Starbuck's Motto - "Burn Coffee, Make Money"
I first heard about the Clover coffee machine while reading a recent article out of Wired magazine (the ONLY print magazine worth subscribing too).
What's a Clover Coffee machine? Glad you asked...here's a video somebody posted that demonstrates this $11,000 coffee machine in action:
The Clover coffeemaker debuted in a handful of cafés in 2006 and was promptly hailed as the best thing to happen to coffee lovers since the car cup holder....The Clover also wowed Howard Schultz, founder and CEO of Starbucks. Last year, Schultz stumbled upon the machine in New York City when he had spotted a line of people standing outside a tiny joint called Café Grumpy. He tried a sample and declared it "the best cup of brewed coffee I have ever tasted." In March 2008, Starbucks announced the acquisition of the Coffee Equipment Company — the Seattle-based startup that manufactures Clovers in a converted trolley shed.
Out of curiosity, I had to try a cup. So I checked the Clover site (or what's left of it), and searched their map of Clover machines (there are only about 250 worldwide). In the Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia region, there are only 2 places!
Grape and Bean
118 South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA, 22314
2329 Forest Drive, Suite G
Annapolis, MD 21401
I was traveling through Annapolis so I stopped at Caffe Pronto (and you have to go to the Forest Drive location, they have multiple stores, but the one at Riva is the only one with the Clover machine). The people there are super-helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable about coffee. So with or without the Clover...this is a really nice Coffee shop to visit. They recommended a Papua New Guinea Bean - it's mild and smooth.
One of the best cups of coffee,
...if not THE best cup of coffee I've ever had.
Karen tried some also, and she agreed -- it's really really good. Lots of flavor, but no bitterness or burnt flavors common with Starbucks. What's even stranger...most coffee gets bitter and tart as it cools. This coffee somehow seems to get more flavorful and smoother as you head towards the bottom of the cup.
Drip coffee machines don't come close to the Clover.
But I've had pressed coffee that tasted very similar to the Clover.
So if you're ever near a cafe that has the Clover machine...try it out! I plan to get a cup if I'm ever passing through Annapolis or Alexandria.