Qi Aerista Post-Campaign Update #11

Hello Qi Aerista Supporters!

Here's our regular bi-weekly update to our wonderful backers.

In the past 2 weeks we have conducted more brewing tests with our new Qi Aerista prototype, including our first ever cold brew test with interesting results. We used 15g of Assam CTC black tea per 500mL of room temperature water in our tests. We've made 3 separate brews:  

- Auto cold brew with new prototype for 10 mins  

- Manual steeping with older prototype for 10 mins (add water before tea leaves)  

- Manual steeping with older prototype for 10 mins (add tea leaves before water)

(Top) Cold brew in action. (Bottom) Results of steeping (L & M) vs auto brew with Qi Aerista (R)
(Top) Cold brew in action. (Bottom) Results of steeping (L & M) vs auto brew with Qi Aerista (R)

Visually, the auto cold brew function makes a much stronger brew than the 2 manual steeping attempts. The taste is also much more robust than the other 2.

Another new project development is that we have assembled and tested our new small base at our office, which verified that our new PCBA and firmware work according to our design requirements. While it seems it's just a simple reduction in diameter from 220mm to 180mm on the drawing board, a lot of hard work has gone into the complete redesign in industrial design, mechanical structure, PCBA electronics and firmware to make it work.

Fully assembled and functional Qi Aerista with small base
Fully assembled and functional Qi Aerista with small base

Note that the bottom part of the pot and the small base were sent to a surface treatment company for processing earlier. But things didn't work out at the end, so the parts remain in the original material colour.

Electrical assembly work is much simpler this time, thanks to the newly designed integrated PCBA. Our bigger base required 40 separate electrical wiring connections, whereas our smaller base only needs 14. 

Simplified electrical connections in smaller base (R) vs bigger base (L)
Simplified electrical connections in smaller base (R) vs bigger base (L)

We tested our new base by brewing 3 Yorkshire Gold black tea bags with 500mL of water for 3 minutes. We compared the auto brew function at 95degC with manual steeping at 100degC. As the tea in the cups shows, the auto brew function produces a much stronger tea flavour than just by static steeping. 

Results of auto brew (right) and manual steeping (left), both with Qi Aerista
Results of auto brew (right) and manual steeping (left), both with Qi Aerista

Besides prototype testing, the Qi Aerista team is also taking time to check out this year's spring tea harvest. Our tea specialist Karen is visiting tea-producing regions in China lately with her first stop in Anhui province, home to 3 of the Top 10 most famous Chinese teas. 

Fresh budding tea leaves growing in Anhui, as photographed by Karen in April 2017
Fresh budding tea leaves growing in Anhui, as photographed by Karen in April 2017

You can check out her prelude intro to her Anhui trip and other Qi Aerista blog articles here on Medium:

Over the next 2 weeks we will see:  

- Face-to-face meetings and factory visits with our manufacturing and other partners in southern China to iron out the mass production plan details

- Continued discussions with various other partners in PCBA, app, IoT cloud, logistics and tea supply  

- Last remaining prototype parts coming in for assembly and testing after design adjustments  

- IoT cloud platform integration of our new prototype

- Visit to Fujian province, home of the wulong/oolong tea

Together we are making Qi Aerista a reality!

____________________  

Cheers,  

Rick @ Qi Aerista


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