Watching Anna Thomas work at SteamDot Coffee is like watching a scientist in a lab. She's surrounded by timers, beakers, boiling water and glasses siphons.
She's a barista who seems to know everything about coffee -- especially when asked about the slow bar.
"Slow bar is what we call our brew bar, which is where we make all of our black coffee. And it’s called 'slow bar' because we brew them all by the cup," Thomas said.
SteamDot taps into the hipster coffee-lovers market in Anchorage, a place for people who talk about coffee the way wine connoisseurs talk about grapes and regions of France.
"It can taste fruity and chocolaty, (or) like a plum or a raisin or a spice or a nut," Thomas said.
It will take at least a minute and a half to get your drink from the slow bar. Like the name suggests, the coffee takes its time to brew. Every cup is single-brewed and made to order.
They use V60s, Chemex beakers, French presses, and coffee siphons.
The siphon is the show stopper: picture evil-scientist lab equipment that glows red and extracts full-coffee flavor from two glass bulbs broiling with water and coffee grinds.
"It's going to have a big body,” Thomas said. The siphon brews enough coffee for two.
SteamDot opened its doors at the end of 2009, but already the company has three stores. The flagship store is at the O'Malley Centre in South Anchorage, a second is at Midtown's Sears Mall, and the most recent addition is inside the Fat Ptarmigan pizzeria Downtown.
Owner Jonathan White says he travels around the world finding the best growers with the most original flavors, and buys directly from them.
Their names -- Jose Octavio Cardona from Colombia, Carlos and Digna Gonzales from Nicaragua, and countless others -- are listed beside the brand names of the coffees.
"Our coffee story starts when we buy it from the farmer, when we bring it back, and we roast it, and when we present it when we make it for our customers," Thomas said.