March 28, 2008

Cloverbucks - Diner’s Journal - Dining & Wine - New York Times Blog

"So, in essence, cafes that have been using Clovers and the CloverNet have been helping to document and codify a body of knowledge about how the machine, which really is a new bit of technology, functions and performs.

They helped the company compile data about sales, about how the machines are holding up in the field and which specific times, doses and temperatures showcased individual coffees best. Now that information is something that Starbucks a direct competitor to every small cafe in the country has ownership of, and soon it will no longer be available to original Clover users. "

Whoa, that turns the Starbucks Clover acquisition more than a few shades more diabolical... Ultimately I hope it'll work out well for all parties, Starbucks still (or no longer in some cases) can't make good espresso so the indie market has a huge market space. Meanwhile if Starbucks starts making some decent lighter roasts for their new Clovers then coffee quality rises across the country.

The big question remaining is whether someone steps up and creates a Clover competitor for the indie market. Without it there is a nasty gap in the market. It's doubtful Starbucks will be able to brew the uberpremium stuff that places like Intelligencia & Grumpy are producing, and the indies that can do it won't be able to get the machines to do the style.

Posted by William Blaze at March 28, 2008 04:29 AM