How we hooked Alexa up to BrewMe – Sennep's very own office tea app

Sennep Design Lab brewme.uk

Memorising the office tea round order can be challenging, to say the least. In today’s always-on, connected environment there had to be a solution to that age-old conundrum – say hello to the BrewMe tea app!

We had been keen to investigate voice user interfaces (VUI) for a while. 2018 sales of smart speakers in the US topped 90 million, and with Amazon’s 76% market share it made sense to prototype with Alexa to see if she could be a willing tea round assistant.

We connected Alexa to BrewMe, and built out the conversation tree to allow the tea maker to trigger the round as they approach the kettle. Alexa takes the command and pings out an invite to fellow Sennepians over email, text and Slack. Thirsty workers then choose their tea from the comfort of their desks, with all orders collated for the benefit of the tea maker on the kitchen iPad.

Internet-enabled lights also give a visual cue that a new tea round has started, so no-one in a meeting can moan about missing out ;) Taking the system to the logical conclusion, we’ve investigated connecting the kettle to automatically boil, and having BrewMe reorder supplies that run low… At present these are a little out of reach, but it has been fun to try.

Over-engineering? Maybe. Informative? Certainly. BrewMe has become a great testbed for us to explore emerging technologies - knowledge that inevitably feeds back into client projects.

If you fancy using BrewMe in your office or studio you’re welcome to do so – more details are on brewme.uk. It’s free and Alexa is not essential (although a healthy supply of Earl Grey most certainly is!).