The show and competition floors at the 2014 Specialty Coffee Association of America show overflowed with all sorts of crazy coffee making equipment. From the analog Dragon “manual pourover syphon” Todd Carmichael competed with in the US Brewers Cup, to the groundbreaking BKON tea and coffee brewer being demoed on the show floor, to the many sexy machines on display at various booths. We've rounded up some of our favorites for your perusal.
Colectivo Coffee Booth: Pantechnicon Designs Custom La Marzocco Strada EE
Jacob Ellul-Blake has been designing, building and customizing machines for many years, and that experience shows in this simply stunning full body customization of the La Marzocco Strada EE. The fit, finish and heft of the machine are incredible, leveraging many of the wood, brass, and powder-coating techniques Ellul-Blake worked on in developing the custom Stradas that he built for Stumptown Coffee Roasters in NYC and LA. The Colectivo crew built a whole cafe in their booth, and they were cranking out cracking coffee all weekend on this machine, paired with two Mazzer Kold grinders. The machine is available for sale–inquire with Pantechnicon for pricing.
The machine is rocking all walnut wood accents, a prototype OLED screen, and an FDA approved black powder-coat on the steamwands and all other surfaces that come into contact with food. Similarly, the insides of the portafilters have been masked off, leaving them pure stainless steel. What I love most is the overall silhouette of the machine, with its back protrusion that straddles the line between angular and bulbous, which Ellul-Blake says was inspired by the espresso machines, busses and vans of 1960s & 70s Italy.
Can't get enough of Jacob Ellul-Blake's custom La Marzoccos? Check out our feature on his custom GS3 home machines at SCAA.
Dalla Corte: Evolution
Dalla Corte had their full line of machines on display, including the Evolution (pictured), and the dc pro, the official machine of the 2014 Latte Art Championships and Coffee In Good Spirits Championship. They had a number of these machines splayed out in their booth, allowing attendees to see the pragmatically laid-out guts of these affordable workhorse machines.
Slayer: Ninety Plus Custom Three Group
The Slayer Espresso booth was mobbed all weekend, likely due to the excitement surrounding the official launch of their single-group Slayers. What we just couldn't take our eyes off of though was this gorgeous custom three-group that they built for Ninety Plus, a coffee producing company with projects in Panama and Ethiopia, that is planning on putting this beauty in a coming retail venture in Miami.
The all-white effect on this machine–their most comprehensive powder-coating to date–really makes the black walnut detailing pop, and the slightly otherworldly glow of the Ninety Plus cut out is mesmerizing.
But what we really couldn't get enough of is the rich, hand-stitched, oxblood leather side panels. I've always thought that Slayers look and feel kind of like race cars, and this one takes it to a whole new level.
UNIC Stella Di Caffè
This was a great year for any show floor attendees who wanted to get to know the machines they use up close and personal. Many manufacturers had their whole range of machines on display, and were more than willing to let you pop the top and ask questions, but UNIC took it to another level with their stripped down Stella espresso machines, all lit up and ready for a good time.
Alpha Dominche: Steampunk MOD Cart Install
The Alpha Dominche booth was stashed in a back corner of the show floor space, which was deeply unfortunate because the actual booth itself was incredibly pretty, and completely mobbed with people all week. Especially unfortunate because the combo of popularity and placement meant that it was utterly impossible for us to grab any wider-angle shots that could fully encompass the glory of the four white Steampunk MOD 2.1 brewers that the team had installed into a custom live-edge walnut-topped cart, built by Chad Parkinson.
Luckily, the folks at Alpha Dominche were kind enough to share some photos with us, showing their gorgeous install in action. As far as updates to the equipment this year, the main one is a revamp of their touch-screen user interface. They're clearly happy with the fundamental tech shipping out to users, letting them focus on things like making the experience as gorgeous as possible.
Full disclosure: Sprudge.com is proudly partnered with Alpha Dominche, Slayer, La Marzocco, UNIC, Dalla Corte, and Colectivo Coffee. Even fuller disclosure: This really was some of the coolest stuff on the show floor.
Photos by Joanna Han for Sprudge.com.