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Mar 14, 2007 06:05 PM

Groundwork coffee: the Clover

Has anyone tried the coffee made with the Clover? Does anyone know which downtown Groundwork location has it?

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  1. it's at the new location on main st., near 2nd, in downtown L.A. it's right next to pitfire pizza. and yes, it's definitely worth trying the coffee made with the clover. very clean/pure taste. reminds me more of a vacuum made coffee than a french press.

    2 Replies
    1. re: arkestra

      When you say vacuum made, do you mean the stove-top glass maker? And if so have you used one and is it worth an investmant? Maybe this should be a new thread???:)

      1. re: ajbinla

        i really like the vacuums. they're not real expensive (between $50 and $200, depending on make and size; no reason to spend more than $100). if you want to see them "in action," go to cafe balcony in west L.A.

        (for some reason, the link is not working now)

        you can check out this site for more info about the vacuum (and to buy if you decide to do that).

        i have 2 at home -- a hario (japanese; i believe no longer available in the U.S.) and a yama (taiwanese i believe (maybe korean), which is similar to the hario.) i highly recommend them.

        i just found this on youtube:

        you can find other demonstrations on youtube


    2. Just read an article in LA Times' "Food" section on this machine... $11-grand? That's no toy! Ric who started up Groundworks (formerly Gourmet Coffee Warehouse) would be the guy to introduce it to LA. He is a true coffee snob. He's been travelling all over the coffee world since at least back in the early 90's looking for great organic beans. If he's willing to plop down that kind of money for this machine, it must be worth it. According to the article, he's getting two more, and one is slated to go into his original store in Venice - yeah!

      1 Reply
      1. re: bulavinaka

        Your information on Groundwork's ownership is incorrect. Ric Rhinehart began working for Groundwork in 2002. He did not start the company and he has never had any ownership. Ric no longer works for Groundwork.
        Thank you,
        Richard Karno
        Groundwork Coffee Co.

      2. I walked over to the 2nd Street GW location this afternoon to give coffee from The Clover a go. The coffee was very good (but I cannot remember the name of the bean used and it was not listed on the website so as to jar my memory); smooth, full-bodied (without bitterness--and I like bitter) and no funky aftertaste. The best cup of locally made joe I’ve had in recent memory; pure coffee goodness. And, to top it off, the Barista was very friendly and knowledgeable.

        What I can say is that you can ask for any bean in the shop to be ground/brewed to order. Perfection in a cup…what more can one ask for?

        These lists do not appear to be complete:

        6 Replies
        1. re: yinyangdi

          yinyangdi, I read your report with interest. We are planning a Saturday early afternoon visit. Was it crowded? Did you "do" any add-ins: milk, cream, sugar?

          I think one of the two newly ordered Clovers is going into the Ground Works across from the Arc Light Theaters; the other, as mentioned above, is going into the Venice store.

          1. re: liu

            Can't wait for the Clover to show up here in the Hollywood Groundwork, as it's my local coffee stop.

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              I go to Groundwork almost every day. I asked the folks there about the Clover when they first got it in. Was under the impression that not that many people order coffee made with the Clover.

              The coffee is very good at Groundwork, but I get the sense that most people like to get in and get out. Maybe it is due to the lack of parking (and aggressive meter maids on Sunset Blvd.) and the fact that they don't stay open very late.

              At Intelligentsia, I see quite a few people ordering coffee made with the Clover. Not sure what the difference is. Is it a Silverlake thing? The vibe at Intelligentsia can be a little much at times. On a Saturday morning, there is a line out the door into the sidewalk.

              Personally, I think Groundwork has better coffee, but Intelligentsia stays open later, so they end up being the de facto late night coffee stop.

              1. re: bsquared2

                Groundwork w/ the clover is on Main at second in downtown, not Sunset in silver lake. People live in that bldg where Groundwork is, and lots of people work in downtown, so it seems natural that they'd get the coffee to go.

                1. re: slacker

                  I know for about a week a small clover was at the Sunset location but it's since disappeared. I've recently been at the Main location and, yes, there is one there -- my detective skills are unable to tell if it's the same clover. Not that I really care. I've had clover coffee at both Groundwork and Intelligentsia, and at the end of the day, I still prefer an espresso-drink.

                2. re: bsquared2

                  Hi, bsquared2. Referring to your final point -- although I think we are in the minority on these boards, I agree that Groundwork has coffee superior to that at Intelligentsia. I have really wanted to like Intelligentsia, but all three visits I have been extremely disappointed. The final cup I tossed. Groundwork coffee from the Clover is wonderful!

          2. liu, no, not crowded at 3PM-ish today. couple of outside tables w/umbrellas, the place to be today (nice breeze blowing) as it was hot as hell inside; one high-top in the front window and a couple of (two or three) seats at "the bar" and a loft area with seating (how much I don't know, but it didn't look like a lot from the ground floor).

            as for add-ins: healthy spash of half & half.

            1 Reply
            1. re: yinyangdi

              Thanks, yinyangdi, for all this very specific information! Although I am not much of a coffee drinker, after having read your report and the article in the LA Times I am looking forward to trying it.

            2. would groundworks also be the right place to pick up a great latte?

              6 Replies
              1. re: Pei

                i highly recommend the espresso drinks at the new main street location. they hired some good people to work there, and also hired a top notch person (eton tsuno) to train them and help develop the espresso side of the business. i'm sure eton's influence will be felt at the other branches, but it may take some time.

                1. re: Pei

                  The Venice location isn't really known for their great latte - the guys working the counter are really nice but IMHO are not top notch baristas.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    The ristretto I ordered at the Santa Monica branch on Main was returned with "What's a ristretto?". After a brief explanation, which I really shouldn't have done and rather should have just have the better sense to just walk out, I got handed my order which was much too large for a ristretto, the crema looked too blonde, and ended up being a wicked brew of unimagineable bitterness.


                    On the other hand my trip to the Groundworks in L.A.'s Artist's District was just the opposite experience. A well prepared ristretto served in a heated ceramic tazzina. I followed it up with a latte to go and that, too, was well pulled and executed.


                    1. re: cgfan

                      Oh, WOW! That looks divine! It looks thick and syrup-y and rich and creamy. What is it, please?

                      I just Wikipedia-d "ristretto" and found out. But did you add anything to it? And can one order a ristretto AND a cup of regular coffee...or is that waaaaay too much?

                      1. re: liu

                        >>...or is that waaaaay too much?

                        Not really... What influences the amount of caffeine in the cup is contact time with water, so that makes espresso's in general lower in caffeine content than a regular cup of coffee.

                        If I order both a ristretto and a milk-based espresso drink I usually order the ristretto first for the intense coffee taste, then follow it up with the milk-based drink in order to have something to "lounge around with" after. (A single gulp is all a ristretto should last, and as soon as it is handed to you...)

                        Honestly in my book ristrettos are the only way to go in the world of espresso. As many researchers and enthusiasts have previously established, including the illustrious Dr. Ernesto Illy of Illy Caffe, various components are extracted out of the bean at different times, with many of the most bitter components requiring more time to extract. Thus with the ristretto you are capturing just the very best part of the pour. Now imagine that the part of the pour that you are exluding by pulling a short shot (ristretto) ends up being in the larger volumed espresso. (Actually when I pour ristrettos at home I additionally discard the very beginning of the pour...)

                        Nothing was added, nor needs to be added, to a well-pulled ristretto. If done right there is only a pleasant and refreshing bitterness in the cup coupled with a hint of sweetness from the carmalized sugars present in the (properly roasted) bean, and the overall sensation is one of creaminess...and typically a very long and pleasant aftertaste as well.

                        1. re: cgfan

                          cgfan - Your description is both informative and inviting! I love your idea of having a ristretto tease before you have your coffee.

                          Thanks for all your great information.