No more Clovers

I’m sure it’s been official for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve seen it confirmed:

Starbucks is willing to share custody, however, of the 250 [Clover] machines already out there, plus maintain and repair them, but it won’t sell any more Clovers to independent caf├ęs. The company has already pulled the plug on CloverNet, the online database that tracks sales, maintenance, and brewing preferences for Clover owners.

That’s unfortunate. Despite all the hype, the real beauty of the Clover wasn’t in how it brews coffee, but in how it could reliably bring out clean flavors and refocus attention on the beans: their origins, their roast profiles, the way they were processed, etc. Putting Starbucks beans into it isn’t going to make Starbucks coffee magically delicious. It’s a great tool that now won’t ever live up to its full potential.

The Clover rollout
The Evil Empire just bought Clover!


4 thoughts on “No more Clovers”

  1. I don’t see how the Clover could possibly be patented. Everything about it seems fairly standard, just more precise. If the demand is there, shouldn’t a Clover clone be forthcoming?

  2. That’s a good question. I should look up the patents and see what’s in them. From what I’ve heard, the filter was actually one of the harder things for the company to get right.

    But you’re correct, it would seem like someone could jump into the gap to fill the market left open by Clover’s absence. It might be filled by lower tech options like pour over filters and vacuum pots, but something higher tech could potentially come along.

  3. One of my white whales is building a cheap immersion circulator almost as good as the $1000 lab versions, but for under $200. It ought to be easy, but no one’s doing it. I’ve talked to a few friends about it, and maybe someday we’ll proceed with trying to build a homebrew prototype. Maybe not.

    The Clover could be similarly homebrewed, one would think.

  4. I was at a coffee talk tonight where one of the guys in the industry expressed hope that someone else would step in to fill the void left by Clover, so people are looking for the next brewer.

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