It might be hard to believe, but this bewildering contraption you see before you is a coffee maker. It was designed by one of those rare companies who decide to make one thing, and to make it well. In the case of Dutch Lab this one thing is cold-drip coffee makers and the Korean firm produce some spectacular models with the coffee producing apparatus supported by architecturally inspired metal frames.
This behemoth has a distinctly gothic steampunk vibe while some of their simpler options have cleaner, Art Deco personas. These metal panels are produced through CNC laser cutting as this video demonstrates.
Behind the complex framework of Dutch Lab’s devices lies a remarkably simple method of making coffee. Ground coffee is simply left to steep in room temperature water for a period of between 12 and 24 hours, and then allowed to drip slowly into a vessel at the bottom of the maker. Gravity does all the work and there are no heated or electrical components involved in these coffee makers. Cold drip coffee was introduced to the East Asia by Dutch traders and this brewing method often simply referred to as Dutch Coffee, hence the name of this Korean design studio: Dutch Lab.
The intricately cut, 1 metre high ‘Gothicism’ coffee maker you see before you will set you back ₩7,500,000 (£4,320 / $7,250 / €5,400), while the stripped back Steampunk option is priced at ₩4,200,000 (£2,425 / $4,050 / €3,030).
However Dutch Lab’s simpler (and in my opinion far more elegant) makers are much more affordable with prices starting at ₩320,000 (£185 / $310 / €230) for the Art Deco styled devices pictured above. There are also some movie inspired frames and as well as some modelled on famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower (although we’re definitely getting into tourist-kitsch territory here).
I must warn you that Dutch Lab’s website/shop doesn’t appear to be fully functional yet and is mostly in Korean (although Google Translate does offer some insight). I’ve tried emailing them about purchasing one of their ‘Art Nouveau’ makers which is listed in their shop for the relatively reasonable sum of ₩390,000 (£225 / $375 / €280), but I should expect that they’re weighed under with messages at the moment as their Gothicism cold-drip maker has caused quite a stir online. I’ll be sure to post some pictures and do a full review in a future article if I do manage to order one of their remarkable coffee makers.