Clover

press, drip, syphon, clover

Postby Andy Schecter on Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:32 am

Jeff Jassmond wrote:It's such a new technology that none of us have any idea what we're doing.

Mark Prince wrote:it seems in this quest to keep the Clover's brew time under 1 minute, the volume of dose has gone up dramatically....Why is the 40, 45 second brew time seemingly so sacred, but the dose is all over the map?

Keith wrote:I guess im shocked to find out how much coffee that the clover sucks down and that is considered acceptable.


I'm surprised that Clover owners haven't reported the results of experiments performed with "normal" doses (5-6% brewing ratio) and "normal" steep times (2-4 minutes)...or maybe you have and I've missed it. These slower brew techniques might be impractical for serving hurried commuters, but they might result in great coffee without the dramatic updosing.

Consider two Clover machines, sitting side by side. The first has a sign over it saying, "Perfectly Brewed Esmeralda, One Minute Service, $22."

The second machine has a sign saying, "Perfectly Brewed Esmeralda, Three Minute Service, $15."

From which machine would YOU order?

For busy shops where customers are willing to accept the three-minute brew time, a three or four cylinder Clover would keep up with demand.

Or, for you Bimmer aficionados, a straight-six.
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Postby Robert Goble on Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:40 am

nick wrote:
Ryan Willbur wrote:Keith, I'm not opting to throw out the SCAA standard... but I'm not about to swear by it. I'm just saying maybe we should take another look at the Gold Cup and whatnot...

Have you taken a "first look" before you ask for "another look?" Do you know what the SCAA brewing standards are, and what they're based on?

I have no issue with people being contrarian, but know what the f*ck you're being contrarian against first.

Ryan Willbur wrote:Yes, we could present this in another manner... but we do all this and still have it presented in a way that allows busy morning commuters to enjoy a beautiful pristine cup of coffee on their way wherever... I'm sorry, but this is not possible with press pot, chemex, or (my fav.) vac pot.

You're absolutely wrong.

Ryan may be a young guy, and he may not currently own a coffee empire, but he's doing coffee nick -- just like you. He's working for a great company, and getting a lot of world class training and close support, and he's got the passion to go along with it. I had no problem following his arguments and criticisms -- they were well reasoned and presented.
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Postby onocoffee on Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:27 am

Andy Schecter wrote:I'm surprised that Clover owners haven't reported the results of experiments performed with "normal" doses (5-6% brewing ratio) and "normal" steep times (2-4 minutes)...or maybe you have and I've missed it. These slower brew techniques might be impractical for serving hurried commuters, but they might result in great coffee without the dramatic updosing.


But it seems that this approach renders the clover flaccid. The big "thing" about the clover when it debuted was the 40 second extraction time that rivaled or bested the french press and other brewing methods.

In many ways, the clover is about automatic speed.

Companies such as Grumpy in NYC or now Intelligentsia in L.A. tout the clover as a replacement for drip, but that's a double dose and $22,000 investment, plus additional training and the cost of additional coffee.

To promote the clover as a 4 minute brewer really brings it to the level of a Fetco, Bunn, French Press or Melitta filter - and how do you justify the additional cost when it's doing little more than a 2031?

Right now, I think the clover can be a great tool for tweaking and playing around with coffee. Like Jeff said, it's a way to explore what coffee has to offer. I personally find it a tough sell as a drip/press replacement - especially for the exorbitant price tag. The cost is something that really only makes sense for a well-financed company like Intelligentsia.
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Postby Robert Goble on Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:58 am

onocoffee wrote:The cost is something that really only makes sense for a well-financed company like Intelligentsia.

This just isn't true Jay. (disclosure - Elysian Coffee is a national Clover dealer). We have placed more Clovers with small independent retailers than anyone in the world -- complete unknowns some of them with limited capital. The numbers work out just fine for them and I've yet to have a single customer struggle to justify their purchase within their business model.

I know you're a skeptic with regard to Clover - but to make statements like the above -- statements that are sweeping and unsupported (and you do this about the Clover all the time) is irresponsible. Yes the cost of a Clover is high relative to alternative brewing methods... but lay out a business case (an actual business case) where one has failed and I'll be the first to read it. The Clover is not for everyone, or every business model.... but it works well in many business models, and one need not be a large company or even a famous company to have Clover contribute to the success of their business.

What do you think? Do you think you have the data to offer and back up statements about the applicability of Clover to a specific business model?

R.
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Postby Robert Goble on Sat Oct 20, 2007 10:12 am

Been thinking of splitting this thread off (it's totally schizophrenic) but as it's in the members section I'm going to leave it un-pruned for now because I can't quite figure out how to split it off without making a bigger mess. Just another tough day in the coffee business!
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Postby barry on Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:19 pm

Keith wrote:Ryan I just dont get your suggestion to toss out the SCAA standards. I dont mean that those standards are a sacred cow, but I do know what 44 grams of coffee in a 12 ounce press would taste like.


Try it with a 45 second steep time. ;)

It sounds as if the SOP for the Clover is to brew underextracted & underdiluted coffee (which can taste very good, btw; look at the rising popularity of ristretto espresso). Or, rather, if the "under-" implies some sort of benchmark that might offend, then "less-extracted" and "less-diluted" coffee.
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Postby Mark Prince on Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:19 pm

LOL! Sure glad Rob put in the disclaimer / disclosure before going on the Clover defense ;)

I was talking to Vince about this 40-45 second "holy grail" concept re the Clover, and he had a much simpler defense.

He said they tried experimenting with longer brew times, but the result was, IIRC, "ashy" coffee (along with other descriptives for how the coffee suffered).

I suggested then it was possibly a filtration issue (ie, the filter may need further looking at), one that perhaps has problems with longer steep times; also possibly a heat loss issue with that large tube holding the coffee brew exposed to air.

If there are taste issues because of longer steep times, then that's something valid for sure - and holding the brew to under a minute to avoid these issues makes more sense than holding onto >1min steep times for the marketing effect.

But if the Clover provides an unfriendly environment to coffees if you steep for 90 seconds, 120 seconds, etc etc, maybe there's other approaches still to come from Clover Co. on fixing this.

Problem is, I haven't read anything from Clover proponents saying longer steep times have their set of issues. So is it an issue? Is the coffee suffering? The first I've heard of it was from Vince.

I won't even touch the discussion about how the Clover makes sense for a shop just starting out. ;)

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Postby Kyle Glanville on Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:13 pm

Actually, I enjoy french press style four minute Clovers quite a bit. This definitely works, and removes a lot of the pressure for perfect technique. That said, we do look for a balance of dose and time that yields a delicious cup and gets folks out the door.

Our customers are enamored with the fact that we brew everything to order, and most do not bat an eyelash at the cost.

Jay, I have not and don't intend on touting the Clover as a replacement for drip. It's just another way to make coffee, and we're happy with the way our coffee tastes. We recently abandoned our triple urn not because we don't like the taste but rather because we feel we have a good thing going customizing the cup for all of our customers. We also offer brewed to order Chemex and use a much more reasonable dose.
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Postby onocoffee on Sat Oct 20, 2007 3:46 pm

Robert-
I'm going to have call skepticism on what you've written above.

And I'm going to view it like La Marzocco.

While many of the people we know may have a La Marzocco and work very hard to make their coffee sing through the Linea or GB5, there are still many more La Marzoccos out there being used by cafes who have little to no idea what they are doing.

It's already been stated in this thread that people have gone to clover shops and received disappointing coffees.

Fact remains that it's the quality conscious shops that will make an effort no matter what machine they're using and I'll venture to say that a portion to a good portion of your installed clover user base is just using it willy-nilly. Whether this is "good" or "bad" is irrelevant. It's the nature of the game.

On the many business models that the clover works well in, how about sharing some of those models? I'm still trying to understand what that model is. Or are we just talking blind passion here that throws caution to the wind and eleven thousand dollars per unit? Last year, a friend shared his angle on the clover and found a way to pay for the unit in 40 days with non-COE, non-expensive coffee that sold for $3.50 per cup. Not exactly the business model that I felt comfortable emulating.

Sweeping and unsupported statements? Hmmm, if I randomly said that clover was the best thing since roasted coffee and Lindsay Lohan, no one would make any claim over "sweeping and unsupported" statements. But to call the machine, its' costs and practices into question and suddenly I need hard facts?

While there are many directions we could take, there is only one that matters to me. And that is the eleven thousand dollar cost and how long it would take for my company to cover that investment. Convince me and give me compelling reasons why my company can't operate without a clover and I'll be sold. Communicating passion and understanding about the coffee is compelling but that's not something limited to clover.

Within this discussion, we've touched on several points about the clover:
- 40-45 second desired extraction time
- higher coffee to water ratio at Intelligentsia L.A.
- 8 to 10 "tries" in order to "dial in" the clover
- Grumpy and Intelly deploying twin clovers to handle the rush
- clover as a drip/press replacement
- $11,000 price tag

You know, I want to like the clover. I like the people associated with it. I like many of the people using it. I had the opportunity to sample quite a number of coffees when it debuted two years ago and I've have many cups of clover'd coffee since - the most memorable being the Red Mountain by Counter Culture at Grumpy NYC, which had many of the same characteristics (and that ubiquitous "cleanliness" from clover) that I tasted with the same coffee prepared in a french press a couple of days before.

In spite of my skepticism, I'm still looking for "the" reason to buy one.


Andy Schecter wrote:Or, for you Bimmer aficionados, a straight-six.


And at the current price structure, add a couple more barrels and you could own an M5...
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Postby Alistair Durie on Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:48 pm

Its very difficult to post a response to Jay and Mark here, as they would be the first to call me a bias defender of the Clover. Against my better judgement (ie Robert), I will do so anyhow.

I am puzzled by Jay and Marks constant battering of a new coffee brewing technology, which through its flexibility and easy delivery has brought much awakening for so many consumers and retailers to the big world of coffee. In the past 2 years I have seen tremendous progress and increased respect for coffee, for which the Clover deserves some serious credit. As do you Mark, for Coffeegeek.com which gets so many people interested in coffee every day. Jay, I'm sure you've done something too, as do so many people here. I find it of great concern that the community here is constantly instigated into such ridiculous debate when there is so much work waiting for us to do.

Jay and Mark are upset and very vocal about their Clover experiences not being stellar. What does this do for you? What does publishing this do for you and do for the benefit of coffee? Remember, it is only a machine. It is only as good as the signal you provide it. I'd welcome you to come over to our lab and explore how to make this technology perform. It is an extraordinary capable device that offers whatever possibility you care to explore. What more do you expect? As I like to say, you can take great coffee and great equipment and make really bad coffee. Just like espresso, you don't just step up to a Clover and throw some coffee at it. You've got to work with it.

Mark, your lack of interest in the Clover is shocking.

As for you Jay, as you often do, you haven't thought this through. You are always talking about the damn price. I suggest you work with a Clover for a few days, spend real time with it, before you publish your opinions. You are so very quick to judge without experience, and without data.

Part 2:

As many of you know I am a brewed coffee fanatic. I don't think I would still be in coffee if it was all about espresso, my real excitement is in brewed coffee. When I crave coffee, I'm cupping, or I'm drinking Clover. In our lab it is easy to prepare any type of coffee from drip to vac pot, and I go back to the Clover because I really want to sit and drink that coffee profile. Like every other brewing method, it is not always consistent, it is finicky, it is elusive. It is seldom what I expect it to be, which is a magical reminder that coffee is something we will never really be able to perfectly control. I am quite certain in saying that the Clover is only just beginning to be understood, and we are only just beginning to explore the possibilities of what it can do for coffee. Another certainty I have is that The Coffee Equipment Co. who make the Clover are coffee fanatics, and they are dedicated to making a machine that brews great coffee with the least amount of compromises possible, and which is realistic enough to install and run in a coffee shop. They are driven by the goal of bringing great coffee to the world.

Whatever the method, I am a huge advocate of fresh brewed choices by the cup in a coffee shop. However you can do it, whether it be press, single prep drip, Aeropress, or Clover, whatever, there are so many excellent reasons to make this happen. Its not an easy thing to pull off in a retail store. The Clover makes it an immediate possibility for new retailers, and every retailer we have worked with are loving it, and their customers are loving it.

Whenever there is a better way to realistically offer that coffee experience, you'll find me using it. Meanwhile the Clover is here, what are you doing about it?
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Postby Mark Prince on Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:20 pm

Kyle Glanville wrote:Actually, I enjoy french press style four minute Clovers quite a bit. This definitely works, and removes a lot of the pressure for perfect technique.


Do you change anything else except for the grind, Kyle? What about the filter? IIRC, there were several different styles of Clover filters in the past. Also, I'd heard that Clover is continually refining the filter - does this affect longer steep times?

I can't figure out why a 45 second brew on the device would deliver a happy cup, but a longer brew (assuming the grind stays the same or nearly so) of maybe 90 seconds would deliver what Vince calls "ashy".

The only way I can put this into perspective is this way: with those 4 cup bodums, the brew is noticably different if you do a 4min steep with the plunger not in place vs. brewing normally (pour, stir or no stir, put plunger in place right away, don't plunge for 4 mins). Brewing with the wide 4 cup bodum sans cover over the brew for the 4 min steep results, at least in my limited experience doing it, in a more muted, "flat" coffee.

Mark
PS - for the last year or so, I haven't used the plunger during steeps on my bodums - I use an insulated cover "disc" I found made out of thick silicone. Works nice, and lets the bloom move about more.
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Postby Mark Prince on Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:56 pm

Argh. I wasn't going to add to the flames, but, I can't resist this one quote:

Alistair Durie wrote:Mark, your lack of interest in the Clover is shocking.


As I said in PM to you a few mins ago, I find the Clover an interesting and fascinating concept - very exciting, though no more exciting to me than, say, Elektra's new grinder, or the work Dalla Corte is doing on their espresso machines, or for that matter new developments other manufacturers are making in both the espresso and coffee worlds. If Technivorm decided to develop a new vacuum brewer, I'd be just as excited an interested in that as I am with the Clover.

The Clover's not a be all, end all of coffee for me. If that's what's expected of the device, then I guess my interest level is lacking.

Anyway, my remarks in this thread regarding the Clover are mostly about challenging the need to dose up to 50g of coffee to get a <16oz cup. If that's bashing the brewer, so be it I guess.

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Postby onocoffee on Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:01 am

A "constant battering of a new coffee brewing technology"?

I didn't realize that questioning and examining the clover was "too much" for this forum.

At this point, it becomes difficut (nee impossible) to separate Alistair: the coffee purist, from Alistar: the Canadian national distributor of clover. I can understand your apprehension about these clover discussions. They're serious critiques of the clover and its' deployment in the retail environment, and they have the potential to make it harder for you to sell the clover - I get it.

In a clover-fied world, there would be no questions about clover and everyone would mindlessly fork over their eleven thousand dollars for one (or more) and sing the clovers' praises as though it were the Second Coming. But that's not the case. We're in this world where skepticism and questions abound regarding clover and its' deployment into the retail environment.

While clover is a remarkable machine, to state that it "deserves serious credit" for the awakening of consumers and retailers to the "big world of coffee" is quite a lot of hype and a distortion of reality. The "awakening" of consumers and retailers is because of people. Passionate people who carry the message of quality coffee forward and preach its' word. It's not the advent of some machine that makes this happen. It's people, their skill, their knowledge and their passion.

Let's not get so carried away with clover worship that we miss what's going on.

...you haven't thought this through. You are always talking about the damn price.


I'm starting to notice a trend with you, Alistair. Once I post something that actually rankles your goat and makes you uncomfortable, you want to claim that I "haven't thought things through." It's mildly amusing - especially since I'm very transparent about my questions, concerns and reasons.

And then there's the price thing. Eleven Thousand Dollars is quite a bit of money. Especially for the smaller retailer. Now, perhaps you want everyone to avoid the price discussion because it's so exhorbitant, but that's not going to happen. The price is a very important part of the clover discussion.

Bottom line is that I've spent a considerable amount of time working with the clover over the past two years. I've played with it, taken it for a drive, had many different coffees at many different parameters. I'll even venture to say that I've had more "hands on" time with the clover than many of your customers did before they paid their eleven grand - and I'm still not convinced.

What I find most curious about this turn in the discussion is that even with our lack of "experience' and "data" - had we been calling the clover the next greatest thing since Lindsay Lohan and Jell-O wrestling, there would be no problem. Hell, go spend your eleven thousand dollars on one - even if you don't know why or what this machine can do - it doesn't matter, because it's still "early" and we're still "learning" what's capable. Suddenly, there would be no name-calling, innuendoes or telling me that I hadn't "thought this through."

If I was "so quick to judge" and had bought a Clover in Oct 2005, then I would be cool and hip....?

Whew, I didn't realize that any question or critique around the Canadian National Distributor of clover would get me labelled so quickly.





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Postby Matthew Kolehmainen on Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:53 pm

Just wanted to weigh in with a few thoughts.

While it is true that Alistair is my boss, I want to make it clear that I have absolutely no problem in having opinions contrary to his, and have no problem in expressing them either, as I have on several occasions. My opinions on the Clover are completely my own.

I've had the opportunity to work with the Clover for about a year now, and I am continually in amazement of the machine. Every time I get the chance to play with coffee and parameters, I discover something new and exciting about the capabilities of this machine, and the coffee that you brew with it. I think one of the reasons that it excites me so much is the sheer control you have over the brewing process. There is no other machine I know of that gives the operator this level of control over the whole brewing process. Clover allows you to tweak the entire extraction process in terms of grind, dose, time, volume, starting and finishing temperatures and agitation. This control and repeatability of the process is something that I've been looking for in coffee for a long time, and have never found. For once we can explore the spectrum of a coffee in a precise way. Cupping is a very valuable tool, in that it allows procedural consistency, but it only presents the coffee in light of certain non-alterable parameters. I've always wondered why there has been such an adherence to somewhat ad hoc parameters that have been stated as the parameters for great coffee. Go outside the box, people! Clover allows us to do this with repeatable results.

Jay wrote:But to call the machine, its' costs and practices into question and suddenly I need hard facts? While there are many directions we could take, there is only one that matters to me. And that is the eleven thousand dollar cost and how long it would take for my company to cover that investment. Convince me and give me compelling reasons why my company can't operate without a clover and I'll be sold. Communicating passion and understanding about the coffee is compelling but that's not something limited to clover.


Yes Jay, you need hard facts. I really don't see why the cost is something that people are so fixated on. The Clover, for me, is currently the only machine that allows anywhere near the level of exploration and repeatability for coffee brewing. If your business strives for this degree of quality, the price is immaterial. As for the communication of passion and understanding, I completely agree. The Clover is just another (albeit very important) tool in that communication for me.

Another aspect of the discussions surrounding Clover that bothers me is the fallacious assumption that Clover is in someway a replacement for drip coffee. While it is true that at the cafe we use the Clover for almost all our brewed coffee, I don't think that these two brewing methods should be considered interchangeable. Drip coffee has a very specific time and place in my opinion morning rushes that are mostly about getting coffee to people in a certain amount of time. These consumers are not particularly interested in the nuance of the coffee they are drinking; they simply want their morning caffeine fix. Now I'm not suggesting that drip is any way inferior to Clover, but it has its limitations(as does the Clover), one being the limited serving time. Drip, then, is perfect for morning rushes in that it allows you to serve fresh, high quality coffee to a large number of people. Maybe some of these people will notice that quality, and come back at a later time to enjoy that quality. This is where Clover is perfect. It allows you to again provide a fresh, high quality coffee even during slow periods. But there is more to it than that. The Clover is another brewing method altogether, with a completely different profile than any existing methods, and I think this fact is sometimes glossed over in the attempt to frame the Clover as a drip replacement. My guess is that high doses are an attempt to make the Clover profile more similar to a drip profile, which I feel is completely unnecessary. It is not necessarily a replacement for drip coffee, but is better thought of as a new brewing method that can exist alongside the existing methods, providing yet another perspective into the coffee a perspective that I believe finally brings the ability for repeatable experimentation and exploration.

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Postby Alistair Durie on Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:10 pm

thread has been split.
anyone opposed to moving this thread to the public brewing forum, send me a pm.
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Postby Brett Hanson on Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:20 pm

I realize I'm joining late, so I'll try to stick to what I think are the facts...

Clover is not the end of coffee as we know it. It is part of the next great crop of tools available to us today as we push coffee excellence towards the future.

If you choose to use this tool, super. If you choose to ignore it or use other tools (press pots, vac pots, etc), enjoy.

I'm sure Robert and Alistair can put together a business case for you that will work, but depending on the goals of your business or cafe, clover may not be right for you. If you have an expensive-rent 200 square foot shop focused on pushing 1000 to-go cups of drip coffee out per hour, get yourself a wall of fetcos. If your shop is solely focused on multi-region espresso and you only have (3) coffee blends- espresso, latte, and decaf (a very successful model for some I might add), why would you bother with a clover?

The clover points that stick out for me are the following.
(1) With careful baristi and proper tools (grinder, whisk, etc) a cafe can use the clover to dial in and produce a tasty, repeatable cup for its customers. This allows a cafe to produce great cups of coffee from their full lineup on demand, with limited waste and clean-up.

(2) If deployed thoughtfully, the clover can be a very useful labor saving device. As cafe people, we must make a choice every day (whether we explicitly state it or not)- do we want our passionate, knowledgeable baristi talking coffee to our customers OR cleaning dishes? The time is the same and you can't fool the employee timeclock- 30 seconds to talk to a customer about the new COE that just arrived OR 30 seconds to dump, disassemble, and scrub a press pot- you make the call? This, for me, is where the comparisons to press pots and vac pots fall apart. In my home, I can spend 15 minutes getting my press pot around and cleaning up (I'm slow, true, but I'm not losing any sales); no-one has that luxury of time in their shops. Therefore, in my estimation, the labor savings by using clover (in conjunction with its ability to produce a good cup of coffee- not arguing "best" here) have the ability to trump "quality only" comparisons.

(3) The length and ferocity of this thread speaks for itself - clover has forced us all to take another passionate look at coffee. What are our goals? Fast accurate sampling to promote whole bean sales (and by extension hard-working farmer income)? Time saving premium coffee to boost baristi salaries? A true culinary "just for you" customer experience that takes the coffee craft to the next level? The clover can help with some of these, but even if the discussion just spurs you think about or re-focus your business to consider these lofty goals, I think we've all won.
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Postby Kyle Glanville on Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:13 am

Jay -

I'll take your bait on justifying price on simply a cup by cup basis. I will make some assumptions and you let me know where I can alter this.

Let's say your costs are this :

Roasted and shipped coffee : $9 / lb
Barista labor : $15 / hr

For a cup of drip coffee you are using 22g per 12oz cup. You charge $1.75 per 12oz cup. you're labor for preparation is 20 seconds. So, your costs are :

Coffee : $.437
Labor : $.083

Total cost of cup : $.52
Total Profit per cup : $1.23

For a cup of Clover'd coffee you are using 46g of coffee. you charge $2.50 per 12oz cup. You're labor for preparation is 30 seconds. So, you're costs are :

Coffee : $.913
Labor : $.125

Total Cost of Cup : $1.038
Total Profit per Cup : 1.462

... Which represents about a 19% increase in profit per cup, if my math doesn't totally suck (which it might)
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Postby onocoffee on Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:33 am

Kyle-
Thanks for "taking the bait". I'll presume to roll with the numbers you've provided, although I think the actual labor cost for clover is double or triple what you've quoted because I don't know if the barista has much time with a 40 second pull to do much anything else, not to mention squeegy-ing, wiping and perhaps a cleaning flush.

So, I took the liberty of taking your numbers and plugging them into my handy-dandy "Spro Coffee Margin Analysis Master of Disaster Control Modulator" spreadsheet that I use to calculate margins and help guide decisions (like the decision to eliminate the 16z latte). In my ideal world, each drink would price out at a 30% (or less) cost. Meaning that the coffee, cup, lid and all that jazz - excluding labor, utilities and rent, equals 30% of the retail price. It's a "standard" measurement used throughout the restaurant business that I find applies nicely to our operations.

Of course, in the real world, not every item runs at 30% cost. Some are higher, some are lower. Some get eliminated because the cost is "too high" (like the 16z lattes' 55% cost).

Currently, our 12z press coffee costs out at 34.86%. It's slightly higher than I would like but we sell a bit of press and that makes up the difference.

Under the scenario you proposed (and using your hypothetical coffee number, which is very close to our actual cost), at our current price of $1.67 our cost would be 64.25% - which, of course, would be unacceptable. At the slightly higher price of $1.75, our cost would be 61.31% - still unacceptable.

If we priced the clover at your suggested price of $2.50, then our cost lowers to 42.92% - while it's an improvement, it's still on the very steep side and I worry that it starts to border on the high side of what people are willing to pay.

In order to bring the cost down to the 30% mark, we would have to price a cup of clover'd coffee at $3.50 (30.66%) and I'm uncomfortable at this time dropping press service and offering clover'd coffee at this price for what is our "regular" coffee. A "special" and "expensive" coffee, perhaps.

Just like the 16z latte which, in order to meet a 30% cost, would have to be priced at $6.25, I think it's "too much" to charge in the current market.

I should also note that your example used the actual money per cup over cost as a control point. Just for reference, here's the actual amount in "profit" we would make on each cup:

$1.67 - $ 0.60
$1.75 - $ 0.68
$2.50 - $ 1.43
$3.50 - $ 2.43

So as you can see, even though we would "make" $1.43 on a $2.50 priced cup of clover, it's actually misleading because we would still be losing money once the rest of our operations have been deducted. This presumes that our operational costs will equal roughly 60% of the retail price, leaving us with a 10% profit.

Thoughts?
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Postby Jeff Givens on Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:36 am

Kyle Glanville wrote:Jay -

I'll take your bait on justifying price on simply a cup by cup basis. I will make some assumptions and you let me know where I can alter this.

Let's say your costs are this :

Roasted and shipped coffee : $9 / lb
Barista labor : $15 / hr

For a cup of drip coffee you are using 22g per 12oz cup. You charge $1.75 per 12oz cup. you're labor for preparation is 20 seconds. So, your costs are :

Coffee : $.437
Labor : $.083

Total cost of cup : $.52
Total Profit per cup : $1.23

For a cup of Clover'd coffee you are using 46g of coffee. you charge $2.50 per 12oz cup. You're labor for preparation is 30 seconds. So, you're costs are :

Coffee : $.913
Labor : $.125

Total Cost of Cup : $1.038
Total Profit per Cup : 1.462

... Which represents about a 19% increase in profit per cup, if my math doesn't totally suck (which it might)


The key thing that was overlooked in those calculations is that a drip brewer costs ~$800 while the Clover... well, we know what the Clover costs. That's a lot of extra cups to sell when the difference is 23 cents between drip and Clover.
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Postby nick on Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:07 am

Jeff, that's true...

...but don't forget: with batch-brewing, to maintain quality, you're dumping a certain quantity of coffee down the drain. With the Clover, there's much less waste... unless you're playing "dial-it-in" to the extreme.
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Postby Kyle Glanville on Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:15 am

I was basing time numbers off the Intelli LA model where one person cranks out 2 per minute during peak hours.

BTW we released our new Kenya on the Clover today. Been selling it for $3.25 a cup - it is by far outselling all other coffees. Interesting....
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Postby onocoffee on Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:23 pm

$3.25? Interesting. But what is your cost percentage on the Kenya?

As the roaster I surmise your costs are less than the rest of us.

Also, is the Kenya a "special" coffee, hence the higher per cup price? If so, how do you make it work on a profit level? Or are these coffees being sold at a loss?
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Postby Kyle Glanville on Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:41 pm

Its only special in the way that its so delicious :)

Otherwise its price per pound is in line with all the other DT coffees. So the increase of $.75 is pure profit.
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Postby Alistair Durie on Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:32 pm

This thread has been split and moved from another conversation in the members only section.
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Postby scottlucey on Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:36 pm

is it really that baffling to see the 40-45 sec. brew time?
now would be a great place for some expert words on the pressurized vacuum... to me, it is one of the more major factors with why clover is something to check out.
i wouldn't say these short steep times are just marketing value, they're a result of how the machine was designed to work, the pressurized vacuum being one of a few main highlights. i think.

in my undereducated opinion, i didn't think that recommended steep time was just marketing, it was a result of design and concept in making amazing coffee in the quickest time.

compare brew methods with water pressure/production time, grind, and dose, and it's interesting b/c on one end we have
ESPRESSO with it's 'espresso' grind, it's wide wide range of dosing weights, updosing/not updose, basket size, 'whether you can pull as good of a single 7g. shot as you can with a 16-18-21 gram', etc... (sample of debates)(we're hitting home with this example.)
and then the general 'other end' can be
PRESS, DRIP, VACUUM, POUR OVER - all methods that generally have a coarser grind, longer production time, and kind of more standard dose (and whats not that standard 'we' don't hassle about it that much)

this range allows clover to fit into it nicely, especially with a pressurized filter vacuum and ability to brew such a small amount per order. it is opening up minds/driving people crazy thinking about playing around with grind, dose, temps. thats ok, but not fun if you have to pay a lot for the mistakes.
in trying to find the best way to brew from my eva solo, aaron ultimo shared with me his thoughts he was having success with, thoughts from peter g. with thinking about clover's short brew time and stirring, i was recommended to grind finer, agitate a little more, and steep less. eva solo - a bit finer than drip, approx. 1min. agitation, 1min. steep = 2 min brew... play around with dose weight and i've found a great way for this device. (and i apologize if i butchered a longer/better explanation from aaron & peter on that comparison, perhaps start the eva solo thread.)


this thread is yeowza
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