The smart tea brewer for your perfect cup of tea
BRU is on a mission to provide the best tea making and drinking experience by offering smart solutions for the tea preparation.
Tea lover and engineer Bogdan Krinitchko was looking for an efficient and more sustainable way to make his tea. But there had been no real innovation in the tea maker market since 1956. Unable to find any good alternatives, Bogdan decided to develop the perfect tea machine himself.
In 2018, Bogdan founded BRU. His Co-Founder Filip Carlberg joined the journey in early 2020 and together they took their idea of the ultimate tea machine and worked with experienced industrial designers and engineers through many prototypes to make it a reality.
The result was the BRU Maker One, the intuitive and customisable tea maker that will have you making perfect cups of tea in no time!
“It’s traditional tea brewing at the push of a button. That’s what we call it,” said Carlberg. “We know that capsule machines will never work for tea. It did a good job for coffee (depending on who you talk to) … but for tea there isn’t really anything like that available.”
The BRU Maker One is designed to simplify the user’s life and support them towards enjoying tea even more. Anybody, from absolute beginner to experienced tea connoisseur, can enjoy the best of tea. Moreover, it works with any kind of tea.
“What we believe is that we can’t force tea drinkers to buy only one brand of tea. So, with our machine you have the freedom to use any tea – loose leaf or tea bag,” said Carlberg.
Another aspect that is convenient is the cleaning process. The problem with other machines is that their cleaning process involves a lot of manual steps – you need to take the machine apart to clean different components.
“We have some patents around the cleaning process,” said Carlberg. “In our machine, there’s only two components that come into contact with the tea and that’s the brewing chamber and the outlet house – both of those components are cleaned between each cup [automatically].”
When making a cup of tea by hand, the intensity, bitterness, and temperature can vary from cup to cup. Often it is hard to put a finger on why it tastes different.
The BRU Maker One puts the control back in your hands. It saves the temperature, amount, and steeping time settings to be consistent with every brewing cycle.
The quality and consistency of the machine is a big promotional factor. “With our machine we have pre-programmed settings, so you know the general setting for black tea, green tea, herbal tea etc. But you can also pre-style because taste is a very personal thing,” notes Carlberg.
Did you know that tea is one of the most drunk beverages in the world? But people tend to boil twice as much water as they use, which is a significant waste of time, energy, water, and money globally.
The UK alone could be needlessly wasting around 3,500 tonnes of CO2 every day.
The BRU Maker One only heats the amount of water needed for each cup of tea, at the temperature of your choosing.
Carlberg said: “We’ve done some initial tests with another manufacturer and our machine used 35% less energy per millimetre of heated water and also 35% less time than the machine that they’ve tested against. So, that was an amazing result for us and something that we want to continue to explore.”
‘Pop the kettle on’
The BRU Maker One retails at €299, so the question you’re probably asking yourself is why would I swap my kettle for a machine that’s obviously more expensive?
“Well, we usually say that it’s not hard to make a cup of tea but to make a really good cup for tea then you need to care about things like water temperature, water amount and steeping time,” said Carlberg. “That’s just too much for the everyday tea drinker to manage and the tea connoisseurs, they already do it, but manually with a thermometer and timer.
“Our machine automates that process. And for the average tea drinker it’s really a convenience aspect. You just throw in the tea and press a button. That’s it! The next thing you know, the tea is ready, and the machine is cleaned so you don’t have to handle any mess.”
Who makes the best cuppa?
There are similar tea making machines on the market, but Carlberg feels that there are functions that differ.
“Again, you have a big thing with the cleaning process of devices and [some of them] also have a super small water tank so you need to refill it all the time.
“There have also been other machines that no longer exist. There was one from a company in Germany, but I think they didn’t really [launch it] from a tea drinkers’ perspective. It was €699, so that’s more than double our price. They also tried to force users to only buy their tea because they had a kind of QR code on the tea packaging that you had to scan on the machine to access the right settings. It was also quite big, so took up a lot of space in the kitchen. Our machine fits on an A4 piece of paper.”
A big task for a small startup
BRU actually started out as a crowdfunding campaign, to test the idea, and pretty quickly it had pre-sold almost 10,000 units. There definitely seemed to be some interest in the machine so the team started working on the developments, but then the pandemic hit.
“[The pandemic] caused massive delays. We had to find a new manufacturer. They were overloaded so nothing really happened. We were in contact with 15 different manufacturers before we found the right one that was a good fit for us.
“But we actually used that time [in between] to develop the second version of the machine which is now the first one we will launch,” said Carlberg.
Also, producing hardware is no small task. “We realised that during the process, for some of the big players, it takes them years to develop a new device and most of them aren’t even doing it [themselves], they outsource or buy from OEM manufacturers.
“So, it’s a big task for a small startup, going through the development and certification processes. Then, of course, the big retailers are so used to buying equipment from Philips, or Siemens, or Bosch … and really, a small startup is tricky because [the big players] already have their setups, delivery and logistics connected. So that is a bit of a challenge.
“But I would argue that it’s an advantage for us as well because speed is something that the big players can never have – [especially] during development and implementing changes on the machine. We’ve been in contact with engineers from the big companies and something that has taken them two years, took us only a month. It’s a drastic difference.”
And, of course, there’s no problem that a good cup of tea can’t solve!
Brewing a successful future
The first containers of BRU Maker One machines have been shipped. These orders have been shipped to Europe, and from December the company started sales in Germany and Switzerland, with stock also available in Rotterdam. Furthermore, the team is excited to see its machines start selling through their distribution partners in Dubai and Greece around the same time.
Almost on a weekly basis, BRU is being contacted by customers around the world who are interested in buying and/or distributing their machine. Right now, the team is having several ongoing discussions with potential new partners to launch in other markets such as: Czech Republic, Finland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, UK, Canada, Australia, Norway, The Netherlands, and the US.
With the launch of the BRU Maker One underway, the company has also started to look at expanding its portfolio of products. They have already started the development of a smaller machine with slightly less functionality but also a smaller price tag – the BRU Maker Entry Model.
The development of the next machine will resume at the beginning of 2023 and exclusively be available for partners who are already selling the original BRU Maker One.
“We want to become a new standard, that’s our vision,” notes Carlberg. “Getting an expresso might not be for everyone, but it did become a new standard in coffee and that’s what we want to achieve in tea.”