We've been hearing about smart kichens since the 1950s, but they really do seem to finally be arriving thanks to the Internet of Things. Soon we'll all have appliances that talk to each other, but before we invest in full-fledge kitchen makeovers, there are smaller high-tech kitchen gadgets available that can make big differences in how we prepare food and beverages.
This is not the kitchen of the future we're talking about in this article.
We found nine innovative products--some connected, some simply futuristic in concept--to help you stay healthier, cook faster, and eat with more pleasure until you have a robotic kitchen to do all the work for you.
If you or your children have trouble swallowing vitamins — or you're concerned about the amount of sugar in easy-to-chew gummy vitamins — consider Tespo. With a push of a button, this Keurig-style liquid vitamin-maker machine mixes water and with one serving of vitamin powder into the dispenser cup.
However, unlike your single-serve coffee machine, each fully recyclable Tespo disc holds a month worth of vitamin servings, and the machine tracks how many servings you've used. Plus, those concerned with the amount of fillers and inactive ingredients typically found in pill-form vitamins will appreciate that Tespo liquid vitamins also alleviate that worry.
There are currently six vitamin formulas available, including varieties for men, women, and children. The Tespo Dispenser costs $129 and the Tespo Discs costs $35 per disc (or save $5 if you choose the "Auto Ship" option).
Velv Wine Oxygenator
More effective than aerators and faster than decanters, the Velv Wine Oxygenator opens the aroma, softens the mouthfeel, and reveals the true flavor of your wine in mere minutes. Seriously. By gently circulating 99.5% pure oxygen into the bottle, red wine can reach its peak flavor in 5-7 minutes and white wine in 3-5 minutes.
If you're into chemistry, you'll appreciate this: when oxygen reacts with various molecules in the wine, it alters the chemical structure of hydrogen sulfides, breaks down sulfites, and lengthens the molecular chain of tannins. Yes, that's a mouthful — and speaking of mouthfuls, the Oxygenator lets you customize wine preparation for different palates.
The Velv Wine Oxygenator starter kit costs $300 and includes the Oxygenator, one PureOxygen capsule, and a protective case. Each capsule can prepare 5-10 bottles of wine and is available in a 2-pack for $25.
Channel your inner barista with GINA, a new smart coffee-brewing instrument that allows you to experiment with three popular brewing methods: pour-over, immersion, and cold drip. Not sure where to begin? The corresponding GINA app walks you through each step of the coffee-making process — from measuring water and coffee grounds to calculating time — while communicating with the brewer's built-in Bluetooth-connected smart scale.
Unique to GINA is a copper valve in its funnel that allows you to adjust the drop speed for your perfect flow. And the design is pretty high-tech looking, too; choose from polished stainless steel, black, or white.
GINA is available for pre-order on Kickstarter for the early bird price of $145.
Coffee drinkers have Keurig, and now, tea drinkers have Teforia. Described as "the first machine-learning tea infusion device," Teforia is like a single-serve coffee brewer in that it uses pre-packaged (and recyclable!) Sips filled with gourmet tea. But here's the big difference (well, besides the price tag): Teforia "reads" and infuses the Sips according to a tea master's recipes for each particular type of tea, including Oolong, Herb, Black, and Yellow.
How does it do it? With RFID technology incorporated into the machine. The sleek device, crafted by a former XBOX designer, also features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can personalize infusions of any loose-leaf tea using Teforia's companion mobile app.
The Teforia Infuser, available December 1, 2016, will set you back a heart-stopping $1499. But for the serious tea drinker, that perfect cup of tea just might be worth it. Or, better yet, get your rich uncle to buy one for you.
Turns out you don't have to be a professional chef to prepare restaurant-quality food at home. All you need is Nomiku, the smallest and most powerful sous vide device. In case you didn't go to culinary school, sous vide is the near-effortless method of cooking food by placing vacuum-sealed ingredients in a precisely-heated water bath. It's a common technique among high-end restaurants and produces meats, fish, and poultry with exquisite texture, and it's easily done at home with the right gear.
Simply clip the immersion circulator Nomiku to your own pot, set the temperature, drop in your sealed food, and wait for your meal to be cooked for you. Nomiku's Wi-Fi capability allows it to connect to its companion app, Tender, which you can use to search and share recipes and to control your Nomiku remotely — say, from your living room couch while watching your favorite cooking competition show.
Wi-Fi Nomiku, the first wi-fi connected sous vide device, costs $249.99
The activity tracker you've been diligently wearing around your wrist only gives you a partial picture of your overall fitness. If you're trying to improve your overall nutritional and lifestyle habits, consider One X, a handheld biosensing device that instantly measures your skin antioxidant level.
According to One X co-founder Anthony Weil, you're not actually what you eat, but what you absorb, and tracking your antioxidant can give you a better sense of how your body responds to habits such as sleep quality, vitamin consumption, exercise, alcohol, sun exposure, and stress levels. Use the One X app for instant biofeedback and insight, including personalized nutritional and supplemental recommendations to reach your peak antioxidant protection.
The One X biosensor won't ship until May 2017, but you can pre-order it on Indiegogo for $149 while supplies last. After that, it will cost $249.
Partial to iced coffee? Prefer your whisky on the rocks? Speed up your morning routine and start happy hour sooner with Hyperchiller, a high-tech kitchen accessory that quickly cools your beverages with zero dilution. In just one minute, hot coffee can be cooled up to 130-degrees simply by pouring it through the device's multi-chamber design, which exposes it to the equivalent of over 30 large ice cubes while protecting it from dilution inside two layers of food-grade stainless steel.
Hyperchiller holds 12.5oz and can fit directly under a full-size single cup brewer, so coffee drinkers can get their cold caffeine fix quickly. Rinse with water, put back in the freezer, and pull it out later in the evening to chill that bottle of wine you'd like to enjoy with dinner but forgot to put in the refrigerator the night before.
The Hyperchiller retails for a $29.99.
Bonavita Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle
If you're serious about your pour-over coffee or perfectly steeped cup of tea, you know that the precise temperature of the water matters. Instead of waiting for water boiled in a teapot or traditional kettle to cool (to 180- to 212-degrees depending on the tea, or 195- to 205-degrees for coffee), set the Bonavita Digital Variable Gooseneck Kettle to the exact temperature you need. You can adjust the temperature in one-degree increments, and with a 1000-watt heating element, water heats quickly.
But if you're not quite ready to start the process of making the perfect French press, that's ok, too; the kettle will maintain the desired temperature of your water for up to one hour.
The Bonavita Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle is available for $104.99.
There are two different types of home chefs in this world: those who can wing it and those who must follow recipes. If you're one of the latter, you'll appreciate how easy cooking, baking, and cocktail making are with Drop. The iPad-connected smart scale connects wirelessly to the Drop Recipes app, which features hundreds of recipes from partners like Food52 and GoodHouskeeping), to create an interactive cookbook that simplifies the cooking process.
There's no need to measure ingredients, since the iPad-connected scale tells you when to stop pouring. If you're missing an ingredient, the Drop will suggest a substitute. If you're short an ingredient, the Drop will resize the recipe so that everything remains in proportion. For better or for worse, with Drop's connected kitchen scale, "But I don't know how to cook!" is no longer a valid excuse for existing solely on cereal and ramen.
The Drop Scale costs $79.99, and the Drop Recipe app is free to download in the App Store.