I’ve never used one myself although I do like the sound of it. However, I’m not too clear on the mechanics. Do you leave the milk in your cup overnight? In a thermos? Replace your bedside table with a mini-fridge?
In any case, the appliance slowly fell out of popular use, although it turns out that you can still buy a vintage-style teasmade from Swan. It has an alarm clock and light and 600ml capacity for boiling water in the teapot provided. It’s available for £55 from Amazon UK and AO.com.
I’d consider getting one, except that I’m a coffee drinker – especially in the mornings. And that brings us back to the main point.
The Barisieur came out of a final year university design project by Josh Renouf, now Creative Director and CEO of Joy Resolve, which makes and markets the gadget. His brief was to come up with an attractive product that filled a gap in the market. His design was inspired by the resurgence of retro tech like record players, and after winning a university award for his invention, he raised money via crowdfunding and was able to get the Barisieur into production.
Like a teasmade, the Barisieur is an alarm clock that’ll wake you up with a hot drink. It’s primarily designed to brew coffee but also works with loose leaf tea.
The night before, you add water to the beaker and ground coffee to the steel filter and set the alarm. When the alarm goes off the next day, it’ll begin to brew your coffee, using a smart induction coil heater that boils the water to an ideal 94°C in three minutes.
In fact, you can even set it to brew 5 minutes before your alarm is due to go off, or up to 10 minutes afterwards.
It’s essentially a pour-over coffee maker with a delay timer. This means that the coffee you’ll get will be filter, which is lighter and more delicate than espresso.
Belying its retro appearance, there’s some very nice tech embedded in the design. The milk is kept cool in a refrigerated well (take that, teasmade!) that’s just large enough to hold a 25ml container. It’ll keep it at 3-5°C overnight. The compartment uses a Peltier cooler – a solid-state refrigeration system. But it’s not on all the time. It’s only when an infrared sensor detects milk in the well that the refrigerator is engaged.
The digital clock will dim in response to a change in ambient light, so when you switch out the lights, it won’t disturb your sleep.
There’s also a USB charging port for your phone. If you prefer, you can buy a compatible wireless charging plate with a woodgrain finish. Coffee and your phone: what more do you need beside your bed?
If you’re thinking that cleaning it looks like a faff, the wooden tray lifts off the base so you can take everything out to the kitchen. The vessels are dishwasher safe as well.
I’ve only been able to find one criticism of the device. There’s a neat little drawer that houses a coffee scoop and has space for the coffee itself. But it’s not airtight, so you shouldn't store your ground coffee in there if you’d like it to stay fresh.
The Barisieur measures 30cm by 30cm and is available in white and blond wood or black and walnut. It’s available from a number of retailers and pricing depends on the site.
That's the other snag. This covetable gadget is not nearly as budget-friendly as a teasmade.
The best price we found is on Bombinate, which is selling it for £345. Iamfy has it for £365. The Wallpaper Store is selling it for £395. You can also get it via Amazon in the US, but it’ll cost you £414.71 plus delivery if you live in the UK.
If you're interested in a slightly more conventional coffee maker, have a look at our round-up of the best coffee makers we've tested.