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Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > Clover Coffee...  
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strugs
Senior Member
strugs
Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 658
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vincent Wega (Wega Lyra)
Grinder: Jules (Mazzer Mini)
Vac Pot: Hario TCA-5
Drip: Tray
Roaster: 49th and/or Intelly
Posted Fri Jan 27, 2006, 9:56pm
Subject: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

OK, now that the Clover has officially launched in several cafes in the US and Canada, I am starting this thread so that coffeegeeks can discuss their first impressions in a real cafe environment.  Is this machine the second coming, or is it just a fad?

My own first experience was quite positive.  The Elysian Room in Vancouver was one of the first machines to be installed in a commercial cafe, and I popped in after Alistair and Co had about 4 or 5 days under their belts.  

The first coffee I tried was an Indonesian Flores (sp?) which I had no previous experience with.  I was absolutely blown away by the sweetness of the coffee.  The texture of the coffee was somewhere between french press and vac pot, but probably closer to vac pot.  I was also surprised that there was a little bit of sludge in the cup too.  As a long time french press fiend, I am OK with that, but some people (drip fans) might be put off by the not-good-to-the-last-drop aspect of this type of brewing style.  I ended up taking a pound of this coffee home, but despite numerous attempts with my vac pot and press, I could not duplicate the sweetness I experienced from the Clover.  

Next up was a cup of Panama Carmen Estate coffee.  I have actually have had the pleasure of drinking this coffee on a few previous occasions, so I had something to compare it to.  The Clover made a very good cup with these beans, but my own previous home brews with these beans was pretty much on par with the Clover.  This is a great coffee IMHO, and I think it would turn out quite nice regardless of the method you used, so I am probably being too hard on the Clover here.


Overall, my first impression was very positive, and I look forward to trying it again.  Although I love espresso from Elysian, I will likely switch to Clover coffee at least for the next few visits so I can do more evaluations.


Anyone else care to share their experiences?

 
- Sean
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counting
Senior Member


Joined: 8 May 2005
Posts: 823
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posted Sat Jan 28, 2006, 9:33pm
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

I assume we'll all stipulate that the Clover will be an asset in the hands of caring coffee professionals. I'm wondering what will happen when it's adopted by some full-service restaurants. Will the French Laundry lobby for a pod version? What kind of coffee will we get from Clovers in the kitchens of The Triple Door, Jack's and the Blue Fox, Mughal Gardens, Tio Pepe's, Morton's Steakhouse? They do what they do. Coffee is not what they do.

I look forward to the appearance of Clovers in the kitchens of full-service restaurants, but my anticipation is tinged with trepidation. An often-repeated CoffeeGeek truism is that the best hardware in the world can be mis-used to produce bad coffee. This might determine whether or not Clover is a fad. The human beings that will use it will need to know what they're doing.
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Lifestar
Senior Member
Lifestar
Joined: 2 Dec 2005
Posts: 236
Location: Howell, MI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Grimac Mia
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Rocky, KAP
Drip: FP, TV, Aerobie
Roaster: HotTop P, I-Roast2
Posted Mon Jan 30, 2006, 6:10am
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

I got to take my first look at the Clover this past weekend.  The Ugly Mug coffee house near where I live held a Bartista Jam this past weekend and were able to get a Clover in house for demos.  As a simple home roaster/coffee Drinker I have to say I was quiet impressed.  The operation of the machine was quiet ingenious sort-of a reverse french press. The cups coming out of the machine were very flavorful and you could definitely taste the bean characteristics.  However, all the beans that were used for the demos were either provided by the Ugly Mug who roast in house or brought in by other local commercial/home roasters.  

My big question is how the machine will perform in an environment when the beans are less than ideal.  I know one of the big pluses for the Clover is the ability to have many different types of coffee for discerning customers.  How many of the shops looking for these consumers are going to make sure that that the 10 different been varieties are roasted within 7-10 Days.  Based on the freshness of the beans in most shops I would expect that the shop would pick up 10 different types of beans and use them until they are gone regardless of the roasting date.  No matter how cool the extraction tool is old beans are still old beans.  So in a nutshell I think that while a great machine it is still going to take a quality commitment from the shop owners to get the most from it.  

I also do want to give a shout out to Zac and the folks at the Ugly Mug for setting up the chance for all use SE Michigan CGs to not only check out the Clover but also to learn a lot and get ourselves severely overcaffinated.

 
Robert Kolm
Howell, MI
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Juliejayne
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Joined: 15 Sep 2004
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Posted Mon Jan 30, 2006, 6:59am
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

counting Said:

I look forward to the appearance of Clovers in the kitchens of full-service restaurants, but my anticipation is tinged with trepidation. An often-repeated CoffeeGeek truism is that the best hardware in the world can be mis-used to produce bad coffee. This might determine whether or not Clover is a fad. The human beings that will use it will need to know what they're doing.

Posted January 28, 2006 link

I shouldn't worry.  Most of these kind of restaurants are not going to be prepared to pay the cost for a Clover.  Most of them think and espresso machine is expensive!
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strugs
Senior Member
strugs
Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 658
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vincent Wega (Wega Lyra)
Grinder: Jules (Mazzer Mini)
Vac Pot: Hario TCA-5
Drip: Tray
Roaster: 49th and/or Intelly
Posted Wed Feb 8, 2006, 11:53pm
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

I was able to enjoy three more varietals brewed on the Clover at the Elysian Room on Monday.  One was a very nice tasting Columbia Tres Santos Melange roasted by Intelligentsia and supplied by Wicked Cafe's Brad Ford.  I have had a few prior experiences with some Tres Santos beans in the last few months (thanks again Brad), so I was familiar with how this varietal tasted using a french press.  The Clover brought out some nutty flavors that were not quite as prominent when I pressed the coffee at home.   Very enjoyable.

Next up was a Yemen roasted by John Sanders.  I have had espresso blends that included Yemen before, but I don't think I have ever had a straight Yemen brew.   All i can say is wow.   Wild chocolate notes and a nice he-man coffee flavor.  This coffee is not for the timid.  

The final varietal was another estate Colombian roasted by Sanders.  I forget the name of the estate/region.  This was a pleasant tasting coffee, but I had the misfortune of sampling the Yemen immediately prior to this, and it seemed rather bland by comparison.  Probably not fair to drink a central after an African, so I might have to give this another go when I go back to town on Friday.

While I was at the ER, a customer came in and ordered a coffee.  The barista explained the Clover concept to him, and he seemed eager to try it.  Within 5 minutes, this customer came back to the bar for a refill, beaming.  He commented to me that his coffee was "exquisite".  

Mark and others have been quite critical about the lack of body in a typical Clover cup.  Although I agree that the body is not as heavy as say a french press, I would not say that the body of most of the coffees I have tried have been lacking.  I would equate them to close to vac pot in terms of body and mouthfeel, possibly a tiny bit less.  However, the Clovers ability to make flavors rise to the top of the pallet and shine like the sun more than make up for this one "issue".  

All I know is that I am heading back to the ER on Friday and I hope like hell that they still have some of that Yemen on tap.  I am also going to be one of the first in line at Artigiano for their first bout of COE coffees on Feb 17th.

So, no one else in this entire community has tried the Clover??!?!?!  Come on - share your thoughts on this machine.

 
- Sean
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,618
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
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Vac Pot: A bit too many
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Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Thu Feb 9, 2006, 2:00am
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

Interesting comments!

To add interest, I'd be very interested in hearing if any Clover owners are willing to take Alan Alder up on his "challenge"... including him covering his own airfare / travel to go to the scene of the gauntlet throwdown.

So far not a (public) peep.

Mark

 
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sidss
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2002
Posts: 117
Location: Ann Arbor, Mi
Expertise: Pro Barista

Drip: Technivorm
Posted Thu Feb 9, 2006, 4:28pm
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

I was able to see and try out coffee made in the Clover, when David from Clover attended the Michigan Barista Jam a couple of weeks back. It is an interesting concept, and though the coffee tasted very good, it lacked body.  Even so, it did make a very good cup, that I am sure that the average customers around here  would love.  My only concern is this - when you are a new coffeeshop operator, I wonder how many will be able to afford the price of  the Clover?   My main criticism is that the Clover  is way too expensive. We could buy 2 commercial espresso machines at that price.
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topherbecker
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 48
Location: Washington, DC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Vac Pot: stunningly beautiful Cona
Drip: Chemex or press pot
Roaster: cast iron, RK drum
Posted Thu Feb 9, 2006, 6:59pm
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

MarkPrince Said:

willing to take Alan Alder up on his "challenge"... including him covering his own airfare / travel to go to the scene of the gauntlet throwdown.

Posted February 9, 2006 link

What's the challenge?
Thanks
Chris
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counting
Senior Member


Joined: 8 May 2005
Posts: 823
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posted Fri Feb 10, 2006, 2:51am
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

sidss Said:

We could buy 2 commercial espresso machines at that price.

Posted February 9, 2006 link

Yes you could, depending on which espresso machine you select. That's the main point about the price. There are many espresso machine manufacturers, lots of competition. There is one monopoly Clover manufacturer. And it is early days. Surely the price will decrease. Think about the materials of construction. Think about fab and assembly costs. Think about the electronics package. There is a lot of room for the price to come down in future, if the company meets with serious price resistance.

God bless the early adopters.

Complaints about lack of body, missing low notes, etc. - gosh, people, the extraction time can be set to 5 minutes. Have as much body as you want! And the company is experimenting with extraction plates with differently sized holes - if you want sediment in your cup, they'll give you that also.
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naznar
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Joined: 6 May 2005
Posts: 139
Location: portland
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Fri Feb 24, 2006, 10:47am
Subject: Re: Clover Coffee Machine - First Impressions From CoffeeGeeks
 

heads up for those tracking the clover.  

Heard the Stumptown annex installed one last night in portland?
When I bike over there Im going to check it out.

 
Courier Coffee Roasters
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