How much for Heston Blumenthal cuppa?

Heston Blumenthal

Michelin-starred Heston Blumenthal is known for seeking culinary perfection - through a creative fusion of science and cooking. Now he has turned his attention to the humble cup of tea, and devised a piece of equipment which he says can deliver the perfect cuppa.

But just how eye-watering is the price, and would you pay it?

The machine

Blumenthal has developed a machine which is effectively a kettle and teapot all rolled into one, and it's all yours for £199.

The idea is that you fill an aluminium basket at the top with tea leaves (not bags obviously!). Then you fill the kettle with water - up to the indicator showing the number of cups you want to make.

Because this is a Blumenthal product, things then get a bit more complex. He says that the time and temperature for the perfect cup depends on the type of tea you are using, so there are five different tea settings for five different sorts of tea.

Once you've got that sorted, you just switch it on and it makes you a perfect cup of tea and keeps it warm for up to an hour. You can even use it as a teasmade, because it has a delayed start setting.

Worth it?

There will be those who cannot understand what's so bad about using a kettle and a bag. In 2011 the University of Northumbria produced a piece of research after 180 hours of testing, where it came up with the shocking discovery that the best approach was to add boiling water to a tea bag in a mug and leave it for 2 minutes before taking the bag out and adding milk.

It's scientific, and it's cheap, so it could give the celebrity chef a run for his money.

Range

However, Blumenthal didn't stop at tea. He developed a full range of 16 products with Australian company Breville. They called the range Sage, and are marketing a host of things including a food processor, a stand mixer, an ice cream maker, a kettle, a blender, a multi-cooker, a citrus press and a juicer.

He also offers a £169.99 toaster, with settings for the type and thickness of the bread. One amusing function is a 'quick look' function which lets you check if it's done. If it needs a bit more than you press the 'a bit more' button, which gives it another 30 seconds.

And if money is no object, there's an express coffee maker for £549.99, which includes a magnetic tamper, precise dosing tool, and a warmed tray.

Which? product expert Jessica Carson says: 'There are some interesting features on offer, and the focus on quality, innovation and simplicity is promising. But we'll find out if the performance justifies the price tag when we send these products to our test lab.'

So what do you think. Is it worth paying this much for perfection? Or are you pretty certain you have already perfected tea to your own tastes? Let us know in the comments.

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