Most third wave coffee shops live and die by their machines, from Blue Bottle and their drip-by-drip Kyoto towers, to Supercrown’s scrupulously calibrated Poursteady. But Extraction Lab might be the first cafe designed specifically around a certain brewing system—Alpha Dominiche’s streamlined, cutting-edge Steampunk.
Not only is the company newly manufacturing its wares in Industry City, they’ve committed 2,000-square feet to a retail hub and tasting room as well. Striking design elements include potted rows of coffee plants, beakers of beans, and canisters of tea leaves stacked to the ceiling and accessed by a ladder, yet the primary point of interest is a counter-long row of glass-bellied, app-accessed Steampunks, looking very much like French presses turned on their heads.
Which essentially, they are—when at the desired temperature (ranging from 150-212 degrees), water is forced by steam into the upper chamber of the machine, allowing it to mingle with the coffee grinds. A piston agitates the mixture in accordance with a programmed recipe (for around 45-60 seconds), before a vacuum draws the coffee back through the filter and into the lower chamber, where a beer tap is used to dispense immaculate, sediment-free brews.
So with the integrity of their beloved, $15,000 Steampunks on the line, you can bet that Extraction Lab isn’t playing around with any cut-rate beans or buds. iPads allow patrons to browse through selections arranged by region, cultivar, brand, roaster, processing method and more; comprising up to 50 teas (such as honeyed Rwanda OP and floral Qingshan Cui Min), and 10-15 coffees, from citrusy, Ethiopian Bladerunner, to creamy Finca Santa Rosa and juicy Costa Rican Las Lajas.
And then there’s the light, effervescent, strawberry-scented Semeon Abay—whose $18 price tag officially renders it the priciest caffeine fix in all of NYC. So while Extraction Lab currently stocks Meyers Bageri pastries, they may want to strike up a relationship with the makers of the $100 donut instead, for a high roller’s alternative to the standard Brooklyn breakfast of bodega java and a BEC.
51 35th St., (718) 704-0840
Photos by Chris Trigaux