Sunday, April 27, 2008

State-of-the-Art Geeky Coffee

The coffee-maker pictured above is known as a Japanese siphon bar (see the NY Times website to see a slide-show of the thing in action). It is the only one of its kind in the US, imported for a mere $20,000. Eleven dollar globes of the non-espresso coffee product are apparently all the rage on the San Fransisco hipster-blogger-academe coffee-shop scene. The Times recently reported on this new trend in high-end brewed coffee making. The siphon bar is found at the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. Owner James Freeman explains the concept:

“Does coffee brewed from single-origin beans in a siphon or a Clover taste more yummy than, say, Folgers from a percolator? I believe it does. But it would be hubris to suggest that we’re making better coffee than anyone ever has. My feeling is, there are already enough places where you can get a cinnamon latte and a muffin wrapped in plastic. Why would I want to build another one of those?”

Supposedly this thing makes the greatest cup of coffee known to (wo)man. No less than Starbucks has bought the rights to similar technology (the mystical "Clover"). I'll admit, my curiosity has been aroused. But I'm sure as hell not going to pay that kind of cash for a taste (not to mention the plane ticket). So I fired up the YouTube and did a little commercial espionage (see video clip and watch the brewing process in action). Turns out these guys are a bunch of scientist wannabes! I figure it'd be pretty easy to rig one up with a bunsen burner, a couple of flasks, a Buchner funnel and a vacuum line. All easily found within your standard biomedical research lab...except for the Yo-Yo stunt man...


5 comments:

Anne Blythe said...

Exactly! What does that globe have that makes it 20,000$?

PS: Did you try using the lab equipment?

Bayman said...

Nope. If anyone else has or does, let us hear about it! (And send me a $20,000 cheque for patent violation. JK)

Also to our distinguished colleagues in the bay area (San Fran, not TheBay(TM)) check this place out and let us know if the coffee lives up to the hype. My guess, it's no better than coffee from a $20 french press/Bodum (which does make some great coffee), but it's all about theatrics...

The Doc said...

It's very pretty, and it's likely to have quite a bit of caffeine (since caffeine isn't very soluble, and leaving the grounds to stew in hot water for a few minutes is likely to enhance extraction).

Also, the reverse suction part might well remove some volitile chemicals which may contribute to some flavours (both good and/or bad).

Besides, apparently, it's $11 for four cups... compared with $2.50 for an espresso cup of coffee isn't too bad.

Bayman said...

The closest thing Starbucks is selling is their brewed coffee. A Venti is actually 5 cups (20 fl oz) and goes for about $3. So it's cheaper. But you don't get the dessert thrown in. Those looks pretty good.

Anonymous said...

looks SOME good bayman . . .