So what if Clover makes the perfect cup of coffee? Isn't it all about getting as caffeinated as possible? Well, when you consider that coffee beans have more than 800 flavor characteristics, compared to red wine's 400 flavor characteristics, then you might start to reconsider what's in your cup [source: Gourmet Coffee Zone]. Clover's ability to bring out this flavor could make coffee into a gourmet industry, similar to wine.
The main components of measuring coffee's taste and flavor are acidity and body. Acidity keeps your coffee from tasting bitter or sour; it's frequently described as the "brightness" of a cup, the thing that's making your tongue tingle a little bit [source: Merchants of Green Coffee, Coffee University]. Body is how the coffee feels in your mouth. Generally, the higher the acidity of coffee, the lower the body. You also evaluate the aroma and finish when tasting coffee flavor.
As we said before, the process of roasting puts this flavor into a coffee bean. Coffee beans are roasted at high heat for various periods of time; longer durations and higher temperatures lead to darker roasts. When the beans are heated, the sugars carmelize and create the oils that give coffee its taste. Generally, medium roasts provide maximum flavor. Darker roasts actually burn off their flavor more, and if the bean is overroasted it may just taste bitter.
When you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you're likely drinking a dark roast, but many Clover fans think that the machine could popularize light and medium roast coffees, which have more nuance and flavor. Brewing extracts the flavorful oils from the grounds, and the factors that you can control with the Clover are some of the main drivers of flavor. These factors are the amount of water, the heat of the water and the dwell time.
All of this is a long way of saying that while the Clover is famous for its yummy coffee, it's not going to turn bad coffee good. The machine helps baristas pull out the flavor that's already there, and baristas still control factors such as measuring and grinding the beans to the right size. We may just be beginning to learn what flavor can be extracted from a coffee bean, but the Clover could go a long way in helping us to extract it.
Clover coffee makers have created a class of mad scientists, replacing test tubes with coffee cups and body parts with coffee beans. Instead of trying to bring Frankenstein to life, they're searching for the perfect cup of coffee. Tinkering with the temperature or stirring the grounds a little differently might yield the ultimate brew, and then when you find it, the controls of the Clover allow you to lock it in, so that you can consistently create it.
Are you interested in a Clover so you can make amazing coffee in your own kitchen? Well, we might have forgotten to mention that the Clover retails for $11,000. Find out the market for these pricey machines on the next page.