Tea Making The Mechanical Way

For some of those who are aficionados of the drink, tea making can be serious business. For them, strong, black, leaf tea left for ages to stew in a stained teapot that would strip the hairs off your chest (like it should be made) just won’t do. These beverage anarchists demand a preparation process of careful temperature regulation and timing, and for some reason repeatedly dunking a teabag in the water.

For them, [Dorian Damon] has an automated solution to getting the crucial dunking process right. He’s made an automatic tea bag dunker. The teabag is mounted on a slide operated by a crank, and the crank is driven through a pair of bicycle hubs. Motive power comes from a mains shaded-pole motor, an unusual bi-directional one of which he only uses one side. He measured his personal dunking rate at about 50 per minute, so he only needed a 4:1 reduction to match the motor at 200 RPM.

The resulting machine will happily dunk his tea bag at that rate for as long as it’s left switched on. He’s put a few videos up, of which we’ve posted one below the break.

If you need more than an automated cup of tea, how about a full breakfast?


34 thoughts on “Tea Making The Mechanical Way

  1. Thank goodness, no Arduino! The only improvement I could suggest is eliminating the motor, use something like a
    descending weight that could be cranked up and reset each time. Done right, it could ring a bell at the end of the descent.
    But I very much admire the style of this build. Brass and iron and old bicycle parts.

          1. It is probably a bit of a toy, plastics and aluminium should be fine. Most things are OK if you take off small enough amounts of material per unit time, that is one way to look at it.

        1. Maybe the builder, after one close call too many, found a safe way to repurpose bicycles. A simple small gear motor with a stick, string, and eyehook could be used to dunk the Earl Grey Tea bag. Add a microswitch, an AT Tiny 45, and needed code, and you’re ready to make tea.

      1. Nah, should be a Core i7/XEON server farm connected via UART to Aurduinos that cascade through layers of i2C/twp and UART connected Aurduinos until the commands reaches a final Aurduino to set off a routine containing the main tea dunking program and some pointless code for the sake of “something to run, because”

        Connect said output of last Aurduino to a V16 engine running max-out on turbo/nos through a huge gearing ratio to turn all that rotation speed into torque. Have all that torque effortlessly dunk the now worlds expensive overkill cuppa!

  2. Ever thought of a hard disk positioning arm with a wire extension and a ramp waveform drive or ‘duino. Simpler than a servo and silent too. Funny now they make noise makers go off (microwaves) to tell me that it stopped making noise.

    1. >Does everyone except me use teat bags.

      I’m hoping you meant tea bags in which case, no. Mostly just the British. Here in America loose-leaf and a French press are fashionable, and the bagged sawdust is usually left for iced/sweet tea or people who don’t know any better. Me, I favor either loose leaf Earl Grey or home-grown peppermint and ginger, sometimes with a bit of cassia for… medical reasons. Either way, I steep in a press with violently boiling water, and let it extract until it is good and strong.

      Meanwhile in the UK they drink this awful stuff called PG Tips or some malarkey. Bought some on the advice of a friend from London, because of the stereotype I assumed Brits were experts on tea. It was awful.

      1. British mass market tea, PG, Tetley etc. is best drunk strong and slightly stewed with milk in it, to get that tannic bite. It may be an acquired taste, but it definitely doesn’t go so well when made as weak and refined tea.

        The ultimate tea in this vein is NAAFI tea, British army tea. It’s a specially strong blend you can’t get hold of easily away from military bases. And yes, it’s a very British thing.

  3. Bravo! In the fashion of Chitty Chitty bang bang, you have used your creativity to do what mere mortals would do simply, oblivious the the potential that exists in the process. Drilling out the inside of a bolt, for a tunnel to house a rod (with precision that would make a machinist proud) and taking weeks for the joyful pursuit of doing what you dreamed could be done. Remember to always use your power for good. #proudmom

  4. Why do people always have to write rude and deprecating comments? Like why not just say “hey, that’s really cool! Great job Dorian, you’re so creative!” Who cares about all of the other BS?! It’s a cool contraption, he clearly worked very hard on it, and that’s all that matters. Additionally, really? All you got out of this is “look at his underwear?” Wow.

    Dorian- awesome job. That’s a really cool machine. You could totally use it for other stuff like drink mixing or making chocolate milk :) Congratulations!

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