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New Coffee & Espresso Gear | SCAA Event Portland 2012 | Steampunk, Hey Cafe, Slayer Espresso

Posted on May 7, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith There have been 0 comments

Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer

I didn't get to spend nearly as much time as I wanted on the exhibition show floor this year and admittedly missed perhaps the one machine I wanted to see the most, the Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer (I saw it sitting idle, however, just not in use).  I didn't even get to snap a photo of the Steampunk, so I am using the press release image below:

Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer

Immediately visible are the four brewing chambers, called crucibles, that are clearly designed to give a visual coffee brewing performance to the customer.  These brewing chambers are a combination of both a french-press and coffee siphon. Brewing parameters such as time, water temp, agitation, and steam aeration are programmable, and each program and can be recalled on any crucible. Contained within the beautifully designed body is a whopping 20 liter boiler.

The Steampunk is designed to to automate what is important in the brew cycle while at the same time leaving as much of the process as possible in the hands of the skilled barista to bring out the beauty of each coffee.

Last year a similar machine hit the market to much fanfare and applause, the Bunn Trifecta.  The Trifecta, while lacking the design and visual appeal of the Steampunk (but quite capable of brewing a knockout cup of coffee), has been slow in gaining traction into cafes.   The Steampunk's ability to brew in 4 crucibles at any given time might earn the it a steadfast position on your local coffee bar's counter.

Tested.com posted this discussion with Khristian Bombeck of Alpha Dominche from the SCAA Portland show floor.

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Word on the street is that the Steampunk will appear in Seattle and Portland cafes later this Summer.

 

Hey Cafe Coffee Grinders

Hey Cafe has been producing a coffee grinder, the HC-600, which seems un-ashamedly a Mazzer Super Jolly knock-off.  While in the Hey Cafe booth, the representative seemed to proudly make note of this.  While until the past few years most coffee grinders have been very close in design from a functional standpoint (and most patents have surely expired), the HC-600 treads dangerously close to the intellectual line.

I was, however, pleased to see Hey Cafe's diversion from the knock-off market and their experimention with new grinder designs.  Most notably is the grind adjustment design on the new Titan Dispensing Grinder (not pleased on the aesthetics, however)

Most grinders on the market adjust grind size by moving a stationary upper burr up and down by means of a rotating threaded collar.  The new approach here is to keep the upper burr fixed and use an adjustable bearing to raise and lower the motor shaft, thus changing grind adjustment (note the grind adjustment knob on the lower left of the body in the above pick, as apposed to the usual rotating collar design).

 

Above is a photo of the motor, note the adjustment knob on the bottom (black knob on black background, sorry for the poor photo).

Hey Cafe is also building a new home grinder that may hold some promise.  It looks to be a belt driven unit that dosing is controlled by digital key pad.  We will see if this hits the US market in the next year and if it is a worthy product for our lineup.

The unit is still in the design & prototype phase and only the on/off function was currently programmed.  Here, the design is a bit nicer than some of their other products, but hope the production model is a bit more refined.

 

Slayer Espresso

While not new to the market, this was my first hands on experience with the Slayer Espresso Machine.  Let me say I was not in any way disappointed.

Two Group Slayer Espresso Machine

Speak about innovation in a market that seems to be filled with a race to re-create what the other guy is doing.  While the paddle handles may seem similar to a Synesso or La Marzocco MP Strada, the comparison ends there.  Instead of pursuing the pressure profiling market, the Slayer maintains constant pressure throughout the espresso extraction and varies flow rate by use of a needle valve.  While needle valves are not new in and of themselves, the implementation of them in espresso brewing seems to be.

I was able to pull some absolutely fantastic shots in the few minutes I spent on the Slayer.  I loved the mirror placed behind the drip tray that allows the barista to watch the shot form without stooping over.  See below photo. The attention to detail is phenomenal.

Watching a shot in the barista mirror

While the Slayer has gained notoriety lately for its cost, it might well earn a place on a quality focused espresso bar.  I love the innovation and design of this machine!  Passionate baristas are required, however.


This post was posted in Uncategorized, Review, Espresso Machine Review, Accessory Review, News and was tagged with New Product, #SCAA2012, Slayer Espress, Steampunk, Alpha Dominche, Hey Cafe, First Look

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