Friday, March 26, 2010


During our walk around Pike Place Market on Monday morning, Sally and I ducked into Starbucks across from the market entrance for coffee with our Russian pastries. We don't always choose Starbucks, but the only alternative we could find nearby was "Seattle's Best", which I find really isn't.

Anyway, as we ordered our coffee a cheery faux-barista asked if we'd like to try coffee from their Clover machine. Perhaps you've not heard about the Clover. It's the automated press type machine that sells for $11,000, and which Starbucks exec Howard Schultz "discovered" on an east coast trip. It turned out that the Clover was manufactured in Ballard, WA, just across town from Starbucks headquarters. Schultz liked the coffee so much that he bought the Clover company, much to the dismay of non-Starbucks coffee shops who promptly stopped using their Clovers in protest.

Well, I couldn't pass up a steaming sample of the beverage at the heart of this brew-ha-ha, and so I requested something in a Sumatran vein. As the baristette brewed my cup, she explained that, unlike a French press in which the water is on the grounds for 4 minutes, the Clover brew extraction process lasts just 30 seconds. Sally mentioned that it sounded like our Presso. It was then that it hit me: I've been in Clover all along!

Our morning coffee (and afternoon and sometimes evening) is brewed in a Presso machine that Evan originally discovered. Manufactured in Canada, it is now sold through All-Clad on Amazon for $119. True, I have to create the pressure for pulling the hot water through the grounds manually, rather than it being automated. And true, it's pressure from above rather than suction from below that accomplishes the process. But in both cases boiling water is drawn through grounds in a process lasting about 30 seconds. One process is automated on an $11,000 machine at Starbucks in selected locations, and the other is manual on a $119 machine in my kitchen.

Pretty good coffee in both instances. In contrast though, mine is practically priceless.

No comments:

Post a Comment