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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.

                2. Do they serve food? specifically the one on 2nd street. I'm planning to head over there tomorrow to try out the Clover brewed coffee, and was wondering if I could get food and coffee at one stop.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: slacker

                    no food (except some pastries and bagels). but pitfire pizza is right next door. (if you get something at pitfire, the receipt can be used for a 10% discount at groundwork.)


                    1. re: slacker

                      GW Downtown Artists District has food (sandwiches on good bread and, I wanna say, salads, too?) at least the last time I was there it did; it's been about 1 year.

                    2. We had their special Panama coffee this morning ($150/lb. and $3.50/cup), made with the Clover. The server told us that this was, perhaps, one of the best cups of coffee in the world. Yes, it lived up to that rep.

                      At first, I tried several sips without add-ins; I experienced many different levels of flavor, as in tasting a wonderful tea or some fine wine. There was absolutely no bitterness or burnt undertone. Although I am not a coffee drinker, I would highly recommend this to anyone. I think some people don't like coffee because they have never had great coffee like this. We chatted with others sipping nearby, and everyone had rave reviews.

                      1. I ran over there on Saturday and had a cup of Lake Tawar Sumatra. Outstanding!! The coffee itself if so good, I'm sure I would like it brewed the filter way. But coming out of the Clover, it was pure great coffee goodness. I usually drink my coffee black, and especially so when it's really good coffee.

                        Yet another reason I wish I stll work downtown. So many reasons, except for the work itself.

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: slacker

                          Lake Tawar Sumatra; yes, that's bean I had last week.

                          1. re: slacker

                            Yikes! I am becoming a coffee drinker!!! Since Saturday morning I have been craving another cup from there. I wouldn't even consider drinking it elsewhere now...and so, this is a bad case of CSS (Chowhound Spoiler Syndrome) or something like that! Similarly, I will never have another cobbler as good as the blackberry at The Cobbler Lady!

                            I can't wait until Groundworks and Intelligensia expand a bit with the Clover; meanwhile, I shall return next Saturday morning on my way to dim sum in the SGV!

                            By the way, how did you select Lake Tawar Sumatra? Everyone around us was ordering the special Panama offered, so we didn't even consider anything else.

                            1. re: liu

                              I was looking through their great list of coffees, and knew I wanted to try a very good sumatra. And boy, was it!

                              Now you are addicted to two forms of caffeine! Specific as it may be..

                              1. re: slacker

                                Are you, too, craving another cup from there...or just me?
                                I am out in Ventura County and really motivated to get through the week so that I can return to Groundworks...uh-oh...this is sounding baaaad!

                                (I would like to blame it on Chowhound for all its great discoveries, but on this one, I read it in the "LA Times.")

                                1. re: liu

                                  Ventura! I gotta hand it to ya, you're a real foodster.

                                  And yes, I am thinking about that coffee right this instant.

                                  1. re: slacker

                                    No, just into northern Ventura County, but we are drawn like a magnet to the San Gabriel Valley and parts South and East of us for dim sum or dumplings or Asian markets or sushi or izakaya or cobbler ... every Saturday...and it is always well-worthwhile!

                                    Several hours later...are 'ya still thinking about that cup of coffee? I certainly am!

                                    1. re: liu

                                      Ahhhh! what're you doing to me? I'm trying to bury the craving until the weekend and now am feeling like I need to immerse in downtown traffic, risk a parking ticket, and get that coffee. :()

                                      1. re: slacker

                                        Misery loves company -- ha-ha!!!

                                        We found parking very easy on Saturday morning, so that's just no excuse! Get thee to the best cup of coffee in the world!!!

                                        (I also want you to go to Crenshaw Blvd. for a berry cobbler at the Cobbler Lady.) Now...how do we get these two together? I guess you will have to hit the Cobbler Lady first and take it to Groundworks!

                                        1. re: liu

                                          I guess I'll have to try the coffee from this $11K Clover machine! The best cup of coffee in the world for me is Blue Bottle Coffee up north in the San Francisco Bay Area.


                                          I like The Cobbler Lady too but I love The Cobbler Factory in Pasadena. It's a short walk from EuroPane Bakery. Started years ago by Mr. Gore after he retired from his city garbage collection job! Now run by his family, it's sooo good!


                                          1. re: sel

                                            Why, thank-you, sel! Just what I NEED: another cobbler place to obsess about!

                                            I have taken the address (which you so kindly supplied) and I will be there soon or sooner!

                                            "...best cup of coffee in the world..." Well, it was mighty good, unlike anything I have ever tasted. However, I wonder how much of the flavor is attributed to the coffee and how much is due the machine. So, if you go, your experience might be different depending on the coffee they are featuring. Please do report back.

                                            1. re: liu

                                              oh no, my cobbler list just increased by 100%, from 1 to 2.

                                              1. re: slacker

                                                Ha-ha! Now, which do you think is more do-able: Pasadena to 2nd and Main (Groundworks) or Crenshaw to downtown? ...because, it is the combination of the two that is far greater than the mere sum!

                                                1. re: liu

                                                  I can do both! Weekdays: Crenshaw to 2nd. Weekends: Colorado to 2nd. But--it's hard for me to picture myself eating a cobbler that's not a peach cobbler, and it's not peach season yet. But then again, with all this global warming, who knows.

                                                  1. re: slacker

                                                    slacker - You're funny! It seems as though you have a plan!

                                                    I can speak only for The Cobbler Lady who did have peach cobbler (canned, perhaps?) last weekend; in a contest between the cherry and blackberry, I cast my vote for the blackberry.

                                                    I will let you know about The Cobbler Factory (Pasadena) next week! I just keep remembering that "sel," the poster above, said that he/she likes The Cobbler Lady but LOVES The Cobbler Factory...it's only getting BETTER!

                                                    1. re: liu

                                                      What coffee did you try? I tried the Costa Rica Ecobrisas. A little too bitter for me. Still havent' made it to either cobbler place.

                                                      1. re: slacker

                                                        Hello and Hi, slacker!
                                                        Their "special" the morning we were there was a coffee from Panama; of course, I don't remember the exact name, but I do remember the price at $150/lb. Weeks later I am still thinking about it (and I am not a coffee drinker...into green oolongs)...but when I return, I will have whatever their feature coffee is AND I would like to try something "espresso." Oooooh, I will be wired for the week...I will plan to get a lot done that week!

                                                        "...too bitter" for you...I am so disappointed that you weren't at least mildly impressed. But this was your second visit (Sumatra!), correct? And you did like your first cup? Are you considering yet another visit? And aren't you a tea person??? Where can we go to get great tea that is pampered so??!!

                                                        Cobbler -- I would go to The Cobbler Lady on Crenshaw and try the blackberry; unless you love sweet potato pie (it was pretty good!), I would skip The Cobbler Factory in Pasadena.

                                                        1. re: liu

                                                          I'm definitely going back for more of that clover made coffee. Just working my way down their printed list. I haven't seen or noticed anything about a special coffee of the day, but maybe bc I just aim my eyes right onto that list.
                                                          I love drinking teas, but not really that into it and don't know very much about it. I think you're projecting your love of tea bc you want more tea lovers around. :-)

                                                          1. re: slacker

                                                            The Groundworks special offering of the day was printed on a white 9 x 11 sheet taped onto the glass facing the door, just where you order. When we were there on Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, the gentleman before us in line tried to order something else, but the server encouraged him to order the special. I think everyone in the store while we were there ordered their special Panama cup.

                                                            "...more tea lovers around." Yes, I want that, and I think I want to move to San Francisco with all those little specialty tea shops...no, I love LA, so I'd like the tea shops to move here! But now that we know about Groundworks, and if it becomes more geographically available, I might find a new addiction!

                                                            1. re: slacker

                                                              slacker -- I just went on the Groundwork website and found the Panama Esmeralda Especial 2006 Lot coffee we tasted. You can find some other specials of theirs by clicking on "Limited Lot Offerings."


                                                              1. re: liu

                                                                Thanks Liu, I will have to taste some (all??) of the limited lots. Especially what you had, the Panama Esmeralda, geeze, $150 per pound.

                            2. Just thought I'd chime in about the Sumatra I tried last week. Loved it in the Clover! I don't usually taste very distinct notes in coffee, but it was so apparent that the coffee tasted like caramel and had an aftertaste of grapefruit fragrance. My friend and I both thought there was no disputing that the grapefruit "after smell" should be obvious even to the dullest palate.

                              I bought some, and while it's good French press coffee it's nowhere near as good as from the Clover. For some reason, the coffee has taken a flavor of paper, and I can't nudge out the subtle flavors that seemed so apparent when the coffee was brewed in the Clover.

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: Pei

                                Pei -- I really appreciate your posting on this. As I was sipping, I was wondering how much of what I was tasting (so many different levels) was due to the special coffee they were using vs. due to the Clover machine (I was impressed by how tiny it is!). So, as I read your posting I am believing that the machine has a lot to do with the amazing coffee I experienced.

                                1. re: liu

                                  Same here, about their coffee (great stuff) or is it the Clover. Until the Clover starts showing up at more places, I'll have to make my weekly pilgrimage to that Groundworks.

                                  1. re: slacker

                                    Truly, that's not a bad place to be...just a short walk into Little Tokyo...then you can walk back and have a second cup! I really like this area.

                                    slacker, have you had anything espresso there? Do you think it's worth a try or would you stay with their special cups of regular coffee?

                                    And does anyone know when we will begin to see the Clover in other places?

                                    I think I am getting depressed just thinking about how good this coffee is. Such a high quality is very difficult...no, impossible to duplicate at home or even in another coffee shop. Wow...I think I might be "hooked" in a 'Hound sort-of-way which motivates us to seek the ultimate in a category.

                                    1. re: liu

                                      You *walk* to JTown from Groundworks?? I feel so L.A.

                                      I haven't tried any espresso drinks there. Just want that true coffee goodness from the Clover. I feel so hooked, too. When I drink office coffee, I have to turn my mind off about this topic. :)

                                      1. re: liu

                                        I'm from the bay area, so I haven't been able to have coffee at Groundworks, however, Eton Tsung owner of the absolutely great and sorely missed Cafe Organica in San Francisco is now working for Groundworks, building up the espresso side of the business.

                                        If the espresso is anything close to what he served at Cafe Organica, your in for a treat. And judging from the comments on some of the coffee message boards the espresso is very, very good.

                                        1. re: chipman

                                          Thanks for that info, that's good to know. Now I'll have to try an espresso too. I'll be so wired.

                                          1. re: slacker

                                            "...so wired." Yes, plan to get a lot done that day!!!

                                            I'm laughing, slacker, at your "so LA" comment!!! Really, it's my favorite thing to do in this city. I love to select an area, be it Westminster or Little Tokyo or Artesia or Chinatown or Thaitown or Koreatown and just walk and wander -- in and out of every market, of course...eating and drinking along the way. This is pretty much how we spend our Saturdays! I just wish there were more meals in the day, and more Clovers around town!

                                            I, too, with this very positive rec from chipman (thanks, chipman!) will try the espresso next. Specifically, what do you recommend?

                                            1. re: liu

                                              Since I have never been to Groundworks, I'm not sure what beans they use for espresso. I do know they have three grinders designated for espresso so obviously they have a choice of beans,just like Cafe Organica.

                                              I would suggest asking for the characteristics of the beans and then making your choice.

                                          2. re: chipman

                                            yes, eton has helped ensure that the new groundwork location on main st. serves some of the best espresso in town (unfortunately, that's not necessarily saying much). i highly recommend the place for espresso drinks (as well as for the clover). i can't say anything about the espresso at the other groundwork locations. they used to be pretty bad, but i haven't been to any in a while. i'm sure eton will help transform the espresso at the other locations as well.

                                            1. re: arkestra

                                              Thanks for all this expresso info. Please pardon my ignorance (you can't really expect much from a tea drinker!!!), but do they use the Clover to make espresso?

                                      2. re: liu

                                        Another report! I tried the moka pot (Italian stovetop espresso) this weekend and got at least the caramel flavor to emmerge.

                                        I made my cousin a "mocha" of sorts, with the extra strong coffee, a spoon of sugar, and freshly whipped cream. He immediately asked what I'd added to it because he tasted caramel.

                                        It's nowhere near the experience of having it come out of the Clover and tasting like caramel and grapefruit before any additives, but it makes me think maybe it is possible to nudge out the Sumatra's flavors at home with more expensive equipment than I own.

                                        1. re: Pei

                                          I was there yesterday, and the owner happened to be there. What a nice, down to earth man! He invited me to their office location for a free tasting! For home brewing he suggested the glass caraff with a filter insert which they sell there. It's sort of like the french press concept except you get less sediment. I'll have to look at it a little more closely next time. Yesterday I had just come from a wine tasting and could not pay attention to much detail. :)

                                          Tried the $150/lb Panama. Had an espresso right before it (a blend) which I think spoiled my tastebuds for the Panama.

                                          1. re: slacker

                                            The caraffe is tempered glass - I think - and shaped roughly like an hourglass with a two-piece wooden collar around the neck tied with a leather string... very mid-century modern feel... not a huge investment and worth the money if you normally brew your coffee...

                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                              That would be the Chemex brewer. You can get one from sweetmarias.com. I use a manual pourover which works in similar fashion. The key is that you have controllability of the all-important water temp as it mixes with the fresh grounds.

                                              1. re: ristretto

                                                I think there's something about that filter paper as well... It seems to pull out the nasties much better than an ordinary filter, while keeping the more desirable flavors intact.

                                    2. I just stumbled over their website which may interest some of you, especially as it has local references:


                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: sel

                                        Thanks, sel. I studied the Groundwork site, but I never thought to look at the Clover site. I did send them my comments about how delicious their coffee is, and also asked them where they expect to be seen next?

                                        1. re: liu

                                          On their homepage they state:

                                          "With Groundwork Coffee Co.'s Clover up and running, and Intelligentsia's store not far behind..."

                                          More options comming soon liu! The link to the L.A. Times article, in the original post above, mentions that Intelligentsia will open up with 2 machines at a Silverlake location.

                                          1. re: sel

                                            FYI it looks like from information on the web that Intelligenstia's operation is setting up in the Silver Lake district near Sunset and Sanborn. Not sure if the location is just for their roasting works, which has been in the process of being brought up for some time, or if it'll also be combined with their retail store. (I haven't yet had the chance yet to do any surveillance of their L.A. operations...)

                                            Their retail bags at the Chicago store have had Chicago - Los Angeles printed on them too...

                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... (though not visible in this photo...)

                                            1. re: cgfan

                                              as i understand it, the silverlake location will be solely retail. they will have a separate roasting facility.

                                      2. ok - I am intrigued. Is the 2nd street location the only one with the Clover, or do they all have one?

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: scurvy

                                          scurvy - Currently, 2nd and Main Groundwork is the only location that has the Clover up and running.
                                          It seems that during the next few months there will be others. Intelligensia in Silverlake, and a couple of other Groundwork shops (Venice and Hollywood across from the Arclight Theater) are scheduled.

                                            1. re: peanut112

                                              The roasting facility for Intelligentsia is actually on San Fernando Road, a bit south of the 2 Fwy. Their retail facility on Sunset in the junction area adjacent to Cafe Stella and the Silver Lake Cheese shop should open around May 1 or so.

                                              1. re: carter

                                                carter, Is the location on San Fernando Road anywhere near the Golden Farms Market Plaza at 6501 San Fernando Road in Glendale?

                                                Also, I thank you for posting about their retail location which will be near the Cheese Shop of Silverlake; I can sandwich the cheese shop in between two cups of coffee!

                                                1. re: liu

                                                  No, as I said, it is south of the 2 Freeway, not too far from the Super King Grocery that used to be Hughes/Ralphs. Think Glassell Parkish.

                                              2. re: peanut112

                                                It's the 2nd & Main location of Groundworks that has the Clover.

                                            2. Can someone break this down: I'm used to getting single-cup, drip coffee from places in the Bay like Blue Bottle and Philz. The Clover, from all that I read, is a very sophisticated automated way to make the same thing. Not a bad idea for a retail site with heavy traffic BUT...

                                              Is a Clover cup any better than a hand-made single-cup, drip made with fresh beans, hot water and a basic filter?

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: odub

                                                I think a cup of coffee made by the Clover machine is superior to anything I have tasted elsewhere, but it might be a combination of the high quality coffees secured by Groundwork downtown (the only place I have experienced the Clover) PLUS the machine. The cup of Clover coffee is smooth, flavorful on many levels, and deep -- with NO bitterness.

                                                I must say, in comparison, at home we have used an inexpensive plastic AeroPress and been able to achieve some very close results...and our pre-ground coffee is not the quality of that used by Groundwork. I have yet to try the AeroPress with really good quality espresso fresh-ground, but I anticipate being able to press something pretty close to -- but not the same as -- the Clover.

                                                Again, we are speaking of personal preferences and the "compared-to-what" experience. odub, if you like what you are drinking, then you can call it "terrific!" If you have the chance to get downtown to 2nd and Main to Groundwork, give it a try and report back!

                                                1. re: liu

                                                  I agree - I have been making single-cups using a filtercone, fresh beans, and water just off boil. This combination provides user control of the critical variables necessary for a great cup. (Of course, there are other brewing methods that yield similar quality.) In my opinion, the difference is not night and day. However, if you are used to having coffee from chain shops, you can be blown away by the Clover cup. With fresh beans that are freshly ground and water in the proper temp range, you can do nearly as well.

                                                  1. re: ristretto

                                                    The grinder being used, as well as the size of the grind are also variables that need addressing.
                                                    I have only had one cup of coffee from the clover at 2nd & Main, and must say it did very little for me. That said, maybe it was the wrong bean, and they have MANY to chose from.
                                                    Even the water (tap or bottled or ...) and brought to just under boil can have variables.
                                                    So make sure you are always comparing apples to apples, so to speak!!!

                                                    1. re: carter

                                                      Right, I did not address all of the factors needed for a proper brew. However, even allowing for such variances, I still felt that it didn't blow me away. Still highly recommended, though!

                                                2. re: odub

                                                  I just finished my cup of the Clover. I got - perhaps unwisely - the Panamanian auction bean (better known as the $150/lb coffee) since I figured, well, if I'm going to go all out, I might as well go all out. My experience:


                                                  This was a seriously mediocre cup of coffee - watery, fruity to the point of being sour, AND slightly bitter. It's about as bad a cup as I've had at STARBUCKS. Yikes.

                                                  Not sure if it was the bean...the barista...the Clover but whatever the case, that was pretty disappointing. If it had merely been a "good" cup of coffee, I would have been fine with that. But this was an undeniably bad cup of coffee. I guess I'll give this another shot with a different bean another time but still...

                                                  1. re: odub

                                                    Yes, do give it another try. I especially like the Lake Tawar Sumatra. I also did not enjoy that $150/lb Panama Esmeralda.

                                                    1. re: odub

                                                      I have enjoyed my cups of Clover coffee. My first cup was the Panama Esmeralda, which I really loved. That was several months ago. odub, did you speak with the barista about your disappointment, and if so, how did she respond?

                                                      I do hope you will return to try a different bean.

                                                      1. re: odub

                                                        Odub, based upon your comments, there's a couple of clues right away.
                                                        Clover coffee should never be watery...that could be a barista error, probably from not using the correct gram weight of coffee for the Panama estate. Either that, or the grind used was incorrect, causing the water to extract far too quickly. That particular estate isn't too bad by any means.
                                                        Those errors right there would have an impact on the overall fruitiness and brightness.
                                                        I'd definitely go back and give the Clover another shot, with a different estate...and ask the barista or the manager how the Panama is supposed to taste, and explain that yours was watery, bright and even sour...they should at the least comp another try of the Panama

                                                        1. re: peanut112

                                                          The barista who made it went out on break so I couldn't raise it with her. And in any case, I've never been one to really squabble about it. It wasn't undrinkable...it just wasn't that great but if I ever go back there, I might ask them for another recommendation. To me, it was an experiment and even if a failed one, I don't regret trying it.

                                                          But at the end of the day, it seems to me that if the Clover is as good as it's supposed to be...shouldn't it be some what impervious to barista error? It's one thing if someone does a single-cup drip by hand: you're talking about juggling the amount of beans to grind, the amount of water to use, the temp of the water, the filter, etc. Isn't the Clover supposed to perfect that? I mean, for $11K, you'd hope it wouldn't be so finicky as to be so susceptible to barista error in how much water to use or the size of the grind.

                                                          The single-cup drip I've had done by hand has usually been pretty consistently good at places that specialize in it. I guess I still prefer human instinct over scientific precision.

                                                          1. re: odub

                                                            Odub, you raise good points in the potential flaws of the Clover. It's actually about $12,000 when it's all said and done, but here's what makes the Clover great and potentially flawed:
                                                            *the temperature of the water is held constant across roasts, even though you can set it to whatever temp you want overall, so that's actually not really a variable. What is a variable, however, is the dwell, or steep time. That is different potentially for every single coffee you have in your arsenal, and every single size you are offering (8oz, 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, 16oz...currently the Clover maxes out at 16oz servings)...so there is some room for error there.
                                                            *The filter isn't a variable: The Clover offers three kinds of filter screens but it's rare that a user would change it out.
                                                            *the Grind: The grind varies based upon the type of bean being used, whether it's single origin, blend, light roast, medium, or dark. It doesn't mean that it has to...I use the same grind for all of my settings, but it CAN vary.
                                                            *amount of coffee: again, this varies based on 8oz-16oz settings, and each type of coffee, so the gram weight can vary from 30grams-60+grams...definitely a big difference, so while the variables individually aren't that complicated and aren't that much of a problem, when you put them all together, they can really pose a problem to someone who isn't trained, or easily flustered.
                                                            It's much more similar to the training, usage, and care given to an espresso machine and espresso training rather than a drip approach.
                                                            It can make an amazing cup, or result in exposing the weaknesses in training of a barista, and the bad notes of a particular estate.
                                                            Just my two cents, of course...

                                                    2. I'm still waiting for them to get one in Hollywood. I will say that Groundworks has really good coffee anyway. If this process makes a good product even better, I'm all for it.

                                                      The guys behind the counter are pretty cool. The only downside is no parking on Sunset before 9am.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: bsquared2

                                                        I think the Clover brings up a great discussion:
                                                        There are many variables that can make a Clover cup a very poor tasting cup, the same way great espresso blends can taste horrible...in the wrong hands.
                                                        The Clover requires a skilled barita, why? The grind has to be correct and can actually vary from estate to estate, blend to blend. The water temperature, while held consistent across the steepings in the Clover requires different dwell times based on the bean, and the amount of coffee used per batch is going to vary also.
                                                        It's night and day from a traditional brewed coffee system in a retail setting but vastly superior in terms of taste and quality and for the retail operator, there's no waste!
                                                        I think you can come very close at home with a Chemex and in rare circumstances an Aeropress, which is a poor man's approximation of the Clover...but hey, who has $12K to put a Clover at home?

                                                      2. I don't know what "groudwork" is but Intelligentsia on Sunset in Silverlake has a Clover

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: Sarsa

                                                          Sarsa said, "I don't know what "groudwork" is but Intelligentsia on Sunset in Silverlake has a Clover."

                                                          I see you're new here -- if you had read the entire thread before responding, you would know that 'groudwork' [sic] is a Southern California coffee retailer.


                                                          1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                            And Groundwork was here before the Chicago transplant intelligentsia.

                                                            1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                              Thanks for the heads-up Joe Blowe!
                                                              I lived downtown at the Brewery but moved into the 909 in 1999 and I am still trying to adjust. I still manage to get around but welcome knowledge of any and all special places-in fact thats why I am here. Next time I'll read the entire thread before I jump out into the middle of the street...:-)

                                                              1. re: Sarsa

                                                                and within a matter of a couple of weeks, you'll be able to add another fantastic coffee company to the Silverlake scene, La Mill Coffee. Silverlakers are going to be spoiled rotten with Intelligentsia and La Mill Coffee, both locations will have some of the best coffees in the world, plus both locations will have (do have, in Intelli's case) the Clover.

                                                                1. re: peanut112

                                                                  Thanks for the update. Since I don't live near Silverlake anymore, whenever I'm in tha area I can't just go to Intelli without going to the Cheese store too....
                                                                  Now that I know about Groundworks I will check them out too.

                                                                  What do you guys know about Jones coffee in Pasadena?

                                                                  1. re: Sarsa

                                                                    For what it's worth, Jones gets high praise from the enthusiasts from CG.