Necking a cup of Joe before dashing to work may be part of most people’s weekday routine, but some coffee connoisseurs turn their morning brew into an art form.
From carved wooden brewing contraptions to steampunk masterpieces and hi-tech machines that would leave Tony Stark green with envy, extravagant coffee machines come in limitless shapes and budgets to turn a quick drink into a morning ritual.
We have picked some of the most beautiful and plain weird looking machines to make your coffee extraordinary.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Dutch Lab’s new Akma coffee machine belongs in Mordor, with its dramatic design resembling the Dark Tower in Lord of the Rings. But the gothic-style, steam punk masterpiece is actually an elaborate cold brew coffee machine and its name comes from the Korean word for ‘devil’.
Made primarily from anodised aluminium, the design includes a three-litre glass orb for the water, which is connected to chambers holding 100-150 grams of coffee, via glass tubes and valves. The machine relies on gravity to drip water into the grounds, and the brew is collected in three containers at the base of the tower – after several hours.
The company also makes equally elaborate machines based on famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and even a golden machine drawing based on the space craft and droids of Star Wars.
Price: $5,200 (£3,919) | Buy Dutch Lab Akma
BKON Craft Brewer
If Iron Man had a coffee machine, it would probably be the BKON Craft Brewer. The sleek machine looks like it belongs in a sci-fi film and uses algorithms to make ‘perfect’ coffee in just 90 seconds. The machine uses RAIN technology whereby a vacuum is used to remove trapped air in the coffee and better extract flavours from ‘the deepest layers of cellular structure.’
Users can add extra ingredients to make vanilla coffee, for example, and more complexly flavoured drinks by following pre-programmed recipes. The machine can also be used to make tea, flavoured water and even cocktails, perhaps going some way to justify its formidable price tag.
Price: $13,000 (£9797) | Buy BKON Craft Brewer
It may look like an arty sculpture or a part from a spaceship, but despite its futuristic design, the AltoAir is a very simple coffee ‘machine’. The delicate device is designed to hold a cone of filter paper to make drip coffee, supporting the cone of paper without blocking it. The idea behind the pretty design is that flow is unrestricted and users get consistent extraction every time.
The faff-free stainless steel gadget can be placed directly over a cup so fresh coffee slowly drips in – with the benefit of one less thing to wash up - or over a conical flash for a more stylish set-up.
Price: £35 | Buy AltoAir
If you’re prepared to wait hours for the ultimate iced coffee and enjoy a good ritual, the Alley600 by Coffeega may be for you. Resembling a science experiment and wooden wine bottle, the cold brew drip machine is inspired by flowing water and has a carved bamboo frame and hand-blown glass vessels.
The complex contraption sees users fill the top glass orb with water and fill the ‘coffee tube’ with grounds on top of cloth filter. They then have to fiddle with the device’s two valves to allow water to drip through into the coffee tube and moisten the grounds, and play with the flow to achieve a rate of one drop per second. All in all, from grounds to glass, the process is said to take between four and six hours. Connoisseurs claim the result is deliciously rich and fruity coffee perfect to drink over ice – but you wouldn’t want to be in a hurry!
Price: £395 | Buy Coffeega Alley600
Perfect for popular coffee geeks, the Bodum Pebo will brew eight cups in ten minutes using a gravity-defying method that will mesmerise your mates. It brings the fascinating siphon method, which has become a fixture on the menu boards of hipster coffee joints, to the home. Users have to fill the bottom glass chamber with water and put coffee in the top.
The fragile device is designed to be heated on the hob and as it gets hotter, a pressure difference forces the water to leave the bottom chamber and fill the top where it mixes with the coffee and starts to brew. When removed from the heat, the pressure gradient reverses and the brew falls slowly back into the lower chamber through a filter, which results in a brew that’s said to combine the character of filter and cafetiere coffee.
Price: £50 | Buy Bodum Pebo
The Oxx CoffeeBoxx may not look as elaborate as the others on this list, but its uniqueness lies in its durability. There are no fine glass vessels to smash here. The portable box of caffeinated tricks is built to take the toughest knocks on building sites and is claimed to be rust-proof, dust resistant, able to survive being dropped from a height. It’s even crush proof and has been tested to withstand a 1,500-lb load.
The machine is designed to use coffee capsules such as K-cups and can make 10 cups of coffee without having to re-fill its large 2.5 litre tank of water, to stop workers slacking. Each cup takes just 75 seconds and the CoffeeBoxx lets labourers can have their brew how they like it. Don’t worry, a hot tap means builder’s tea remains on the menu.
Price: $229 (£173) | Buy Oxx CoffeeBox
This coffee maker-cum-block of wood looks simple, but it was dreamt up for consumers with sophisticated taste. Essentially, the Canadiano is a re-usable metal coffee filter housed in a block of timber, but its manufacturers claim that the wood will absorb the particular oils of a favourite single-origin grind and after a few weeks of use, will begin to enhance the flavour of a cup of coffee. The Canadian company even offers the device made from different types of wood to match the flavour of different beans.
For example, walnut is recommended for dark roasts and cherry for lighter, fruity coffees. The idea elevates coffee to the level of fine whisky, which is enhanced by the wood it’s stored in, and while some may argue the device is too good to be true, the Canadiano’s simple aesthetic has certainly wooed design aficionados, as well as style-conscious coffee geeks.
Price: From £37.89 | Buy Canadiano
With the Ripples Maker, it’s not how the machine itself looks, but the designs that it prints on coffee that’s amazing. The coffee maker turns ordinary coffee into a work of art by ‘printing’ an image made of coffee into a foam layer on top of a cup. Users can choose a design from a library displayed on a large LCD touchscreen on the coffee maker, then a ‘Ripple’ will be printed on coffee in mere seconds, although just how is a secret.
Users can also download the Ripple App to search for trendy coffee shops with a Ripple Maker, then transform a selfie or Instagram shot into latte art, which can be printed onto the coffee they order. The Ripples Maker is intended for cafes, and requires buyers to pay a monthly subscription for the coffee ‘ink’ and designs, but selfie addicts with some cash to flash could in theory invest in the ultimate egotistical brew.
Price: $1,299 (£979) | Buy Coffee Ripples
If you wake your family or housemates up making coffee every morning, a silent manual machine could make everyone happy – and give you a mini work-out. The Rok machine is claimed to be a ‘hands-on, creative solution to making espresso’ without using any electricity or wasteful plastic capsules. Users simply have to add ground coffee to the filter, fill the reservoir with boiling water and then raise the machine’s arms, before pushing them down again to squeeze the coffee into a waiting cup. Simple. By changing the way pressure is applied to the arms and the speed at which the coffee is plunged, users can fine tune their drink, according to the company. The gadget also looks great on a kitchen counter and comes in three colours, including trendy copper.
Price: From £129 | Buy Rok