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A Taste for High Tech

Anh-Minh Le | August 22, 2016 | Food & Drink Story Eat and Drink

A Better Brew
For Allen Han, founder of Mountain View’s Teforia, the idea for the company’s high-end tea-maker was borne out of a disparity he observed at a third-wave establishment. “I loved the amount of thought and care they were putting into each cup,” he says of the coffee orders. The tea, however, was another story. “There was no understanding about tea and the amazing diversity it offers in terms of flavor, if you know how to prepare it properly. Tea is the most popular beverage in the world—after water—and I knew it was time to focus on tea and how to make the perfect cup.”

Teforia supports radio-frequency identification and is Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled, so it can connect to the cloud for new tea recipes and automatically update. Over time, the smart device learns your preferences and brews tea accordingly. In addition, its proprietary technology determines the best brewing method for each varietal, while letting you set the caffeine and antioxidant levels. (So your black tea can have more caffeine in the morning than afternoon.) A flavor wheel can also be adjusted for earthy, savory, fruity or floral tasting notes. Pre-orders for 500 units sold out in just six weeks; those will ship before Teforia hits retail shelves in October, when it will be available for purchase again on its website. The product will launch with a selection of teas by San Francisco-based Samovar, specific to Teforia, along with the company’s own exotic, all-natural teas that are sourced from growers at artisanal farms all over the world.


Noodling Around

Fifteen minutes—along with flour, water and eggs—is all you need to whip up a pound of delectable pasta. The Philips Smart Pasta Maker automates and expedites the process. It comes with eight discs that allow for various thicknesses, from angel hair to pappardelle to lasagna. The machine, which is a cinch to use and clean, is available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma. “Customers love this product because it takes the guesswork out of making fresh pasta,” says Brad Kleparek, the retailer’s senior buyer for electrics, who hinted that more smart kitchenware will be carried in the near future.

Stanford Shopping Center, 180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650.321.3486, and Willams-Sonoma


The Heat Is On
Once upon a time, sous vide—French for “under vacuum”—was a technique that seemed best left to the pros. But thanks to Nomiku, which is backed by Mountain View-based Y Combinator, it’s easier than ever for home cooks to give the method a try. Nomiku co-founder Lisa Fetterman, who has worked in restaurants such as Babbo and Jean Georges, remembers her introduction to sous vide: “It would cook food absolutely perfectly and produced these otherworldly textures and flavors that completely blew my mind,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to have one, so my husband and I made one together, and it turned out great!” (Fetterman’s husband, Abe, holds a Ph.D. in plasma physics from Princeton.)

Sous vide entails sealing food inside a heatproof bag placed 
in a water bath at a controlled temperature. This last bit—the controlled temperature—can
 be tricky, and is where Nomiku’s immersion circulator comes in 
handy. Just clip it onto a pot and 
turn the knob to set a precise temperature. A recently released Wi-Fi-connected version of the tool enables users to find, save, create and share recipes with the startup’s Tender app. Kickstarter supporters who pre-ordered the WiFi Nomiku have begun receiving theirs; the company expects to accept new orders by early July. Cooking classes are now offered in its San Francisco headquarters, and a frozen-meal program is being tested in the city. The sealed, precooked dishes can 
be reheated with any sous vide equipment, and then they’re ready to enjoy in 30 minutes.


Originally published in the July issue of
Silicon Valley

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