Revolutionising in-home tea brewing with Unilever

Unilever, the number one global tea brand, is passionate about delivering quality to its customers. Seeking to innovate in the realm of in-home brewing, Unilever aimed to merge tradition with technology, crafting a brewing machine that would allow customers to experience their teas at their very best.

The Challenge

Unilever wanted to provide an optimal brewing experience for over 30 T.O by Lipton™ blends. The goal was to create a capsule-based tea machine that could identify and adapt to the specific brewing needs of each blend, ensuring an unparalleled tea experience for the consumer. 

To bring this vision to life, Unilever needed a partner with expertise in electronics, mechatronics, and high-volume production, who could set up a new factory specifically equipped for the production of beverage machines.




Mick van Ettinger, former EVP Global Beverages of Unilever, said:


"As the number one global tea manufacturer, finding the right partner for industrialisation and manufacturing was key for our move into in-home capsule-based tea machines. ESCATEC’s expertise in electronics, dedication to quality and one team approach made them a perfect partner for this revolutionary move for Unilever and Lipton."

The Solution

ESCATEC’s considerable expertise in household brewing machines and global footprint played a pivotal role in the success of this project.

The approach was multi-faceted:

  • Design industrialisation: ESCATEC took Unilever’s initial design and refined it for high-volume production, ensuring that the machine would be both efficient and reliable.

  • Factory setup: Recognising the unique requirements of this project, ESCATEC established a new factory in Malaysia. The facility was specifically equipped for beverage machine production and is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) compliant.

  • Innovation in brewing: The tea-brewing machine was embedded with the trademarked Air Movement Infusion™ process. This allows tea leaves to move freely around the brewing chamber to ensure the maximum flavour is able to develop.

  • Collaborative effort: ESCATEC was able to lean on its global footprint to deliver on this project. The industrialisation and design for manufacture was done in ESCATEC’s Swiss facility, in close collaboration with Unilever R&D at Colworth Science Park, UK.




Many of our customers are based in Europe and, having a base of operations in the geographical heart of Europe enables us to rapidly progress projects. Our team in Switzerland worked closely with our Malaysian team to ensure a seamless transfer to mass production in ESCATEC’s Malaysian factory.

Dr. Thomas Dekorsy, ESCATEC’s former General Manager Switzerland

The Results

The culmination of the partnership between ESCATEC and Unilever was the launch of the T.O by Lipton™ capsule-based tea machine. The machine identifies the blend within each capsule and determines the corresponding optimum brewing requirements accordingly.

Feedback from the market was overwhelmingly positive. Customers appreciated the blend-specific brewing, and Unilever was particularly impressed with the dedication and expertise that ESCATEC brought to the table. This multimillion Euro project wasn't just about creating a product; it was about redefining the tea-drinking experience.




Mick van Ettinger, former EVP Global Beverages of Unilever, said:


"The optimal brewing conditions vary from tea to tea. We at Lipton™ have always been passionate about quality and we want our customers to experience their teas at their very best. T.O by Lipton™ is the perfect way to do this - releasing the flavours and aromas by adjusting the brewing time and temperature for each different type of tea. We are very impressed with the high level of customer service that ESCATEC has provided us with."