Starbucks is stepping their coffee game up a notch, but probably not at a location near you. A few Starbucks locations have introduced the Clover coffee maker, which makes a superior cup of coffee, one cup at a time.
It's a pricey (and slow, relatively) process that wouldn't work well during the morning rush, but one of those best kept secrets that I've recently heard a lot of gossip about. I wanted to find out what the deal was with this superior method of getting my caffeine.
As rumors swirl about the elite Clover brew, here is some of what I heard:
There are only two Clover machines in all the Starbucks across the land.
The Clover machines cost $1 million.
A cup of coffee from the Clover costs $5.
After talking to the barista at the Los Angeles Starbucks, tasting my own freshly brewed cup, and doing some digging, this is what I discovered about Starbucks' most expensive cup of Joe.
There was a "Clover" decal on the door so I knew I'd entered the secret coffee club upon arrival. Which was actually disappointing, as I was hoping I would have to slip the barista a sawbuck to get the goods.
However, she was very enthusiastic about the Clover (she even complimented me on my "excellent choice") and also let me know about a special reserve stash of beans that only 17 other Starbucks locations had access to in the whole world. I decided if I was going to go for it, I should really go for it.
I chose the Galapagos San Cristobal blend, and my Tall order cost a whopping $3.25. The barista grinded my beans, for my cup only, before firing up the Clover, which only brews one cup of coffee at a time. She described the process as a reverse French press, with a vacuum that sucks the water through the grounds, which brings out the flavor of the beans in a superior manner.
Isn't it pretty?
The barista advised that I drink it black, so I did. I'm usually a milk girl, so I worried about bitterness but the cup was smooth as silk, while still deep and satisfying. It truly was one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had, and I didn't even add my usual dairy to the mix.
According to the barista, only two Starbucks locations have unveiled the Clover Cup, a single cup of coffee brewed from the high tech Clover machine; one in LA and one in San Francisco. But according to StarbucksMelody.com, there are several Clovers out there across the country.
As for the million-dollar price tag, unless Starbucks was ripped off, this article on Chow gives the Clover coffee maker a price tag of $11,000. It's not one million, but nothing to sneeze at.
At the end of the day, this was a great cup of coffee, but not so much so that I would refuse a nice cup of bold for $1.95, nor will I be driving all the way to downtown LA to get my daily fix. Only a foochebag would do that.
Have you tried the Clover cup at Starbucks?