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Clover in Starbucks

Postby gabriel on Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:04 am

Was in Boston Beacon Hill this morning and got inside SB in Charles St for a Cappa
After getting the Cappa (burnt, too much milk...) I noticed something out of place
It took me few second to realize I was watching a real Clover - it is like going to Techno club and the DJ start playing Miles Davis

I asked to try and first got their Kenya which was very drinkable, but on the boring side
Then asked if they got any freshly roasted coffee (the Kenya had no roast date ) and was surprise to learn that they do
This time I got aged Sumatra which was roasted on Jan-16 (of this year !)
Now I'm not a big coffee fan and never got to liking Sumatra coffees, but this was not bad at all
The coffee was nothing like the Clover made coffee I was served in Grumpy nor was it anything near the sweet taste of the Terroir N. Italian espressos I was lucky to get last night, but for SB this is a huge step forward.

I start talking with the PBTC and learned the SB is piloting a fresh-coffee + Clover program, there are two other shops in Boston getting the Clover ( Harvard SQ, and Financial District )
The coffee they use for this was coming in a special 10oz packs all carrying a big sticker of pilot plan ( and a roast date)

When I asked to pay I was told that today is the first Clover day and the coffee is for free
Bottom line - this was the best value for the money I ever got at SB

/gabi
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Postby cannonfodder on Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:53 pm

Wow, that is surprising. I never expected starbucks to get clovers. That is a major capital investment. Those are $10K each. I wonder if TagX will get a flood of second hand Clovers in another 10 years
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Postby ordo.dk on Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:20 am

I just tried clover coffee a few days ago (before watching "Cloverfield" funnily enough) in Copenhagen (Estate Coffee) - Costa Rica Tarrazu "La Minita", and I gotta say, I was pretty impressed with it! So soft, complex and ...well... NICE! :) I am amazed to hear *$ getting Clovers - I would never have seen that coming - We only have 1 *$ in Copenhagen (in Denmark?!) and that is in the airport... Fine by me, as I am not particularly fond of them...
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Postby Randy G. on Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:32 pm

gabriel wrote:..... I start talking with the PBTC and learned the SB is piloting a fresh-coffee + Clover program........


Anyone else see the humor in that statement? :lol:

My first thought was, "Starbucks is finally getting fresh coffee?! REALLY!?"
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Postby ByronA on Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:30 pm

Well, their numbers are at an all time low...and they now have to compete with the Big M! Wouldn't you be willing to try something...novel?
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Postby gabriel on Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:36 pm

Was there again this morning and they got official pricing - it goes between 2.25/2.50/ 2.75 (8/12/16 oz)
This time got the Kona which was roasted in the beginning of Feb, they got also other stuff all reasonably fresh

Kids at the shop seems very excited about it, one guy was saying that this is the first time he can taste something in the coffee (he was not using those exact words :-) )
Got many free samples (kid kept saying, "you must try this one it is so awesome ")
I think the one good thing coming from the Clover experience is that it gives SB people taste of how coffee could taste)

Not sure it is very cost-affective for SB as they spent very long time to make my coffee holding off all other customers (we are talking 8AM ), but maybe they will learn how to multi-task with it in the future

/gabi
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Postby Matthew Brinski on Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:49 pm

gabriel wrote:Kids at the shop seems very exited about it, one guy was saying that this is the first time he can taste something in the coffee (he was not using those exact words :-) )
Got many free samples (kid kept saying, "you must try this one it is so awesome ")
I think the one good thing coming from the Clover experience is that it gives SB people taste of how coffee could taste)



I'm not trying to dog the Clover, but what I find interesting about the scenario you've conveyed is that the focus and awe by the staff (AKA - "kids") seems directed toward the machine. They could be just as impressed by using a 10 cent paper cone filter, because

IT'S THE "NEW" COFFEE - NOT THE "NEW" CLOVER!

Sorry, had to get that out.


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Postby APalmer on Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:00 pm

I'm just happy for the Clover guys. How exciting this must be. What potential.
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Postby Psyd on Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:16 pm

Matthew Brinski wrote:IT'S THE "NEW" COFFEE - NOT THE "NEW" CLOVER!

Sorry, had to get that out.


While I'm sure that the fresh coffee was leaps forward, the coffees that they get are sometimes three days from the roaster, at least here in Tucson. There are five (eight?) Starbucks roasters in the us, and a fairly regular distribution route set up, so it ain't rocket surgery to get them beans fairly quickly. My local 'Black Apron' had no idea why I'd want to know (someone gifted me with a $15 card, and I asked about their specialty beans) when it was roasted, and I made the analogy of opening a beer the night before to make sure it was warm and flat enough to drink by the next night. He started keeping track of what beans got to him when, and we discovered that the biggest problem was them sitting on the shelves, but most of them arrived at his shop two to five days post-roast.
And the Clover is pretty danged special, too. It's like saying that the LM GB5 is no big deal. It only makes the water hot and pushes it through the puck, but it really is a bit more than that, yeah?
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Postby Matthew Brinski on Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:12 pm

Psyd wrote:And the Clover is pretty danged special, too. It's like saying that the LM GB5 is no big deal. It only makes the water hot and pushes it through the puck, but it really is a bit more than that, yeah?



Yes, I agree the Clover is a pretty special machine. Like I said, I wasn't trying to dog the Clover. I just don't think that it makes great coffee out of substandard coffee, just as I don't believe that a LM GB5 makes great espresso out of substandard coffee.

So if the coffee they are using for the Clover is no different, what gives? Has their coffee always had hidden flavors that are elusive to all other brew methods? Are they really screwing up their drip/extraction method that bad?

Again, I think the Clover is a GREAT machine that offers it's own taste profile, but I don't think it is THE ultimate brew process that is required to get the best out of all coffee. I have had a few coffees off the Clover that I enjoyed more by Chemex and French press (yes, Ben Chen - FP :) ), while others that I did prefer on the Clover were not markedly lacking by other brew methods. My point was merely that if the coffee is good, they shouldn't require a Clover for it to taste good.

Having said all of that, I also realize that my perceptions are based on my consumer experience of Clover brewed coffee rather than a professional and frequent operator. I also recognize that the potential of the Clover brewing profile has, most likely, yet to be fully realized.

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