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Grindhouse: The Best Brewing Tech From a Coffee Mega-Expo

 Though it wasn't long ago that we were drying cherries in the sun, roasting them in a cast-iron pan, grinding the beans with a mortal and pestle, and brewing the stuff cowboy-style on the stovetop, it's now commonplace to employ computer-controlled brewers, massive grinders, and 100-pound roasters the size of Clydesdales to prepare our morning jolt.

Recently, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) held its annual gathering here. Representatives from every nook of the coffee-bean ecosystem -- farmers, exporters, wholesalers, roasters, and baristas -- came together to see the latest coffee hardware offerings. Amidst expo-floor demos of the newest technology (which ranged from practical to preposterous), there were barista competitions, educational lectures, and caffeine-fueled debauchery of all kinds.

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