Everyone has been hounding me for more details on Clover.
I finally got the go-ahead to provide a story.
So here it is.
Earlier this year I was contacted by one of the people I respect the most in the coffee industry - Kent Bakke. He told me that there was a company in Seattle that had developed a piece of equipment and some technology that was going to "change coffee." He told me I needed to check it out. Given who was telling me this, I said "of course."
I then found out that the equipment was a one-cup brewer.
If you know me, you can imagine my disappointment.
But... this was Kent. I'd said I would check it out.
So I drove up to Seattle and went out to the Coffee Equipment Company's HQ and lab. I brought a couple Stumptown coffees with me. I figured I could run in, smile, look at the machine, make some coffee, shake some hands and head over to see the folks at Hines.
So I met the team. Hmmm... very familiar. Bay Area startup vibe. Interesting.
And then I went to the lab. Pretty geeky-cool actually. OK.
They brewed a cup. Wow. Fast!!! Quick taste. Pretty over-extracted.
"No problem," they say. Dial it from "strong" setting to "medium" setting.
Wait... I see some cupping bowls. Cool!
I have them brew some Ethiopia Yirgacheffe MAO at the "medium-light" setting and it goes into a cupping bowl. Grab a cupping spoon. Slurp.
Okay. So it's not perfect. I'm getting a little alkaloid taste. But damn. This is better than almost any brewed coffee I've had. On par, to my taste, with most Press Pot coffee.
Some more tweaks. Now cup the Harar. Damn. Again.
I'm getting excited.
"How long does this take to brew," I ask.
At the time I made this first visit I was obsessed with the (at that time) soon-to-open Stumptown Annex. The centerpiece of the Annex was planned to be brewed by the cup coffee - your choice of all Stumptown coffees. Logistically, this presented some serious challenges.
So seeing this machine instantly resonated with me.
A couple weeks later I went back to experience the next generation of the machine. This time I was joined by Chris, Jen and Tony from Victrola; Bronwen from Hines and Kent Bakke. We all brought coffees.
The improvements were fantastic. The alkaloid hints were gone. Cup character was now at a mid-point between press pot and vac pot.
Everyone was impressed.
Time went by, the product was iterated. Improved.
And now there is Clover 1.
A machine that is designed for coffee bars that want to brew by the cup, but want to accurately reproduce cup character - and do so with high volume.
A machine that allows customers to choose any coffee available and in a minute have a freshly brewed cup handed to them - with extraction profiles adjustable to taste.
A machine that can do this over, and over, and over again. A minute per cup including time to select and grind coffee.
I know a lot of you are going "yeah - but" or even "yeah, right."
All I can say is that you need to get an invite to the V2 Speakeasy (email Tony), grab some of your favorite coffee, a coffee you are most familiar with and get yourself to V2. Tell them you want to cup this coffee prepared through the Clover 1.
And be prepared to be shocked.