We don’t want to come down too hard on taps – they’re easily taken for granted – but they are limited things. If you want a cuppa you need to employ a kettle, and even a normal cold drink can taste crisper with the use of bottled water.
But now both could be redundant thanks to a super-faucet called the HydroTap from Australian outfit Zip Heaters. It looks like an elegant but ordinary kitchen tap, but below the decks is a super-efficient heater that can boil water as it flows and a separate cooler that can chill it to near freezing.
No installation required
HydroTap is the first of its kind in the UK and doesn’t need to be installed next to a sink as it comes with its own drainage. This makes it perfect for a bar or work surface and you can choose whether to go for a model with a heater, cooler and filter, or just go for the boiling option.
The tap itself is the same in each case and simply has a ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ setting. If you’re worried about accidentally washing your hands in boiling water, fear not – there’s a safety setting to prevent your new in-laws from scolding their paws and the top part of the tap is always cool to the touch.
Zip Heaters was the first outfit to come up with a method for instant boiling in 1975, and the heater that’s used here is a rather more refined version. You just press the lever and the water hot enough to make a cuppa is dispensed. The sub-micron filter removes impurities like rust and dirt and you can add a Brita filter to the system too if you want to remove limescale.
It also happens to be a particularly energy efficient solution. Because HydroTap is boiling just enough water to fill your cup or cafetiere, there’s zero waste. And switching from hot to cold is instant, so there’s no need to run the tap until it reaches temperature either. Some energy is used while the tap is in ready mode in anticipation of reboiling, but it powers right down to sleep mode soon after.
It’s a good job the HydroTap has these conscience-pleasing energy saving credentials because a basic model costs around £2000. But it’s an ingenious home gadget and, although it pains us to utter this slightly un-Stuff sentiment, as good as taps come.