Review: Clover - The Best Single Serve Coffee Machine for Cafés
Is Clover the best single serve coffee machine? Well - it's certainly the most expensive at just over $11,000, but it really isn't designed for at home use. The Clover makes a single serve cup of coffee using ground coffee beans, and is based around a 4500 watt boiler that can run on 240 volt service. The idea is that an espresso cafe can set these up to run fresh grounds through whenever a customer orders up a coffee, much like how the espresso machine runs. For full details on Clover you can read our earlier article here.
We ventured out to Velouria Espresso in Jamaica Plain, MA to get a cup or two of single serve coffee from the fabled Clover. Our mission was to sample as many coffees we could, before becoming so wired we could barely handle ourselves. Mission accomplished. Because of the unique nature of the Clover single serve coffee machine, Velouria Espresso had a sampler menu of up to 5 different coffees made from the Clover for just $9 bucks. A typical cup of Clover produced coffee will run you around $2.
Making a Cup of Single Serve Coffee with the Clover
As we stated above, the Clover's unique single serve coffee design, allows for you to order a variety of coffees one cup at time instead of just ordering whatever the cafe has prepared. At first this may seem more like a tea house in nature, than a cafe, but that's the hook. Like single serve coffee makers you can have at home - the Keurig, Tassimo, or other single serve coffee makers - the variety is what keeps you drinking and enjoying coffee, and having the ability in a cafe is really unique.
The Clover can be adjusted for cup size, water temperature, and of course whatever grind of coffee you choose to use in the Clover can be a factor. Our Clover barista used the drip grind, and had the machine set at 212 F on an 8 oz setting.
The Clover tasting menu of coffees.
You can also order Clover coffee right off the board.
Al the coffees are in little vacuum tight bins to sample from.
We sampled the following coffees:
El Injerto - Guatamala
Elkhill Estate from India
Kongo - Ethiopia
Kigutha - Kenya
House Blend - A Vienna Roast
The experience of getting a different coffee, that had not been sitting in a giant insulated carafe is really amazing. Each cup of coffee had it's own level of complexity, and it was more of a wine tasting experience (we were drinking 4 oz at a time) instead of coffee experience. Also even though we were wired, the cafe was really empty and relaxing, and the entire staff at Single Serve Coffee had a great time discussing each different coffee being prepared by someone else.
Part of the Single Serve Coffee staff discussing our coffee picks.
The Clover Single Serve Coffee machine for Cafes in Action
Check out our video of the Clover in action. The coffee cups seem to disappear in the video, but that's because our Clover barista is very fast with the cup delivery.
The Clover at Velouria Espresso.
Our Clover barista making sure the grounds and hot water are mixed up right.
The Clover does indeed change the coffee shop experience. With the Clover you can sample many types of unique coffees much like you can in your own home using your own single serve coffee machine. The big difference? The experience of the cafe and the quality of the coffee produced from the Clover is a new benchmark for single serve coffee out of the home. Sure you could compare this to going to a restaurant and getting a French Press all to yourself, but in a French Press the coffee keeps steeping, and often gets overdone. The Clover is a great method to get the same type of unique coffee every-time you visit your local cafe, and we hope to see more Clovers in more coffee shops in the future.
We also think this has to be the next wave of coffee in coffee shops. If Starbucks and other establishments don't offer this in their cafes, we think the customers who have the Clover experience where Clover is available, will have a hard time going back to one or two choices.
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