A version of this article originally appeared on The Creators Project Netherlands.
I lust after the black gold that comes from the Italian coffee maker in my home. Many a bearded barista might agree that quality machines are just as important as the art in the cup, though. In the case of the towering coffee makers by Dutch Lab, they can be just as beautiful. Dutch Lab's architectural coffee machines, some of which climb to a meter in height, come inspired by different art movements, including Gothic, Art Nouveau, and Modern, and the buildings those eras produced. In addition to Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and Dutch Windmills-inspired works, the creative team also turned to architecture in movies: the Tower of Sauron from Lord of the Rings, the Empire State Building with King Kong at the top, and the spaceships from Star Wars influenced the final designs. All these wonderful creations indeed come at a price, though. The most expensive, the Gothic coffeemaker, for example, costs about $7,300. The rest fall in between $280 and $5,000, making for a pretty pricey cup of coffee.
New Steampunk, 3000ml. $4,100
AKMA (Lord of the Rings, Toren van Sauron). 3000ml. $5,200.
I was considering a visit to Dutch Lab to see their wonderful coffee machines in reality, and discovered they’re actually less Dutch than their name suggests: they're a design studio located in Seoul, Korea, and their name refers to a particular method of brewing. The machines use the cold drip method, a technique that doesn’t use hot water or electricity, but instead crafts coffee with small round filters, ice water and gravity, the cheapest form of energy.
This technique’s main advantage is that it preserves the pure taste of the bean, but the downside is that it is rather time-consuming. Dutch Lab recommends that you set up the machine at night, so that you wake up the next morning with a delicious cup of coffee waiting for you. "Dutch coffee takes considerably more time to make, but what you get is the highest quality coffee,” they explain on their website. So even though it takes time, you still end up with a huge piece of Gothic art or a full Tower of Sauron to gaze at. I’d never have trouble getting out of bed again.