At the new Extraction Lab coffee shop by Alpha Dominche, located in Brooklyn’s Industry City, people often pull out their phones when the brewing process starts.
At the center of the action is the Steampunk, a coffee and tea brewing machine developed by Alpha Dominche. It is neither sci-fi, nor particularly Victorian in look—but with a few swipes on a nearby tablet, a barista can adjust a variety of perimeters to brew a cup of coffee, or tea, exactly as the coffee roaster or tea producer intended it.
Steam is the central element; it is used to heat the water to the desired temperature. Pulses of steam shoot out in an upper chamber, providing different levels of agitation as needed. A vacuum then forces the brew down to a lower chamber when it’s ready. It’s mostly hands-off for the barista, who is left free to chat with customers.
A rotating list of coffees from about 10 to 15 roasters will be featured regularly, including from Tim Wendelboe in Norway, Maruyama in Tokyo, Ditta Artiginale in Florence, and Verve and Samovar in San Francisco.
Alpha Dominche distributes the Steampunk to 35 countries throughout the world. CEO Thomas Perez estimates that half of the machines are used for coffee, half for tea.
Coffee shops, for the most part, don’t usually accord much attention to tea. Order tea and “you’ll get a tea bag,” said Perez. On its opening day, one of the teas offered at the Extraction Lab was a sencha green tea from Kyoto—brewed properly, it carried a grassy sweetness that lingered, free of any bitterness.
For aficionados of both coffee and tea, it is a boon to see them accorded equal attention.
“I truly love both,” said Extraction Lab manager Meredith Enzbigilis. “It’s like a candy land for me.” Soon she will be roasting direct-trade coffees from Ninety Plus Gesha Estates in-house.
The Extraction Lab, which seats 50, is airy and has a warm vibe, with small green plants and wooden tables throughout. Prices range between $3 for a house cup of tea or coffee, to $18 for the more exceptional varieties. Pastries from Meyers Bageri are also available.
Open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Extraction Lab by Alpha Dominche
51 35th St. (between Second & Third avenues)
Industry City, Brooklyn