Clover, the expensive brewing system favored by the discerning coffee snob, has made its way to a Brooklyn Starbucks near you—if you're in Cobble Hill or Brooklyn Heights, that is.
If you are not familiar with the Clover brewing system, you may be wondering what exactly makes it so special. Well, the machine is described as an upside-down French press, and the coffee is brewed one cup at a time. Depending on the size of the serving, the ground coffee is weighed and added to a hollow chamber at the top of the machine where it is met by a stream of steaming hot water. The mixture is then manually stirred and scraped by a barista, then strained into a cup by the machine shortly after. The process is totally worth observing if you care to look up from your MacBook long enough.
Starbucks, which purchased the company that manufactures Clover in 2008, uses their "exotic and rare" Reserve line of coffees to brew in the machine, but can use any of their brands in the Clovers. “When there’s not enough of them for all of our stores, we offer them exclusively through the Clover brewing system," Starbucks explains through its website. "That way, we can share them with people who love exquisite coffee, in a way that brings out the best of what these beans have to offer.”
The fact that there is one one Starbucks locations that offer Clover coffee in Brooklyn (and 23 in Manhattan, according to their PR) may have something to do with the hefty $13,000 price tag per machine. The Brooklyn Heights outpost has had their machine since May, and they are currently selling about 50 cups of Clover-brewed coffee per day, at about $5 per cup—which is a bargain when you consider what Starbucks is capable of.
Starbucks describes the machine as “a true innovation that comes along only once in a while,” so we decided to test drive the results. Gothamist Sales Director Kevin Conetta says, "It gives Starbucks more of an edge to compete with local breweries—tasty but pricey." Managing Editor John Del Signore declared, "I think I'm hooked. One sip and I am smooth and strong as a mighty rain-drenched oak tree empowered by a bolt of lightning blasting my roots. If Gothamist paid for this coffee out of petty cash every day, I'd drink nothing else! Let's talk about my screenplay!"
This fancy coffee really is good, but one word of advice: if you are going to splurge $5 on a cup of it, don’t dilute it with ice!