(UPDATE: Pricing information for the Steampunk machines was added below in bold.)
In addition to being a gadget geek, I also pride myself on my knowledge of quality coffee and the ability to brew a mean pour-over, using a ceramic Bonmac dripper, my Hario Buono kettle, a burr grinder and, of course, a freshly-roasted bean. (I just finished the last sip of a beautiful cup of George Howell's Ethiopian Deri Kochoha. Mmmmm.)
If you have no idea what any of these last few things are, you're probably satisfied with a cup of Keurig-brewed coffee, and you might just want to stop reading this post right now. If, however, you're suddenly craving a freshly-poured cup of java, this funky "Steampunk" coffee machine from Salt Lake City's Alpha Dominche is worth a look.
The company's coffee machines are controlled via a connected Nexus 7 tablet, running Google's Android OS, and a custom Android app called "MicherApp." The Steampunks are designed for commercial use, and they're quite stunning in their almost Apple-like design. In fact, an iPad mini would look more at home than a Nexus 7.
The MicherApp Android software lets you control an impressive array of settings, including brew time, water temperature, pre infusion and agitation. You can also save specific settings and "recipes" so you can quickly duplicate them in the future. And recipes can be uploaded to an online service and shared with other Steampunk baristas.
I couldn't find any pricing information on the company's website, but I'm sure the machines, which are available in two-cup and four-cup configurations, don't come cheap. I've reached out for details, and I'll update this post with specifics if I can. The machines cost "between $11,900 to $16,500 depending on the model," according to a spokesperson for Alpha Dominche.
Instead of describing the actual brew process, I'll let you check out the video below. I'm intrigued, and I'd love to give the Steampunk a try. It does seem like the machine might actually add some time to what is already a lengthy manual process, though. So the Steampunk could prove to be an expensive novelty. I also know that cleanliness is of the utmost importance when brewing a great cup of coffee, and it could be a challenge to keep the Steampunk clean after constant daily use.
A handful of U.S. coffee shops use Steampunks, according to Alpha Dominche's website, including shops in New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Denver and Washington, D.C. (Check out a map of locations here.)
You can find more information on Alpha Dominche and its Steampunk machines on the company's website. If you've ever consumed a cup poured from a Steampunk, please share your thoughts below.