There is a tea and coffee machine in the students lounge. As caffeine-delivery systems go, it is efficient. There is coffee. There is tea. There is a queue for it at peak times. Former students will remember it.
But it may, sadly, have had its day. Now you can get one of these, the BKON Craft Brewer, retailing at a very reasonable £7,700:
As you will have noted, the machine makes tea by embracing a ‘negative pressure environment’ and focusing on the ‘negative pressure variables’ in order to ‘maximise the flavour elements’.
Fascinating, and no doubt delicious, if a little hard to clean. There are alternatives, however. I like to think of myself as something of a tea machine, and I retail at a good deal less than £7,700. I am relatively easy to clean. I do not focus much on the negative pressure variables, but I do follow some simple rules. Use loose leaf, not bags. Use freshly boiled water. Fill the pot to within five millimetres of the top. Give it a stir. Leave to draw. Pour on to a spot of milk.
These are ancient verities. Stick to them and you cannot go far wrong. Here they are repeated (with additions – for instance, infusion times for an eight-gallon urn) in 1941.