Clover Coffee Brewer (San Diego Area)
- WasabiBratwurst Jul 21, 2008 10:58 PM
This maybe old news to some of you but I read an article about the $11,000 Clover Coffee machine on Wired this morning ( http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscella... ).
Wondering if there is any where in the greater San Diego area that serves coffee brewed by this machine? Perhaps I need to travel to OC? I figured that there are plenty of coffee lovers on Chow that one of you guys can guide me. I did a quick search on the previous thread but did not find any. CGfan?
The company that manufactured the Clover was bought by Starbucks months ago. Starbucks is not selling these machines to anyone else anymore, nor do they plan to continue servicing Clovers that are owned by others. There are very few of them still being used by independent cafés. IMHO, though Starbucks has put a few of these in their own stores in select locations their real intention was to take this revolutionary approach out of the hands of the independent cafés and kill it. Doubt you'll see a Clover at your neighborhood *$ anytime soon.
WB, I've had Clover-brewed Coffee a couple of times at Caffe Calabria in North Park; they're the authorized dealer/distributor for the Clover in S.D. However since the news of Coffee Equipment Company's (Clover's maker) purchase by *$'s and the decision to install them in their stores, it's unclear what Clover's future is with regards to their use by the independent cafes.
Note however that I never had Clover'ed coffee in Caffe Callabria's "food service" area. To my knowledge they do not offer Clover'ed coffee as part of their cafe menu, though I heard of plans that they intend to do so from the back of the store as part of the re-tweaking of their cafe. (Anything I've heard in that regard has always been sketchy, and anyway they seem to be caught in almost a permanent state of limbo on uncompleted plans of offering Neapolitan pizza, wine and beer...)
I don't know of any Clover installations in S.D. The only place I've had Clover'ed coffee as a regular paying customer has been in L.A., S.F., and NYC.
Honestly I think the Clover has been a bit too publicized and misunderstood. The role of any coffee brewer should be to be as transparent as possible and let the true taste of the bean come through unadulterated. Of course a brewer can ruin a coffee by using the wrong water temperatures or timings, but it cannot add to what's already naturally in the bean. Rather it just needs to unlock what's already inside, and the Clover is just a particularly "techie way" of getting there.
So one shouldn't approach Clover'ed coffee as a thing in and of itself, but only in the context of the bean that's being brewed. Before paying too much of a premium for a Clover'ed cup of coffee I'd settle for a competently French Pressed brew for almost any bean. However when a really special/expensive bean is being offered and you want to make sure that nothing will potentially get in its way, then perhaps a Clover'ed brew is in order, but only if profiled/setup by a competent barista to brew that particular bean.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Clover is just a turn-key way to protect a barrista from routine mistakes. And it's not going to make up for bad coffee beans.
For whatever reason, all the Peets coffees I've been too have all been better than every Starbucks I've ever been to in SoCal. Same for the majority of bars in Italy, or a good restaurant in SD like Vivace. I'm sure none of them are using particularly fancy machines - and regardless at Peets and bars in Italy they're cranking out great coffee left and right.
Starbucks isn't bad at all, but there's some glass ceiling they just hit and I'm still not sure why. I bet it's in their beans. They used to be supplied by Peet's.