"Coffee comes in five descending stages: Coffee, Java, Jamoke, Joe, and Carbon Remover."
April 7, 2012 8:03 AM   Subscribe

The Steampunk (Alpha Dominche): A Curious Coffee Contrapulation: "With just a few quick taps on the touch screen, the barista customizes the STEAMPUNK brewing process to optimize the flavor of each beverage. The anticipation then begins. The customer is treated to a dazzling theatrical presentation as the STEAMPUNK’s gleaming glass crucibles fill with swirling steam. The barista then places the ground coffee on the piston and plunges it into the crucible. The grinds whirl and dance as they’re agitated and aerated by the millions of tiny bubbles. At the barista’s command, the liquid coffee is pulled by vacuum through a specially designed ultrafine photo-milled metal filter, and the dark brown elixir streams gracefully into the awaiting cup." [Via] [Alpha Dominche]
posted by Fizz (56 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jazz music sold separately.
posted by Fizz at 8:04 AM on April 7, 2012


The line between Steampunk and Rube Goldberg is a fine one indeed.
posted by tommasz at 8:09 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I realize this is somewhat Pepsi Blue but it is a kind of awesome coffee dispenser. Remove if you feel it is appropriate to do so.
posted by Fizz at 8:12 AM on April 7, 2012


Dude's just sittin' there talkin' in my right ear here.
posted by idiopath at 8:15 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a gorgeous contraption but the mix of coffee wankery, jazz, hipster and business clichés is off-putting. Too many audiences and messages in a single video, I guess.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2012


Someone liked Girl Genius just a little too much.
posted by delfin at 8:18 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Bridges the gap between coffee and tea"... what?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:20 AM on April 7, 2012


Brew crucibles? Ha! Wow, is that really the term?

Such a strange video. Let the Alpha Dominche Blue stay!
posted by barnacles at 8:20 AM on April 7, 2012


I was expecting more brass.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:21 AM on April 7, 2012


Faster I say! You confabulous coffee contraption I demand you produce this beverage faster! I tell you not even Mesmer could arouse me this morning! I must have my coffee forthwith!
posted by fuq at 8:23 AM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was expecting better coffee.
posted by erniepan at 8:24 AM on April 7, 2012


I was expecting better jazz.
posted by Fizz at 8:27 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


For being described as "steampunk", I was expecting a shitload more gears.
posted by barnacles at 8:30 AM on April 7, 2012


GEARS!! MORE GEARS!

NO NO NO DON'T TRY TO THINK ABOUT IT

JUST ELMER'S GLUES THOSE FUCKERS ON

ahhhhh yeahhhhhh
posted by barnacles at 8:30 AM on April 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Bridges the gap between coffee and tea"... what?

Don't cross the streams!
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on April 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


For being described as "steampunk", I was expecting a shitload more gears.


In order for something to be considered "steampunk", does it necessitate gears?
posted by Fizz at 8:34 AM on April 7, 2012


Maybe some glowsticks or crystals as well, to "power" it.
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on April 7, 2012


Aspiration to excellent coffee is of course a fine ideal, and we cannot help feeling a certain respect for the unrelenting use of brobdingnagian superlatives that this gentleman employs in the advertisement of his fine Goldbergian contraption.
posted by Schadenfreude at 8:38 AM on April 7, 2012


"Contrapulation"? Really?
posted by Decani at 8:40 AM on April 7, 2012


"Bridges the gap between coffee and tea"... what?

Don't cross the streams!


"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." --Abraham Lincoln
posted by zardoz at 8:42 AM on April 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can we all just cool it with steampunk shit? Also, zombie shit.
posted by davebush at 8:49 AM on April 7, 2012


/glues cog to zombie.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on April 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


For being described as "steampunk", I was expecting a shitload more gears.

In order for something to be considered "steampunk", does it necessitate gears?


It necessitates those silly goggles, hence is disqualified.
posted by scratch at 8:55 AM on April 7, 2012


I like this usage of that song better.
posted by 41swans at 8:58 AM on April 7, 2012


So, a Clover you can actually buy?
posted by scruss at 8:59 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


So basically this is what happens when a Clover and a siphon love each other very, very much.

If they have any talent at marketing whatsoever, they'll make buckets of money from the people that tantrumed when Starbucks bought Clover.
posted by kavasa at 8:59 AM on April 7, 2012


"Bridges the gap between coffee and tea"... what?

Don't cross the streams!


Total protonic reversal.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:00 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


For something described as 'steampunk', I was disappointed at the digital, not analog, guages.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:03 AM on April 7, 2012


WALTER THEY DON'T HAVE SANKA. WHAT? JUST A MUFFIN?
posted by jimmythefish at 9:03 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


165? Too hot for green teas.
posted by curious nu at 9:20 AM on April 7, 2012


Fizz: I was expecting better jazz.

Heathen! Blasphemer!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:27 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys, is this real? I thought the film was funny, but it turns out it's not a pisstake? Somebody made that film seriously?
posted by Jehan at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Steampunk? Needs more dissolved lead.

Good coffee is simple. This isn't. It combines every complex idea about how to make coffee, just because they think complexity is cool.

The first coffeemaker I ever used was a Chemex cone filter. I didn't like it because the "half-moon" filters tended to break and dump the grounds into the coffee. Now I use a Melita cone filter, slightly modified for the latest thing: pour over. You can buy all sorts of fancy pour over gadgets but you don't need them. What you need is to make your coffee simply, and with close attention to what you're doing.

Lately I hear cafes are dumping their complex (and expensive) infusion machines and doing pour over instead. If you make it well (and it takes practice) you can make the best cup of coffee that anyone can make in any process. And now I wish I had kept my old Chemex beaker, they have better filters now and it is considered the best pour over device. Everything old is new again. But fakey oldtimey steampunk crap is old and tired the moment it's created.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:42 AM on April 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


X-Ref: "Extracts from the Club Diary" by Stross.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:51 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Commercially-brewed tea" sounds so wrong.
And yeah, this thing looks more like a piss-take than a useful thing.
All it seems to be doing is dispensing (specifically-heated) hot water in a fancy way. The rest you could do with four Bodums, or four tea pots
posted by Flashman at 10:05 AM on April 7, 2012


It looks like it doesnt really make tea, but tea made with the unmistakeable flavor of coffee: cofftea, if you would.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:07 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:11 AM on April 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, aesthetically it looks pretty cool, but I stopped caring after the phrase "post-espresso."
posted by m0nm0n at 10:25 AM on April 7, 2012


Looks like an attempt to do vacuum pot style coffee in a commercial setting, though I wonder if the fact that it is air bubbling through instead of steam would make a difference.
posted by sfred at 10:52 AM on April 7, 2012


*hugs Bodum*
posted by Fizz at 11:29 AM on April 7, 2012


barnacles: "Brew crucibles?"

I'm surprised noone's trademarked "Brewcible" yet.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:05 PM on April 7, 2012


From The Callahan Touch by Spider Robinson:
"Hey Jake, what the hell is that?" Tommy Janssen asked, pointing behind me. "It looks like that thing Alec Guinness built in The Man in the White Suit."

"It looks like a stereo makin' love to a soda fountain," Eddie said.

"It looks like something in the Science Museum in Boston," Martin said.

"Someday it will be," I told him. "But not until we're done with it. Tommy, you asked, so the honor is yours." I looked Tommy over, checked my memory, made one small adjustment of a dial, touched three solenoids, and pushed the go-button. There ensued a curious sequence of sounds. The overall effect was indeed vaguely reminiscent of the Guinness-movie gadget Tommy had mentioned. First a brief soft rattling noise. Then for about twenty seconds the softer sounds of a small fan and a tiny turntable. Then another short rattling, slightly louder and higher in pitch than the first. Then a much louder rattling for twelve seconds, followed by a chuff, a huff, and what sounded like someone blowing bubbles in mud. As if cued by that last sound, a small conveyor belt started up at the bottom of the device, entering on the left and exiting at the right, and briefly visible in a cereal-box sized alcove in the center. An oversized mug slid into view, stopped when it was centered in the alcove—just in time to catch the dark fluid that began to drip from above.

Nostrils flared all along the bar. "Holy shit," Eddie breathed. "It's—"

"—the Ultimate Coffee Machine," I agreed. "Notice how fast it's dripping. The brewing module is mildly pressurized. Not enough for espresso, but enough to speed things up. Watch, now."

The mug had tilled enough for its weight to restart the conveyor belt. The mug slid to the right and disappeared into the machine again ... reemerged at its right side with a lumpy white hat on. I picked up the mug and handed it to Tommy. He stared at it, looked around at the rest of us, and took a tentative sip. Then he took a big gulp. Then he drained the mug, and looked up at me with an oddly stricken expression. He groped for words. What he finally came up with was, "For this Blessing, much thanks." And then his features relaxed into a blissful grin. "That was the best goddam Irish Coffee I ever drank in my life."

The Doc broke the silence that ensued. "Jake, what did we just see?"

"The apotheosis of technological civilization," I said. "At least until someone invents a good sex robot. Watch." I leaned over and reset the parameters, pushed the go-button again. I pointed with my index finger to the source of the first rattling sound. "That's the raw coffee beans dropping into the roaster. Wet-processed. Hear that fan? Microwave dry-roasting. Default setting is American roast, but I can do anything from pale to Italian. Now the roasted beans are dropping into the grinder—hear it? Ground, not chopped: a chopper heats them too much too soon. Now the grinder's cleaning itself. And there's the water entering the brewing chamber at just the right temperature and pressure—and there's the pre-heated mug, just in time." A second mug of coffee appeared, filled, and whisked away to be adulterated to taste. It too emerged snow-capped with whipped cream, and I handed it to the Doc. He took a sip—then held it away from him and gaped at it.

"Yours isn't brewed as strong as Tommy's," I said, "and I gave you a darker roast, and you've got half as much sugar, just the way you like it."

"God's Blessing, indeed," he said reverently, and finished the mug in one long slow savored draught. He licked his lips.

"The machine self-cleans constantly, and when you shut it down for the night it autoclaves itself." I took the empty mugs back from Tommy and the Doc, and set them down to the left of the machine, upside down, on a turntable the size of an extra large pizza, speckled with draining holes. The mugs' weight activated it: it delivered them both onto the conveyor belt where it entered the machine at the lower left. "It washes the mugs, dries them, and flips them rightside up." I opened the right-side access and showed them the hoppers for cream and sugar and the rack that held a quart of the Black Bush upside down. "I can vary the roast, the brew, and the amounts of booze, sugar, cream or whipped cream. It whips its own cream. I feed it with raw beans and additives before I open, and for the rest of the night all I have to do is put dirty cups in this side and take full ones out this side. The inventor says it's fully automatic, but actually you have to push this button here."
posted by scalefree at 12:24 PM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


The best coffee is in memories:
1. Campfire.
2. Canteen cup. (metal)
3. Bandana.
4. Pre-ground Colombian or San Francisco roast, stored in an airless pound baggie.
5. Filtered water from a high mountain stream.
6. Two-quart stoneware coffee pot.

That's all your need. The rest is...
posted by mule98J at 12:43 PM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


How can anything with a segmented LCD display be *steampunk*. It is lacking in analog dial gauges.
posted by nickggully at 12:45 PM on April 7, 2012


charlie don't surf - yes, pour over is popular, but siphons are also fun, and it looks like that's what this is, just largely automatic. In a way that sort of misses the point of the siphon, which is to put on a show if you've got guests over.

A local place has some rarely used siphons, and I asked for them to use them once for me when it wasn't too busy. It was fun to watch, and it did make a great cup of coffee without running it through a filter and without having any of the sediment that I tend to get in my press at home (I don't get a ton, but some).

It seems like this thing is aiming at coffee bars, as one of the things it advertises is speed of brewing. If it makes a good cup as faster or faster than the pour over without nearly the setup or bar space needed to do a high volume, morning rush pour over business, it might be a decent gadget.

It would clearly be insane to buy one for your home, but then that's true of Clovers as well. Doesn't stop me from wishing I had a few grand just lying around I could drop on one.
posted by kavasa at 2:29 PM on April 7, 2012


also, mule98, if you really like good coffee, it's worth investing in a home burr grinder and grinding at home. Pre-ground coffee - no matter how air-tight the bag - loses flavor over time.

The ideal is locally roasted coffee which you can buy within a day or two of roasting and drink your way through within a week or so. That's why smaller bags of coffee bean are getting popular - it's tough to drink a full pound of coffee bean in less than like a week and a half to two weeks.
posted by kavasa at 2:32 PM on April 7, 2012


My thought too nickggully— or at least some nixie tubes (I know they're not actually from the right era) or engraved wheels-and-pointers.
posted by hattifattener at 3:14 PM on April 7, 2012


It looks like a pain in the ass to use: the plunger rod makes it finicky to add coffee or tea to the brew crucibles; the crucibles themselves are too narrow and tall to be cleaned easily; the machine itself is huge, rivalling an espresso machine.

It'll fail the same way the Bunn Trifecta did.

Coffee shops will prefer to use pour over, chemex, aeropresses (or all three!) because they are cheaper, more redundant and arguably less esoteric to the customer, who can see that it's not all unicorns and pixie dust that make the coffee they brew delicious when the barista is using the exact same equipment they have at home - save for a massive grinder.

The business speak was off-putting as well.
posted by flippant at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2012


It would clearly be insane to buy one for your home, but then that's true of Clovers as well. Doesn't stop me from wishing I had a few grand just lying around I could drop on one.

LOL when my Mom's espresso bar went out of business, she gave the huge bronze plated commercial espresso machine to my sister. It was a big multi-station Gaggia machine, I vaguely recall it cost over $3k, and that was in the late 70s so that was serious money. But my sister eventually sold it, it was too hard to maintain, and obviously overkill for a home kitchen.

I think I have tasted every coffee making method known to man, except the new Clover type infusion machines, since there are none in my area. The stupidest method was this type of ice water infusion machine, it made mediocre iced coffee. My sister swears by Bodum presses, but one speck of coffee grounds is a deal breaker. I liked the Silex siphon but I am clumsy so I hate cleaning glass coffeemakers. So my favorites are still the basic Melita cone (with a slightly bored out drain hole for proper pour over flow) and the Bialetti stovetop 3 cup espresso maker. But the Bialetti machines scare the hell out of me, I'm always afraid it will explode.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:09 PM on April 7, 2012


Of course being British it's a spoon of nescafe in a mug then turn the kettle on... anything else is dangerously European. But don't even try an sell me on something that involves tea without a teapot... because wars have started over less.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:21 AM on April 8, 2012


I'm surprised noone's trademarked "Brewcible" yet.

Bros before brewcibles, dude.

(I'm so far along in my coffee dependency, if it doesn't make at least twelve cups at a time it's useless to me.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:04 AM on April 8, 2012


I don't see how this is better or faster than a straight old Espresso Machine. And I disagree on Pour Over Coffee Filters they just can't make a strong enough coffee.
posted by mary8nne at 10:43 AM on April 8, 2012


I don't see how this is better or faster than a straight old Espresso Machine. And I disagree on Pour Over Coffee Filters they just can't make a strong enough coffee.

You're doing it wrong. That's my favorite part of a good pour over, you can make it stronger without increasing bitterness. You don't want to over-extract, if you want it stronger you just use more coffee grounds. The idea of "don't drown the grounds" works, if you keep the grounds concentrated and not excessively diluted by water, it extracts very well. But some pour over equipment drains too fast. For example, some people like the metal mesh cone filters, but they let the water drain before it extracts enough.

If you need something stronger, get a Bialetti Moka Express. A real 1930s design like that should be steampunk enough for anyone.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:28 AM on April 8, 2012


kavasa: it's tough to drink a full pound of coffee bean in less than like a week and a half to two weeks.

Speak for yourself...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Charlie Don't..

I am currently into a small french press actually - but I use a lot of coffee grounds (and I don't mind a little grit). I don't like paper filters at all as they seem to steal the aroma and depth from the coffee which make sense scientifically as they tend to filter out the oil and most aroma molecules are soluble in oil rather than water.

My partner uses a Moka Pot style machine and I used to in University but I find they are a bit too finicky and tend to burn the coffee. And actually the French Press just makes a better tasting cup.

But my first choice is always a well made Espresso. I have a Rancilio Silva but its in storage at the moment as i'm travelling around a lot.
posted by mary8nne at 5:45 AM on April 13, 2012


I think you can preserve more of the essential oils by a standard pour over method, you prewash the paper filters in boiling water. I noticed that if you use a dry filter, the oils tend to wick into the paper fiber and upwards, like paper chromatography. I think the initial contact of oils on dry paper tends to create a barrier to carrying other oils into the brewed coffee. But this is just my theory, and there are an awful lot of coffee theories.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:46 AM on April 13, 2012


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