Ken and I have been pals with the folks at Clover since the get-go. The whole crew came to our wedding a few weeks ago (except Anastasia, who was at the Milan show, but she called me from Italy on the big day), and they’re one of my favorite participants at the Nordic Barista Cup. There are several reasons for that: One, of course, they’re all a ton of fun to hang out with and some of the smartest coffee people I know; but two, the Clover is the kind of machine that inspires the entire concept of the Nordic Barista Cup (NBC). As you may know from hearing me ramble about the NBC in the past, it’s one of my favorite events because it’s forward thinking, inspired by teamwork and creative as all get-out. When the organizers of the NBC got wind of this odd new piece of equipment coming out of Seattle that was revolutionizing the way coffee could be brewed, they got on the phone with Zander Nosler and made the connection. The rest is history. Here’s a cute picture of Zander and one of his many Scandinavian fans at the NBC in Copenhagen in 2006:
Remember how when the Clover first came out, it was almost the only thing anyone was talking about on the boards? The top specialty roasters started buying them up for their cafes and also for their training rooms, and legions of both pro and fanatic coffee folks — your truly included — started making treks to the nearest Clover a part of their regular routine.
What’s especially cool about this Economist article, I think, is that it spotlights the single cup phenomenon as something that now goes well beyond the tech geeks and coffee freaks. By-the-cup coffee is getting increasingly more routine to the average consumer (in the West and Northwest, at least, which means other regions aren’t far behind if behind at all). Regular old cafes — meaning places with a staff of 3 or 4 or 5 and which don’t roast — are looking seriously at the Clover not just as something to make them stand out from their neighbors as a place specializing in top notch coffee, but as an honest to goodness profit center for their shop. This is huge.
So we just wanted to take this opportunity to say cheers to our friends at Clover. Well-deserved, guys.