Tuesday, December 06, 2005

super auto clover

been reading a bit about the new clover machine. one button coffee that is delicious. everyone seems to think this is highly desirable--just put your stuff up top, hit a button and voila! great coffee quick.

i've also been reading folks' opinions about it on coffee forums. some people mention how a more all-in-one type machine would be an improvement: set up hoppers, grinders, multiple brew baskets, easier puck discarding, etc. that would be great, i say.

then i think, there is often a bit of a backlash in the purist indie coffee world around superautomatic espresso machines. 'the art is gone,' they complain.
while i personally don't have a problem with superautos--they have their place and their target market customer base--some people unleash the vitriol when the supers are even brought up in conversation. i just want to point out the hypocrisy of that thinking with regards to clover, which is poised to become the superautomatic of drip coffee. indeed, the 'improvements' suggested for it by some who have seen it in action only move it further in the superauto direction. no one is shouting, "you're taking the 'art' out of making a french press! you're dumbing down the coffee!" no. all anyone talked about was the ease of use, the near frenchpress/vac pot quality, the willingness they had to sacrifice a slight bit of that quality for ease of use and time cutting.

why the disconnect, then? why not just embrace the technology? clover doesn't mean you lose the connection with coffee. YOU lose the connection with coffee, not the machine with which you choose to brew it. it's the same with supers. YOU lose the connection if you choose. i worked for a year on supers at starbucks after two and a half on a la marzocco linea (philadelphia was about the very last market in starbucks to get switched over from la marzoccos to the superauto verismos). yeah, they're plastickey and unshapely. but i didn't lose my passion for quality espresso, or for foaming just the right microfoam bubbles, or for freepouring the perfect cappuccino or macchiatto (yes, you can get real macchiattos at sbux!) i just channeled that passion through the machine i happened to have access to.

and so it would be with clover. technology is not inherently bad. it's all in how you choose to utilize it. or not.


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