From Hello Kitty to hardcore noir
Your coffee maker. It’s a humble appliance, crafted of a majority of plastic and a minority of metal, ending in a basic glass carafe. Yet, when you consider its prominent placement in your kitchen landscape and its dominant place in your morning routine, shouldn't your coffee maker have some style? Shouldn’t it wake you up with not only a jolt of caffeine, but a flash of panache? Here are a few appliances that will brew your cup of java with a bit more character than plain old Mr. Coffee. Meet Professor Espresso, the Grand Duke of Grounds, and the Kitty Penguin.
Most coffee machines are crafted from a standard set of materials. However, the Anza adds concrete to the mix. No, really, it’s a block of concrete that makes espresso, detailed with bathtub faucet-style knobs and guitar-esque toggle switches. There is also a white Corian-and-brass version that feels kinda yachty, but stick with the concrete. Consider it a small piece of brutalist architecture to brighten your morning—a tiny Eastern European housing block or London banking tower to call your very own.
AnZa, available in 2018, anzacoffee.com
With its array of dials and gauges, handles and switches, spouts and nozzles, the Rocket Espresso Appartamento looks more like it should create Frankenstein’s monster than a simple breakfast beverage. Not for those who need a quick coffee, it’s for the aficionado who wants to finesse brewing temperature and hone their latte-pulling technique. Built in Milan from stainless steel, the Rocket’s groovy cutout design and small scale also befit a hip bachelor pad.
Rocket Espresso Appartamento, $1550, seattlecoffeegear.com
Perhaps it's not as technically intricate as the other models on this list, but simplicity also lends itself to bold style. The Caffeteria Nero is a simple stovetop moka pot, but with the added flourish of a pistol-style handle with a “barrel” that pours coffee.The name puns on the pot’s black finish and the extra-strong cup it brews, as well as the pistol-packing bad guys and femmes fatale of film noir. Want to keep the Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade vibe going even after you pour? Zanolli also makes a set of espresso cups that resemble shell casings.
Zanolli Caffeteria Nero, €45 ($54), zanolli.com
Dutch company Technivorm has been creating coffee makers since the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, which might account for the delightfully throwback flair of the Moccamaster. It brews up to six cups and has an adjustable cycle and automatic shut-off, but it also looks like a tiny air traffic control tower. The Moccamaster also comes in a variety of colors and finishes, including red metallic, silver satin, and plain old pink or purple. But unlike many cute kitchen appliances, this one is solidly handmade—for a company to last 50 years, the product has to be pretty durable too.
Technivorm Moccamaster, $199-$349, moccamaster.com
The Ratio Eight is of the idea that good coffee can be simple both in design and execution--push a button, get a pour-over, or something close to it.The machine is a mixture of natural hardwoods with metal in finishes like “champagne nickel” or “dark cobalt” and the handblown carafe would look gorgeous on Sterling Cooper’s swankiest client table.
Ratio Eight Coffee Maker, $495-$595, ratiocoffee.com
Royal indeed. The Diguo Belgian Royal Family Balance Syphon Coffee Maker's wineglass-like carafe and rose-gold handle are something the Czar would have twiddled with while brewing a pot of Turkish coffee as Rasputin whispered in his ear and the peasants waved pitchforks outside. Yet the oil burner, glass tubes, and balance technology are more H.G. Wells fueling up to polish off one more chapter of The Time Machine. Old-school tech was so much cooler: Let’s shoot it with our cell phones and upload it to YouTube!
Diguo Belgian Royal Family Balance Syphon Coffee Maker, $290, amazon.com
Most—heck, all—Hello Kitty merchandise comes in varying shades of pink, embellished with all manner of hearts and scallops and kawaii madness. But the Nescafe Barista goes minimal, a sleek, flattened orb in black and white with an extreme Hello Kitty closeup on the side. As far as production, it’s peculiar instant psuedo-espresso, but everyone loves frothy and caffeinated even more then they love Hello Kitty—even if the shape and color scheme feels more like a Hanna-Barbera penguin then a Sanrio feline.
Hello Kitty Nescafe Barista, price varies, eBay.com