blends and then share your creation online.

The two young engineers loved tea, thanks to Brian’s family tea store. One day Brian mentioned his concern that customers waiting in line for a cup of tea left the store empty-handed out of frustration. It’s a common retail problem as tea vendors must describe, answer questions, weigh and offer samples to complete a dry tea transaction. Tea-to-go drinkers want to grab and go.

Lee and Merali, a robotics PhD, incorporated large see-through cylinders of ingredients in an array that enabled customers to blend, steep and head out the door.

WTN150126_teaBOT KioskThey built a prototype at the University of Toronto Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) and were named to cohort by JOLT at MaRS an investment accelerator fund.

Click this video to see it in action.

A app near the kiosk enables customers to create their own recipes, see what is trending and share their “personaltea” on social media to get recommendations.

Metro News Canada reports that teaBOT is now installing kiosks at popular locations throughout the city. The automated machines let users steep their own blend of loose leaf tea for $2.85. The kiosks are open 24/7.

“It fits with our demographics,” Merali said. “Young millenials want to be able to customize everything.” The company currently offers seven blends including Smokin’ Gun green, Chai These Nuts, Hello Mellow and Choco-Mint

Learn more at:, or follow the company on Twitter @myteabot.

Dan Bolton

About Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton edits STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International. He was formerly editor and publisher of World Tea News and former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine and former editor-in-chief of Specialty Coffee Retailer. He is a beverage retail consultant and frequent speaker at industry seminars and conferences. His work has appeared in many beverage publications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years prior to his career in magazines. Dan is the founding editor of Natural Food magazine and has led six publishing ventures since 1995. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada.