RICHMOND, BC--Dawn Peng's new coffee shop in Steveston Village is called Rocanini, which sounds Italian (it's not) but is meant to convey a sense of strength and European style. Her baristas don't "pull shots," they grind the beans to order (single-origin, of course) and brew each cup individually using a Japanese Bonmac cold-water syphon. If this all sounds a bt much, you can also get a simple drip-filter coffee, but be warned: this showcase is what the future looks like. Peng and her partners are planning five to ten similar coffee shops in the Vancouver area within the next two years.
That giant gadget on the counter? The one that looks like a high-tech James Bond torture machine? Ice water goes into the big glass bowl at the top and drips slowly, slowly, slowly through the tubes, into a couple of cylinders filled with finely ground, single-origin coffee. One drop in, one drop out. (More technical details on the topic in this New York Times article.) This is for the latest craze, Japanese-style iced coffee, which obviously gets made ahead: from ice-water-in to coffee-concentrate-out, it's an 18-hour process. A creamy mouthfeel, it's said, dark, smooth and intense. So far, this is the only such device in Canada.
The resulting brew is also enjoying a surge of popularity in New York City, where the website Eater.com has even published an interactive map of Manhattan coffeeshops with especially good iced coffee. One of the best is the Gotham outpost of Portland's Stumptown. (Parenthetically, a New York private equity firm has recently taken a major ownership position but left founder Duane Sorenson in charge..for now.) No plans for a cold-brew system at either one of Stumptown's two Seattle stores, although they do sell "Stumptown Stubbies" of cold-brew coffee locally.
UPDATE 6/21: Seattle Coffee Works has one of these contraptions as well, has had for over a year. (Gulp.) James Ross Garner wrote about it in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.