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Eat & Drink » Drink

Alpha Dominche

SLC's Steampunk coffee machine


Khristian Bombeck
  • Khristian Bombeck

I appreciate good coffee, but I’ll also drink swill. Thank goodness for Khristian Bombeck. He is the inventor of the Steampunk, a new commercial coffee-brewing apparatus being manufactured here in Salt Lake City and going on sale to coffee shops and restaurants later this summer. He’s here to save me and my ilk from ourselves.

Referring to his company, Alpha Dominche, Bombeck says, “We are all about making great coffee accessible to everyone.” And this guy knows his stuff.

Bombeck spent 10 years in Bozeman, Mont., running INTL Coffee Bar & Organic Roastery. It was there that he discovered his professional destiny. According to Bombeck, the “gold standard of coffee brewing” is a process called siphon brewing. Like most things that produce superior quality in our lives, siphon brewing is also time-consuming and difficult. A single cup of admittedly excellent coffee can take upward of 15 minutes to brew, and that’s not including cleanup. Because this is America, Bombeck figured there must be a better way.

He started tinkering in his garage—a tired entrepreneurial trope, to be sure, but nonetheless true. He took apart some old industrial espresso machines, and found that by incorporating the steam from a high-temperature boiler into the siphon-brewing process, he could cut that 15-minute brew time down to almost 30 seconds without losing any of the flavor profile. In his words, he “put a little nitro in it.” He may or may not have shouted “Eureka!” at the end of a strident rock-ballad montage.

The resulting Steampunk coffee machine garnered him and co-designer Tymer Tilton a Best New Product award at the 2012 Specialty Coffee Association of America convention, the premier annual conference and trade show in the coffee world. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing this magic machine at the corner coffee shop soon. Whether we know it or not, we could all use a little more refinement in our lives.