Steampunk Arrives in the UK – Brought to you by Mulmar

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The Steampunk arrives in the UK

One of the most remarkable coffee machines to be invented in recent years is now available in the UK – the Steampunk has been brought in by Mulmar.Both of them have interesting backgrounds – the word ‘Steampunk’ is a recognised form of science-fiction, based on a bizarre combination of technology and Victoriana, very much in the style of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Mulmar is the machine company from Hatfield with an expertise and experience which includes being both the initial pioneer of La Marzocco machines in this country and also being involved in a lot of the technology behind Nescafe machines.The Steampunk machine itself is American, and is another combination of technologies. In a very simplistic explanation, it is the merging of the espresso machine and the siphon principle. It won the ‘best new product’ award at the American industry’s big expo a year ago. The inventor has reported criticism of his machine for ‘removing the craft from the brewing process’ – in fact, he argues, it does exactly the opposite, and puts the barista in control of brewing as no other machine has done before.

The inventor is a former barista, who says the product was inspired when he first discovered the siphon brewing method. A very old-fashioned principle, but one used in many of the most modern coffee houses, in which heated water rises from a lower chamber to mix with ground coffee in an upper chamber; as the water cools, it returns through a filter to the lower chamber as brewed coffee, with the grounds remaining in the filter.

The quality produced by this method is widely praised – the problem, said the Steampunk inventor, was that his café’s customers would simply not wait around long enough for the brewing process to be completed. So he began playing around with ways to connect an espresso machine boiler to a siphon brewing chamber, and speed up the process.

The remarkable result is that the brewing can now be controlled to a far greater degree than in a conventional siphon brewer – users of espresso machines expect to be able to control such aspects as water volume, temperature, and extraction time, and this is now achievable in siphon-style brewing… indeed, the inventor says that a skilled barista can now reproduce the features of various different styles of filter brewing, and can now record those brewing parameters, being able to call up the required brewing recipe for any particular coffee.

The inventor has speculated that an average barista could make 60 siphon brews an hour; a really good one might reach over a hundred.

A curiosity of the system, which is not normally seen in any kind of filter brewing, is the use of a tamper – and this is an unusual one, being long-handled to reach right down inside the brew chamber.

“We are the European distributor for this new revolutionary product, which allows an infinite and detailed regulation of all parameters for in-cup quality,” Agostino Luggeri of Mulmar told us. “Steampunk has reported back non-stop interest for the product in London, and we are negotiating for a stand at the SCAE World of Coffee in Rimini in June, where we shall be featuring only the Steampunk on our stand.”

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