Although its creators say Perk was initially designed for use in zero-gravity environments, the design is well suited to life on Earth as well. The team says that unlike more conventional home coffee makers, its design is able to maintain a uniform temperature and separate the coffee particles, rather than leaving them a clumpy, unevenly-heated mess.
The trick lies in a principle called "mechanical suspension." Perk creates a gentle flow of water up through the infusion chamber at the top of the machine, creating a force to lift, separate and tumble each coffee particle in the same way. This helps with consistency of extraction, making sure you get the right amount (and type) of flavor from your grounds.
Perk is also designed to deliver a more consistent temperature than the competition, thanks to a unique boiler design. Rather than simply pouring boiling water through a filter and walking away – a technique which means the water is cooling as it drains – the team in New Mexico has designed a recirculating boiler for consistent, precise water heating.
That should mean connoisseurs can pinpoint the temperature best for their beans and program it in using the capacitive buttons on the front of the unit. Because the boiler on the unit is open you'll never need to descale it, too, making maintenance much easier.
After a number of smaller prototypes, the team used the 3D printers at the MAKE community studio in Santa Fe to develop the unit you see here. Company founder Jakub Svec has used the last few months to tour his creation around some of America's best coffee shops, testing the taste against professionally brewed cups.
Perk launched on Kickstarter today, where it's already raised almost US$20,000 of its $100,000 goal. Early birds can pledge $174 for a machine, a 40 percent saving over the expected retail price of $299. If all goes to plan, deliveries are estimated to start in February 2018.
You can check out the Perk Kickstarter pitch in the video below.