Would you pay $20,000 for a pot of coffee? James Freeman did.

When the man behind San Francisco's cult favorite Blue Bottle Coffee decided to open his first café — a step way above the original kiosk — he took the plunge and purchased a $20,000 halogen-powered coffee siphon bar. The bar, which is imported from Japan, is the only one like it in the US and is really a sight to behold. In fact, it doesn't really look like a coffee maker; at first glance you might even think it's some sort of gadget from Journey to the Center of the Earth — or perhaps some weird device found on the Lost island.

However, I'm here to tell you that it is indeed a coffee maker. It uses a technique known as siphon or vacuum, where water rises from the bottom chamber to the top. We recently met up with Freeman and he and his crew gave us the lowdown on how it works. To find out just what a $20,000 coffee bar can do,


Oh and as an added bonus, I should mention that they also serve Kyoto iced coffee, which is a cold-filtered coffee — it takes eight hours to make one pot — that is also created in another retro sci-fi-styled machine. It was amazingly smooth and had a sort of whiskey or tobacco hint to it. I was actually able to drink it straight without any cream or sugar. But don't take my word for it. If you find yourself in San Francisco, make sure Blue Bottle finds its way onto your must-see list.

Blue Bottle Café — San Francisco