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Starbucks is a lover, not a hater

December 28, 2007

Slate has a good story, although we’ve heard it before, about Starbucks and the independent coffee store.

Contrary to popular imagination, Starbucks has helped grow the coffee house business for everyone.

The article states:

“According to recent figures from the Specialty Coffee Association of
America, 57 percent of the nation’s coffeehouses are still mom and
pops. Just over the five-year period from 2000 to 2005—long after
Starbucks supposedly obliterated indie cafes—the number of mom and pops
grew 40 percent, from 9,800 to nearly 14,000 coffeehouses. (Starbucks,
I might add, tripled in size over that same time period. Good times all

The rise of Starbucks has helped others to develop unique and interesting businesses.

In addition, some great new technology has come to the aid of this small coffee houses in the form of Clover.

Of course, The Economist got to this story first, but here’s how the company describes its machine:

Everyone from the grower to the roaster has worked hard to do right by these beans. Now it’s your turn to make them shine. Clover 1s™ gives you the power to brew each cup to order according to each coffee’s unique characteristics, in a fraction of the time of other single-cup brewing methods. Bring out the subtle nuances of all of your coffees through complete, independent control of all of the important brew parameters: grind size, dose, water temperature, and contact time.

Would you let a latte sit for 20 minutes?

Didn’t think so. So why serve anything less than fresh-brewed coffee? With the Clover, every cup is a hand-crafted, fresh cup. Your customers can now choose any beans on your coffee menu, watch and smell their own coffee brew, discuss the cup with their barista, and enjoy the experience like never before.

It’s 7:05 AM. Do you know what your customers are drinking?

Know with CloverNet™, a service that gives you web access to your Clovers. Find out what’s brewing on each of your Clovers right now, and visualize business trends through real-time charting. CloverNet also makes it easy to update brew parameters for all of your coffees, and to keep your Clovers in peak operation through system monitoring. Ask your roaster’s sales representative about adding CloverNet to your new and existing Clovers. (No rep? Then contact us.) It’s your business; you should know.

It’s a nice piece of kit; that brews individual cups tailored to the beans and it’s even a networked appliance that allows owners to monitor performance in real time. The secret here is the tailoring of the brewing to the bean that creates a noticeable improvement in quality.

In a world that increasingly values personalization, authenticity and quality, Clover is a machine that takes coffee to a new level.

One of the places to benefit from Clover equipment is Ritual, located in the Mission district of San Francisco. Founded by Eileen Hassi. Hassi is an ex-Starbucks employee who’s passionate about coffee quality and roasts coffee on site.

Ritual is Starbucks 2.0, a laid-back environment where gross commercialization and the commodization take a back seat to the DIY feeling, ethics and individuality.

Here’s what the store is like:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Via Peter Klein and thanks to Alex Frankel for introducing me to Eileen.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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