Teforia’s CEO Talks Tech and Wine Influence on the Tea Industry

Allen Han at the 2017 World Tea Expo, photo by Beth Dobos

Teforia won the World Tea Award for Best Tea Brewing Device (Electric) at the World Tea Expo in June. Founder and CEO Allen Han invented the Teforia Infuser, a sophisticated appliance that can extract different levels of caffeine and flavor from tea leaves according to user preference. Here Han shares tea industry insights and what inspired him to create the Teforia Infuser.

How did it feel to win the award for Best Tea Brewing Device (Electric)?

As the founder and inventor of the Teforia Infuser, it is an honor to be recognized by the tea industry for our contribution to elevate the tea experience.

What inspired you to invent the Teforia tea brewer?

I’m a lifelong tea drinker, a technologist and a student of culture.  Five years ago, I had an encounter at a crafted coffee/tea shop and experienced the huge disparity between the service and quality of coffee and tea. This experience catalyzed my innate curiosity to learn more about the ritual and science of tea to see if there is a way to elevate the tea experience for consumers.

What sets Teforia’s tea brewer apart from others?

What sets Teforia’s infuser apart is based on our revolutionary micro-infusion process.  Fundamentally micro-infusion is multiple successive shallow precision infusions. With each micro-infusion we target a specific set of chemical profiles to tease out from the tea leaf. For example in first micro-infusion we might target the extraction of aroma chemicals, the second infusion targets the chemicals that form the body of the tea, the third infusion targets the finish.  The results of the micro-infusions are combined and served. The result from our micro-infusion process tastes distinctively more complex and balanced and with a lingering long finish. Beyond improving the taste of tea, our micro-infusion process gives Teforia’s infuser the ability to adjust the amount of caffeine we extract by plus or minus 60 percent and boost antioxidants by 120 percent.

Did you intend for the brewers to be used in cafes, in homes or both?

The current infuser is intended for home use only. Tea is an experience, not just a drink. So we focus on making the Teforia tea infusion experience a really personal, engaging and soothing experience. We are studying café application.

How does the tea brewed in the Teforia tea brewer compare to tea steeped in a teabag?

There is no comparison. We have prepared the same teas with the Teforia Infuser and with the manual process. Teforia-prepared tea is constantly more complex and balanced in flavor and texture. Whereas manually prepared teas are flat and one-dimensional with a lingering bitterness. Please see https://teforia.com/infuser/#see_the_difference

What are some trends you have noticed in the market; and how does Teforia fit into them?

Overall in the food and beverage industry there is more technology involved to bridge people with the items they consume. From Blue Apron that delivers prepacked ready-to-cook meals to Smart Scale that makes cooking fun. Teforia is part of this trend of leveraging technology to provide a higher-quality product and connect people to the origin of tea.

What is a need that you see in the tea industry today?

The tea industry needs to do a much better job of educating the market about the rich story of tea. The wine and coffee industries have done a tremendous job of that in the U.S. in the past 10 to 20 years, and in doing so it has created new segments that are high quality and high value that were not there when most of the industry was focused on commodity-level products.

Do you plan to come up with any more inventions?

Yes. It is innate in me to help make this world a better place. With Teforia, it is “A better world, one cup at a time.”

Do you have any advice for other inventors?

Inventors are pioneers of the modern age. You need to have perseverance and courage to think differently. Seek out others that share your passion and build out a support system for yourself.