Event - Steampunk Tasting at Seventh Tea Bar

Technology has found its way again and again into our lives to make tasks easier, quicker, more precise, and just cooler looking in general. Well how do you feel about it in action at your favorite OC tea bar? With a name complementary to Seventh Tea Bar's theme, the Alpha Dominche Steampunk 4.0 makes its public debut today to show customers and enthusiasts alike just how powerful its whooshes and whishes are when it comes to brewing that perfect cup of tea (and coffee!). We got a sneak peek of it on Tuesday and watched its sleek parts coax choice tea leaves into liquid gold. Lucky you, by the way, because Seventh Tea Bar is one of just about fifty places nationwide with this brewing beaut for now; who would deny this masterpiece to the coffee and tea masterminds there anyway?


We watched as Jeff Duggan fiddled around on the touch screen control panel which gives users the ability to program in exact brewing parameters per cylinder. Four completely separate drinks can be brewed at the same time, and the Steampunk 4.0 does not discriminate between tea and coffee. With three agitation cycles, four filter options, and three grind settings, it is well-equipped to handle either of the mediums. Additionally, the various options allows for it to "duplicate traditional brew profiles," so if you were looking for a V60 pourover, French press, or other methods, you can get the remarkably accurate version via automation. Time, temperature, and other such brewing parameters are customizable per owner which is an exciting development for Seventh Tea Bar. They can make specific brews with their specific tea choices that you truly would not find elsewhere. The products will really be exactly how Seventh wants you to experience them, consistently.


In addition to meeting those associated with Alpha Dominche itself (Walter, Sam, and Jamie), we previewers were also graced with the presence of Chicco Chou, owner of Mountain Tea, who not only explained a bit about his company and teas but also had his own oolongs for us to try. His partnership with the Duggans is another sign of how seriously the business takes the idea of working directly with growers for their sources whether at Portola or Seventh. Soon after, we were shown the Steampunk 4.0 with all four cylinders in action, brewing very different teas per. If you're curious about how the Steampunk works, think of a siphon system - the varying levels of pressure per chamber dictate the ways by which the water and then-extracted teas flow.


In addition to its genius engineering developed by tinkerer and past coffee shop owner Khristian Bombeck, the Steampunk 4.0 is a beautiful machine. With its carefully designed medley of metal, quartz, wood, and glass and its revolutionary brewing technology, the Steampunk was a clear winner for "Best New Product" by the 2012 Specialty Coffee Association of America. I spoke to Walter, Director of Coffee and brother to the inventor at Alpha Dominche, who gauged the brew times ranging anywhere up to 120 seconds per serving. That's quite fast actually when you compare against traditional brew methods which this has the ability to imitate. I'll attribute that to the ever-moving pistons pushing water back and forth, the customizable calibration available through an intuitive touch screen panel, and the machine's ability to self-clean after each extraction.

Sam DuRegger, Business Development

All in all, this is definitely a force to be reckoned with as tea and coffee jump onto more people's radars. It really does boil down to a science when you look at the varying factors necessary to make that perfect cuppa, and Alpha Dominche is revolutionizing the way that coffee and tea shops/boutiques attain that goal. I'm excited for Seventh Tea Bar as well for being one of the first to put the Steampunk 4.0 into action. To celebrate the nationwide debut, Alpha Dominche is giving away free tea and/or coffee at its debut locations (Seventh Tea Bar included!) today to the first 25 customers at each places to tweet "@AlphaDominche Hello #ADSteampunk" and show it at the register. I hope you try this and manage to get a free morning cuppa! My thanks to everyone at Seventh Tea Bar & Alpha Dominche for having us and to Chicco for teaching us about Mountain Tea.

Photography by Duc Duong.