Food: Tea
Teacup Temperature Timer   (+11)  [vote for, against]
Never have to drink cold tea again

I love tea. Alongside gin and wine, I consider it evidence for a higher being.

By "tea" I mean English-style tea with milk, preferably made in a pot, with Yorkshire teabags and (this is essential) boiling water. Whilst I occasionally enjoy a cup of Earl Grey, Lady Grey or green tea sans milk, I cannot abide the rubbish excuse for tea that you get in France or over the pond where you are brought a cup of warm water and a selection of "tea" bags. Pah.

I digress. This is becoming a tea-tise.

One problem I have is that when leaving my mug of tea to cool to drinking temperature I frequently forget to drink it. This invariably leaves me in the unenviable position of having to drink a cold cup of tea.

If [jonthegeologist] is to hand (surprisingly likely since, reader, I married him) then he is quite good at reminding me to drink my tea. However if he is absent or, indeed, I am at work (for he makes me earn my keep), I am metaphorically buggered.

I present my solution: the Teacup Temperature Timer.

A cup with a built-in timer. When you make the tea, you set the timer and it beeps to remind you to drink it.

If you wanted to highly overengineer the solution (this is the Halfbakery after all), then you could have a small thermocouple linked to an alarm that would sound when the tea reached drinking temperature.
-- hazel, Jul 29 2006

makes sense to me. although one of the reasons you don't want to drink tea in india is due to it usually having milk, and indian milk being considerably less pasteurized on average.
-- tcarson, Jul 29 2006

How about a tripod positioned over the tea cup, with a sensor on the apex that measures heat given off of the surface of the tea. The tripod is solar powered and wireless bluetooth enabled. When the sensor reads below a certain level, a proboscus with an Archimedean screw in it it inserted into your mug. The screw it turned, the tea sucked up into the storage container. It is at this point that the tripod drops its ballast and the helium tanks take effect, lifting it into the sky. Its hidden stirling motors, powered by the remaining heat within the tea, pop out from either side and spin propellors. A GPS system guides it to a national agency, where they reheat the tea and mail it to you in 4-6 weeks.

How's that for overengineered?
-- jellydoughnut, Aug 04 2006

I like this but hazel, hazel, don't leave your tea at all. to get the best from your tea, start sipping from the first moment and keep sipping...until it reaches *your* optimum temperature and then consume in one go.
-- po, Aug 05 2006

simplest way is to cover the teacup with temperature sensitive material, the one that changes color with temp. We can calibrate it as red=too hot, green=ok, black=too cold or room temp
-- vmaldia, Aug 05 2006

But the problem is forgetting about one's tea, not not knowing its temperature. A heat-senitive device would still need an alarm.
-- jellydoughnut, Aug 05 2006

As long as the alarm is of the decibel and sound quality of a decent foghorn, I would be please to have this contraption. I'm so tired of little beeps going on all time. Can't hear most of them anyway... damn little beeps.. I need my tea.
-- NotTheSharpestSpoon, Aug 05 2006

Or you could have the alarm so loud and the teacup geometry so precise that the alarm sound actually reheats the tea to the acceptable temperature. This could be cyclic like a fridge thermostat, so that the intermittent alarm goes off until you switch it off, or drink the tea.

You could fine-tune it to +/- 1 degree, or whatever, depending on how much you value your hearing.
-- Custardguts, Aug 07 2006

//simplest way is to cover the teacup with temperature sensitive material//

The problem is that if it's a visual stimulus, I'm going to miss it. The mug on my desk should be enough to remind me that there is tea waiting to be drunk. It has to have an audible component.

[po] I'm afraid that the asbestos qualities which my fingers possess thanks to time spent in the lab never extended to my mouth. I'm a big wuss in that regard. Now I've moved to a desk job my fingertips are growing back too :-(
-- hazel, Aug 22 2006

//have the alarm so loud and the teacup geometry so precise that the alarm sound actually reheats the tea to the acceptable temperature//

I'm not sure that reheated tea is a good thing - I'm not convinced it woul taste too good
-- hazel, Aug 22 2006

I've often thought there must be an ideal shape for a tea mug, to maintain it's temperature in the optimum drinkable range for the longest time. In fact I think I wrote something about it on X - thought it'd make a good subject for some student type to investigate.

And [hazel] you're right about reheated tea - keep it warm for too long and all the milk proteins uncurl and then it tastes funny. That's why you should keep the milk separate if you have your tea in a thermos.

Having said that, if I don't finish my tea at breakfast (a common occurrence) then I will stick it in the microwave when I get home from work ;)
-- moomintroll, Aug 22 2006

A passive solution (a bit underengineered, but actually makeable).... - just make the mug with a phase change material tuned to the 'right' temperature,

Tea should be poured into the cup at higher than the desired temperature. The tea melts the PCM, cooling it rapidly to just the right temperature, where it will remain for quite a while. Thermally insulating the outside of the cup, putting on a removable lid (as is popular in China) and adding in a stirrer would improve performance still further
-- OldBoltonian, Nov 02 2006

(+) for use of the phrase "reader, I married him". A bimetallic strip should do it - one end submerged in the beverage. The other end, as it unbends with the cooling of the tea, pushes aside a small hammer and as it bends past the reach of the hammer, releases it to strike a small bell. This drags you from your reverie/sleep/halfbaking.
-- hippo, Nov 02 2006

This is being half-baked on James May's manlab as I type.
-- hazel, Apr 25 2013

random, halfbakery