LONDON – The old idiom that something’s as useful as a chocolate teapot may have to be rewritten.
A team of scientists and engineers have created a fully-functioning chocolate teapot that can brew tea for two minutes without completely melting.
Dark chocolate, a silicone mould and layers of the mixture were the key ingredients in enabling the teapot able to hold hot tea.
The efforts of master chocolatier, John Costello, and his team from the Nestle Product Technology Centre (PTC), in York, were filmed for a forthcoming episode of BBC 1’s The One Show.
The scientists settled on using dark chocolate with 65 per cent chocolate solids, due to its fat content.
Dark chocolate contains more cocoa powder than its milk equivalent and takes longer to melt because milk and fats melt at a lower temperature.
Mr Costello explained in a video that dark chocolate ‘holds better and creates a film better’, meaning that it was best suited for the challenge of creating a teapot capable of letting tea brew for two minutes before pouring.
The scientists built up a series of layers using a silicon mould to create the teapot in a process that took around two hours – after some six weeks of careful planning and calculations.
Its design includes a large hole for the lid because the larger the diameter of the hole, the thinner the chocolate walls of the teapot need to be.
The spout was made with an incredibly thin hole running through the chunky chocolate to stop it from melting completely when the tea was poured.
‘What we found is that when we first started to look at it, we’d probably end up with chocolate tea,’ Mr Costello said.
‘Interestingly, if you pour the water in a certain way and you don’t stir inside, and you just let it settle, and let it brew like you would normally brew a cup of tea, and just let it stand for a little while – when you pour it, what happens is that the chocolate on the inside of the shell melts but doesn’t move anywhere.
‘It stays where it is. So you get a very, very small amount of residue coming up to the top.’
Tasting the final brew, the team concluded it was a good cup of tea with a slight hint of chocolate.