AMS Spring 2023

CE Week in NYC: Nuni Takes the Pain Out of Making Tortillas

Inkbit

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There were a lot of interesting gadgets to see on the exhibit floor at CE Week. Squeaking by the techies lining up to see quadcopter racing or for free giveaways, I was able to chance across a few gems. One such product is the Nuni, a novel new toaster that was designed to do one thing, one thing only and do it well: toast tortillas. But why would you need a tortilla toaster? Surely, you could just heat them in a pan. Right? Well, yeah you could, if you don’t mind wasting days of your life just on toasting tortilla. What!?! That’s right, according to Nuni’s inventor, Elliot Benitez, tortilla preparation is a real time waster…

As Benitez explains, “I set out on a tortilla toasting journey several years ago in an effort to help make my Mom’s life easier. Growing up in a Mexican household you eat tortillas almost every day. The problem was that my Ma [cue Chicago accent] spent most of her time preparing tortillas over a comal, when she should have been enjoying her meal. By determining the amount of time it takes to warm a tortilla, I was able to calculate my mother had spent 60 days over the past 20 years warming batches of tortillas for our family. This loss of time has become the catalyst for the Nuni Toaster.”

60 days? That’s crazy town. Benitez, not being an engineer himself, formed an impressive team around him to bring the Nuni Toaster to life. He knew that he was on to something because every Mexican family he knows eats tortillas. Just think of all the time that could be saved if there was an automatic way to prepare a tortilla. Benitez and his team decided that they could reduce preparation time and create a better tasting taco by warming a tortilla on both sides at the same time.

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“This feature eliminates the need to flip a tortilla ever again, ” says Benitez, “The rotating-oven applies heat to both sides of each tortilla and really does give it a nice hot and crispy texture.”

The Nuni will accommodate any commercial 6-inch or smaller tortilla that you can find at the store, whether it is made from corn, flour or wheat. While the current version of the Nuni is meant for home use and can heat up to 6 tortillas at a time, Benitez envisions a commercial unit that would be able to heat 8 or more tortillas at time. I’m sure there’d be a lot of restaurants interested in the technology.

But Nuni isn’t just a toaster. What intrigued me most about the little tortilla toaster was its human-centric modern design. There’s no buttons on the Nuni, just one simple dial for selecting heating time. Using the toaster is easy as pie. Just insert up to 6 tortillas, rotate the front of the toaster up to begin toasting, and in less than 60 seconds rotate it down to enjoy your hot, crispy tortillas. It also has an automatic shutoff, so you don’t have to stand around for a whole minute waiting for your tortillas (I mean we’re trying to save time). If you do walk away the device will shut off but keep all your tortillas warm. Pretty sweet.

Benitez had the 3D printed prototype at the Nuni booth, and it was a very nice FDM print. There were a few retail versions boxed up as well. A lot of thought went into the design of the toaster and Benitez states that the Nuni’s parallel heating elements were modeled after the grille of the classic 1957 Bel Air.

The Nuni Toaster is available for pre-order through its Indiegogo campaign and was 1 of 5 companies chosen by Indiegogo to be showcased at CE Week. Early bird rewards for white Nuni Toasters are still available for $69 (plus shipping), while aqua blue, jet black, maize yellow, and sangria red toasters are available for $79 (plus shipping). And what’s in the future for Nuni? Benitez doesn’t want to see other crispy breads, like papadums, left out of the toaster revolution. There’ll be a toaster made for them, too. I see a bright future for this little device and one day thanks to Nuni we may all say, “That was as easy as tortilla!”

See the Nuni Toaster in action below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFb9q0yzxzQ

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