Courtesy of AnZa Coffee

An international design firm and espresso repair shop got together to make it.

Noah Kaufman
August 22, 2017

At best, you could say that brutalism is controversial. The architectural style, that had its big moment during the 1960s and ‘70s, is defined by hulking, austere buildings made of uninviting concrete. You can see it everywhere from the Met Breuer museum in New York to City Hall in Boston. When described charitably, people may call brutalist works “muscular.” Otherwise they probably just call them ugly. But the architecture has had a bit of a comeback in recent years, with fans lobbying to get brutalist buildings named historic landmarks so they won’t be torn down. The style also found its way into a successful new crowdfunding campaign that will give you the opportunity to keep a bit of brutalism right on your countertop.

The AnZa espresso machine came from the minds at Montaag, a design firm out of Norway and Berkeley, California that has created, amongst many other sleek projects, the Nima sensor, which can detect gluten in food. But the AnZa is one of their most striking designs. Wrapped in concrete, it almost has the look of an ancient artifact—an ancient artifact that pumps out espresso at a regulated 9 bars of pressure (the professional standard). The rest of the machine is made of glass, corian (typically used in countertops) and porcelain. The AnZa began as simply an exercise that would, as Montaag designer Andrew Smith said in a statement, “explore what an espresso machine could feel like through the use of completely honest materials.” But after initial positive feedback they decided to begin scaling up to sell them. They’re scaling up quickly with delivery of the first machines expected in March.

But besides its future status as one of the cooler conversation pieces in people’s apartments, the most important question remains: Does it make good espresso? You wouldn’t want to just have a concrete box siting in the kitchen. As the machines aren’t available yet, we haven’t tried them, so we can’t say for sure. But what we do know is that the designers say they built the inner workings of the machine using Italian machines from a similar pricepoint (retail $1,299) as a guide, which is encouraging.

As of writing, the AnZa had raised over $128,000, almost surpassing its Kickstarter goal of $130,000 just a week after going live. If you want to donate you can still get a discounted AnZa for $799 over on their Kickstarter page.

Who knows, maybe it can fight with your Barisieur for coffee making supremacy. Our money would be on the concrete hulk though.