Sunday, May 3, 2015

MarketBasket: A $15,000 coffee machine

Barista Angie Chung works the Steampunk machine at La Colombe.
Barista Angie Chung works the Steampunk machine at La Colombe. ED HILLE / Staff Photographer
Barista Angie Chung works the Steampunk machine at La Colombe. Gallery: MarketBasket: A $15,000 coffee machine

La Colombe co-owner Todd Carmichael used to mock competitors for obsessing over "single-origin" coffees (versus blends) and slow, expensive, by-the-cup pour-over brews.

These days, single-origin beans from Kenya to Haiti are a growing percentage of La Colombe sales. And this week, it gets into the brew-to-order game in a big way.

La Colombe's Dilworth Plaza store is one of a handful of cafes in the U.S. debuting the Steampunk, a $15,000 full-immersion machine that allows baristas to simulate drip, French press, or vacuum pot methods.

And the coffee emerges from this sleek battery of pistons and glass tubes in less than two minutes. First impressions? My drip-style cup of Mexican beans was outstanding, with a crisp, clean texture, but a full flavor vivid with dried fruit and cocoa.

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  • Single-origin Steampunk coffee, $3 a cup, La Colombe, 1414 S. Penn Square, 215-977-7770.

    - Craig LaBan

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