This week Willamette Week (Portland, OR) reported on a new coffee maker — one that has been getting a ton of buzz in coffee aficionado circles — now in use at Portland’s Stumptown: Willamette Week Online | Post: ‘Holy Platinum Percolators! Stumptown’s $11,000 coffee makers’.
Made by Clover of Seattle, the uniqueness of its design is in providing custom time and temperature control that accentuates the unique properties of origin coffees on a per-customer/on-demand basis — something not easily done in a high volume retail environment. It apparently melds the properties of a French press and a vacuum pot. One of my favorite cafés in the world, Caffè Artigiano of Vancouver, BC, for example, has started using a Clover to brew their record-breaking Brazil Cup of Excellence coffee.
I don’t know of any Clovers in use in the Bay Area yet (the nearest one is currently in Portland), but I’ll report when I do. Many claim them to be the biggest breakthrough for brewed coffee in decades. Non-espresso brewed coffee is becoming interesting again.
An American Revolution
The article also mentioned the high-end espresso machines of Seattle-based Synesso. The article quotes a Synesso owner as saying that now “we’re making American espresso on American machines.” It’s a seemingly trite comment, but there has been something of a Western espresso succession from Italy underfoot for years now. I don’t mean in a Starbucks‘ faux-Italian-café kind of way, but rather in how North America has been creating the occasional superior, and far more obsessive, espresso than can be found as a general rule across Italy.
This month’s issue of Barista Magazine (“From Canada to Italy”, by Stephen Morrisey) underscores this experience — where Italian cafés consistently produce good, but not excellent, espresso, and North American cafés generally produce poor espresso with some stellar exceptions.
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