Today is National Tea Day and as usual on such occasions, Alexa has been in touch to let us know that we could all make better cups of tea if only we would ask her.
Seriously though, Alexa's repertoire does include being able to answer various tea-related questions as well as help you make the perfect cup of tea with the help of various skills and, also, some key items of hardware, too.
You can ask Alexa if she likes tea: “Alexa, do you like tea?” (somewhat pointlessly given, you, know, that's she's not a real person).
You can also ask Alexa how you make tea: “Alexa, how do I make a cup of tea?” This step-by-step instructional for complete tea novices also includes the answer to one of life's great issues; do you put the milk in before or after the tea? (Coming this summer: Alexa also tells you whether it's jam or cream first on the scone. We jest, but...)
Check out these Alexa tea skills
With the Tea Steeper Skill, you're able to learn the perfect amount of time each specific type of tea should be brewed for.
Just ask “Alexa, open the Tea Steeper skill” and then “make a cup of Green Tea”. Brews available include white, green, black, oolong, and herbal.
Alexa will then play you some relaxing teatastic music that will last the perfect amount of brewing time.
Of course, if you know how long you want to time your tea for, just ask Alexa to set a timer in the usual way. Check out Amazon Echo tips and tricks: The ultimate guide to Alexa
There's also a Tea Rota skill that you can use in an office (or at home if you really want to be that organised!). It's the ideal way to make "that guy" who never makes the tea to actually make the tea.
Just say “Alexa, ask Tea Rota whose turn it is to make tea” and Alexa will nominate the next person on the list. Admittedly this isn't that useful if Jo is always out of the office on Wednesdays or Helen is currently in a meeting.
You can add people into the list easily though; just ask, “Alexa, ask Tea Rota to add [name] to the list of teamakers” and she’ll add to the list.
Making tea with smart appliances and Dash
Like it our not, all our appliances are getting smarter. Amazon Dash buttons (which, coincidentally, you can get to order Yorkshire Tea or teas from the English Tea Shop) are one thing, but more and more appliances are connecting to the internet for diagnostics as well as enabling you to switch them on and configure them remotely.
The Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) enables some appliances to order replacement consumables (like dishwasher tablets or washing liquid).
Kettles don't have consumables, of course (well, apart from water, we guess) but more and more kettles are incorporating tech. We've recently tried out the £129 Appkettle that works with IFTTT to integrate with other devices - so theoretically you could have it switch on when you get home if you have a motion sensor or if you use your smartphone's location.
It also works with Alexa - if you have an Appekttle you also have an account which you can then link to the Alexa skill. After that, you can ask Alexa to turn on the kettle.
IFTTT integration means you can also Alexa-ify other kettles, too, not least the £126 Smarter iKettle. These kettles aren't cheap, but the IFTTT skils do enable you to do some pretty crafty things like blink your Hue lights when iKettle has boiled or the crazy boil your iKettle when your baby wakes up.
With smart kettles like these, you can also set them to boil at certain times - altogether more useful or boil to certain temperatures for particular types of tea.
Liked this? Now why not check out Amazon Alexa calling and messaging: What is it, how does it work, and where can you use it?