Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tea time drove me to a one-cup brewer...

Today I purchased a Bosch TASSIMO one cup-brewer, because of the tea.

Perhaps I should take a step back.  I used to be a big coffee drinker back in the day.  Coming in to work on the subway would take me past a Tim Hortons, and I would routinely buy my regular (XL coffee with two cream and 4 sugars), along with two donuts.  According to Tim Hortons' convenient nutrition calculator, the coffee was 380 calories and a whopping 62 grams of carbs.  The donuts would be another 580 calories, and 74 grams of carbs.  And I wonder why I was morbidly obese - - the coffee alone had enough calories and carbs for one of my typical meals nowadays.  I won't even discuss the days after I pulled an all-nighter and my assistant would bring me 2 XL coffees ...

[As an aside, sometimes I still crave a Timmies - the old routine was so comfortable.  But looking at those numbers reminds me why there is no going back].

Anyhoo, once the Nerd gleefully told me how many calories and carbs were in my special Sunday morning coffees (coffee with cream and sugar and 1.5 oz of Baileys Irish Cream) - - i.e. way too many calories and carbs - - I stopped drinking coffee pretty well overnight.  Initially I did not replace the coffee with anything, but in recent weeks we have been drinking Earl Grey tea.  The ritual of sitting and chatting whilst sipping a warm beverage is a nice one, and it's tradition after a meal out at a restaurant to finish up with tea or coffee.  I have replaced the sugar with Splenda sugar substitute (recommended by one out of one diabetics who happen to be my mother), and so the caffeine hit is now pretty diet-friendly.

But brewing tea - wow, that takes forever.  Heating the water on the stove takes time, then steeping the tea takes time.  Before lunch this afternoon while the Nerd was upstairs grilling the kebabs, I set the table, put away dishes, and thought it would be nice to enjoy a cup of tea with lunch.  I was still waiting for the water to boil when the Nerd came back downstairs with the food, and it was still a further 5 minutes or so before the tea was ready.  Well nuts to that! 

So yes, I snapped.  It was destined to happen, since I had been pricing out one-cup brewers months ago.  As it happens, today I saw that one model happened to be on sale in the grocery store.  And it happened to be the brand that has the licence to brew Twinnings tea, Tim Hortons coffee (starting October 2012), and Cadbury hot chocolate. 
I know that one-cup brewers are prone to have pump problems, and I know that the cartridges are more expensive on a per-cup basis that normal coffee or tea.  But I also know that I am the world's most impatient person when it comes to brewing coffee or tea, and that in my billable-hour world, time is money.  So there's that.

We fired the brewer up this afternoon and I had a couple of cups of tea.  It was much faster than brewing with a kettle.  The tea was, to my palate, identical to home-brewed, and there was no fuss or mess. 

To be sure, aside from the cost issue, the selection of packaged teas is much more limited, although the company produces orange pekoe, green, and chai teas as well as Earl Grey tea, so the flavours I typically choose are covered. 

We'll see how the little guy stands up over time, and whether my tea habit becomes unquenchable with on-demand brewing.  Who knows - - perhaps it was only the fact that brewing took so long that kept me from becoming one of those people who drinks 6 cups of tea in a day. 

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