The physics of RAIN is simple and the chemistry sublime.
RAIN (reverse atmospheric infusion) is a process that coaxes air from deep within tea leaves under vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum and once displaced, hot water evenly penetrates to the very core of the tea cells releasing volatile oils, plant sugars, and polyphenols. The process works just as well extracting tisanes and the spices and botanicals used for flavoring teas.
Chinese tea masters expend a lot of effort calibrating time and temperature during successive steeps to open the tea leaf to extract the maximum flavor. The process can take 15 minutes. The single chamber BKON Craft Brewer does the same in 60-90 seconds. Repeated cycles insure maximum extraction. There is no need for agitation and minimal exposure to high temperature water.
Up to 750 complex recipes involving temperature, duration, and cycle are stored in memory with additional recipes archived in the Craft Cloud platform, a cloud-based system with an interface that makes brewing tea as simple as playing a song on a smartphone. The only critical calculation is the weight in grams, portioned in advance of the daily rush.
BKON co-founder Dean Vastardis spent several years creating prototypes with his brother Lou before receiving the first patents for RAIN in 2013. The physics is well documented but what makes the process unique is the chemistry of extracting solubles with minimized turbulence and contact time to control flavor extraction. Tannins with their bitter taste, for example, require high temperatures to dissolve. Tannins also add character. Operators working with specific teas can dial-in exactly what they want and leave the rest behind.
The BKON process produces a clean cup characterized by pure flavors with increased umami. Researchers at Tufts University found that RAIN extracts up to 48% more compounds than standard tea steeping methods.
The popularity of iced and natural flavored tea blends poses a challenge generally resolved by limiting the teas on offer. In many instance retailers pre-brew and dispense to meet lunch demand. The BKON process unlocks the retailer’s entire wall of tea to craft made-to-order beverages instead of increased dose, in a fraction of the time.
The BKON Craft Brewer, manufactured with service support and distribution by FRANKE, is built to the standards major QSR retailers expect from their super-auto espresso machines.