Wired Magazine is running a very interesting article in it’s latest issue titled, “The Coffee Fix: Can the $11,000 Clover Machine Save Starbucks?” In a nutshell. the Clover for those of you who don’t know, is this super amazing coffee machine that you can minutely adjust the water temperature, the timing etc and when done write supposedly makes some really awesome tasting coffee. With all the nonsense that has been going on at Starbucks over the last few years and their efforts to get back to basics, i.e actually make coffee instead of hocking CDs and sandwhiches, maybe the Clover is what they need to save them.
Mathew Honan, the author of the article spent some time in Seattle talking to Zander Nosler, the inventor of the Clover and one of the founders of The Coffee Equipment Company (CEC), the company he formed to manufacture the Clover. Unfortunately, CEC was sold to and is now owned by Starbucks. Apparently Howard Schultz was so wowed by the machines and the coffee they produced that they decided to by CEC least some other coffee company bought it. Now, except for the Clovers that had already been sold to some of the other coffeehouses, the only place you’ll get to taste Clover coffee is at your local Starbucks… well maybe not quite your local since there are only a handful of Clovers in certain test store locations.
So will the Clover save Starbucks? The question is up to debate. Being that the coffee is only as the beans you use, and Starbucks is not famous for great beans, will the coffee even be that great at all? Some may question whether the average Starbucks customer will even notice the subtle differences in their coffee, while others wonder if the price of the Clover coffee may be hiked up, which of course means, are consumers willing to pay extra for ‘drip’?
I think the article best answers the question in the last paragraph. Earlier in the article, when Zander was making the coffee for Honan, he specifically used a metal whisk to stir the coffee grounds, “being careful not to break the stream, which would cool the water“. Zander’s coffee was great. The Starbucks barista on the other hand stirred the grounds with a “clunky rubber spatula” and poured to final concoction into a paper cup… Honan couldn’t taste anything special from the Starbucks’ brew.