Friday, March 16, 2007

The Next Generation of Coffee

Starbucks’ espresso-thirsty competitors are finally pushing towards the future of coffee, thanks to a new machine called the Clover. This high-tech gadget brews one cup of coffee at a time, through a process that allows the barista to adjust the brewing to fit the flavor profile of the coffee.

The Clover uses Vacuum-Press™ technology, which merges the French press and the vacuum brewer. These coffee brewing techniques on their own take five minutes or more to deliver their brew, and can be cumbersome and hard to clean up. With the Clover, quality is maintained but time is reduced to about a minute. Grind size, coffee dose, water temperature, water volume, and extraction time are all controlled by the barista.

There are a total of 68 Clovers in the U.S., many of them owned by coffee roasters. There are two in San Francisco (Ritual Coffee Roasters); Seattle has only one. In Los Angeles, Groundwork (Downtown) has one and two more on the way while, Silverlake will house two of them in May.

The price of the impressive espresso is only two bucks (at the Groundworks Coffee Co. in LA)! Check out this profit calculator, you can pay it off in the first year. Not bad, when you consider that the machine costs $11,000.

Thanks LA Times and Clover!