As Starbucks scrambles to regain footing in today’s cut-throat coffee war by refocusing on its roots – its coffee – it will soon be wheeling out a secret weapon. A new coffee maker called the Clover has been invented, which supposedly puts all other coffee makers to shame. The $11,000 machine allows the user to program three key brewing variables: dose, water temperature, and brew time. After the coffee steeps, a piston mechanism extracts the liquid from spent beans, resulting in a fresh cup in less than a minute.
Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz fell in love with the machine, and in March 2008, Starbucks announced the acquisition of the Coffee Equipment Company — the Seattle-based startup that manufactures Clovers in a converted trolley shed. By the end of 2008, there will be 80 machines installed in upscale urban markets thoughout the U.S. The 250 machines already at independent cafés can still remain in use but the Buck refuses to sell anymore Clovers to anyone outside of its own chain.
Sadly, when Wired Magazine writer Mathew Honan sampled a cup of the Clover’s coffee at a Starbucks store in Seattle, made with a normal Starbucks blend, served in a paper cup, he couldn’t tell the difference from the regular cup.
I guess a great machine can only do so much with mediocre material.
Question of the day: Do you drink Starbucks coffee? Why or why not?