Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

press, drip, syphon, clover

Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby Kevin Knox on Tue May 17, 2011 8:05 pm

Hi Chris and Christopher,

Really great, thoughtful posts!

I agree with both of you, and in a way you're both talking about two aspects of the same conundrum. Having long since let the espresso genie out of the bottle, and with a customer base who instead of drinking straight shots from that machine nearly always orders delicious but only tangentially related to the actual taste of coffee milk drinks yet now "knows" that the only coffee worth paying a premium price for comes with theater and is made on the spot just for them, what do we do about advancing the cause of the actual taste of coffee?

It used to drive me crazy that at Peets and Starbucks the folks in charge of retail and those who bought the green coffee invariably drank French Press or straight espresso, yet never offered the former to consumers or promoted the latter as a pinnacle of coffee appreication. If you really want to empower the customer and build appreciation for origin flavor I think you have to strive for a mirroring between what you do in behind the bar and what you want the customer do do at home. Forget about doing that with ~$7000+ of commercial espresso equipment, obviously. Fetco satellite brewer to Technivorm = pretty good mirroring, but where are the retail stores selling Technivorm as their only electric drip offering? Really if retailers cared about meeting the customer where they actually are that is one of the first things to do, complete with shelf-talkers explaining why they are worth $300.

Okay, so we are only going to sell so many $300 electric drip brewers. Next item in my opinion and clearly the centerpiece of retail sales should be 1 liter Nissan thermos with #6 filter cone. Why this rather than the Clever? Because you can brew a much more useful quantity of coffee for most households: a quart rather than a mug, using drip grind, into a bulletproof insulated container that keeps it hot far longer than it really needs to be. If there are two or more coffee drinkers in your household or if you are a glutton (yes & yes, in my case) hands-down it's the way to go. Plus (though it'll give those who weigh their brew water a heart attack) you can just boil some water, fill a typical blade grinder with fresh beans (60-70 grams) and grind for 15 seconds, then pour water through until you've got a thermos of coffee. Technivorm quality+ for under $60 all in.

For single cups or mugs - twelve ounces or so for the sake or argument - I think the twin pinnacles of retail and coffee bar service probably should be the Clever and the Aeropress, with the Aeropress being more versatile and in general producing better coffee - in a fraction of the time of the Clever. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, with the right setup a skilled barista could easily brew a great deal of good coffee on the Aeropress without long waits for customers, and of course at home or in the office an Aeropress combined with a $20 battery-operated milk frother is a much better choice for the person who just wants to start their day with a frothy Caffe Latte than any of the ubiquitous sub-$200 home espresso machines that don't do anything right.

Going back to the theme of those not knowing history being doomed to repeat it, here's a quote from the Coffee Brewing Center (C.B.C.), circa 1968, just for fun:

"The "ideal" coffee maker would be one which meets the following specifications: Maintains exactly correct brewing conditions completely automatically; requires little cleaning, with that which is necessary being both easy and convenient; provides essentially fresh brew in each cup that is served; meets the general requirements of the establishment in which is is used, with respect to cost, size, rates of dispensing and appearance."

43 years later, we're still lookin'.
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby Kevin Knox on Tue May 17, 2011 8:11 pm

Hi Chris and Christopher,

Really great, thoughtful posts!

I agree with both of you, and in a way you're both talking about two aspects of the same conundrum. Having long since let the espresso genie out of the bottle, and with a customer base who instead of drinking straight shots from that machine nearly always orders delicious but only tangentially related to the actual taste of coffee milk drinks yet now "knows" that the only coffee worth paying a premium price for comes with theater and is made on the spot just for them, what do we do about advancing the cause of the actual taste of coffee?

It used to drive me crazy that at Peets and Starbucks the folks in charge of retail and those who bought the green coffee invariably drank French Press or straight espresso, yet never offered the former to consumers or promoted the latter as a pinnacle of coffee appreication. If you really want to empower the customer and build appreciation for origin flavor I think you have to strive for a mirroring between what you do in behind the bar and what you want the customer do do at home. Forget about doing that with ~$7000+ of commercial espresso equipment, obviously. Fetco satellite brewer to Technivorm = pretty good mirroring, but where are the retail stores selling Technivorm as their only electric drip offering? Really if retailers cared about meeting the customer where they actually are that is one of the first things to do, complete with shelf-talkers explaining why they are worth $300.

Okay, so we are only going to sell so many $300 electric drip brewers. Next item in my opinion and clearly the centerpiece of retail sales should be 1 liter Nissan thermos with #6 filter cone. Why this rather than the Clever? Because you can brew a much more useful quantity of coffee for most households: a quart rather than a mug, using drip grind, into a bulletproof insulated container that keeps it hot far longer than it really needs to be. If there are two or more coffee drinkers in your household or if you are a glutton (yes & yes, in my case) hands-down it's the way to go. Plus (though it'll give those who weigh their brew water a heart attack) you can just boil some water, fill a typical blade grinder with fresh beans (60-70 grams) and grind for 15 seconds, then pour water through until you've got a thermos of coffee. Technivorm quality+ for under $60 all in.

For single cups or mugs - twelve ounces or so for the sake or argument - I think the twin pinnacles of retail and coffee bar service probably should be the Clever and the Aeropress, with the Aeropress being more versatile and in general producing better coffee - in a fraction of the time of the Clever. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, with the right setup a skilled barista could easily brew a great deal of good coffee on the Aeropress without long waits for customers, and of course at home or in the office an Aeropress combined with a $20 battery-operated milk frother is a much better choice for the person who just wants to start their day with a frothy Caffe Latte than any of the ubiquitous sub-$200 home espresso machines that don't do anything right.

Going back to the theme of those not knowing history being doomed to repeat it, here's a quote from the Coffee Brewing Center (C.B.C.), circa 1968, just for fun:

"The "ideal" coffee maker would be one which meets the following specifications: Maintains exactly correct brewing conditions completely automatically; requires little cleaning, with that which is necessary being both easy and convenient; provides essentially fresh brew in each cup that is served; meets the general requirements of the establishment in which is is used, with respect to cost, size, rates of dispensing and appearance."

43 years later, we're still lookin'.
Kevin Knox
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:29 pm
full name: Kevin Knox
company: consultant

Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby Kevin Knox on Wed May 18, 2011 5:57 am

Computer gremlins!

Sorry all, but somehow I've managed to duplicate post not once but twice and I can't figure out how to delete them since the "edit" button doesn't pop up. Really sorry for this.
Kevin Knox
 
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby nick on Wed May 18, 2011 8:17 am

It's not computer gremlins, Kevin. It's that instead of using a SINGLE-POST METHOD, you used a BATCH-POST METHOD. See what happens? Wouldn't you rather have just had a single post? :twisted: :lol: 8)
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby Chris Kornman on Wed May 18, 2011 9:54 am

Christopher Schooley wrote:So the one thing left out of this discussion so far is one of the things that most attracts me to the Clever in the first place: showing a customer how easy it is to use and to get a really nice cup of coffee so that they'll spring for the $14-$15 dollars for the device as well as become a regular whole bean customer.
...


Word.
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby Kevin Knox on Wed May 18, 2011 10:43 am

You are just too clever and funny Nick - and in this case you're right!

Agree 100% about the affordability of the Clever, and I think the same criteria should be applied to the other 1-2 cup options as well. An Aeropress is $25. My recommended thermos w. filter cone is $60. All simple, manual, versatile, portable methods that work both behind the bar and at home.

On the other hand, does the fussiness of a Hario Buono kettle fit? How about a $200-300+ Baratza grinder (and I love those grinders - don't get me wrong)? Not to say that everything that goes on in a coffee bar has to translate to home use, but it sure inspires confidence if people can see their coffee being brewed in a way they can easily envision doing themselves.

It also occurs to me that for both high quality and theater one could install a set-up with three burners and three Bodum Santos vacuum pots atop them and handle a decent morning rush coffee demand since unlike smaller vac. pots they brew a liter at a time.
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby phaelon56 on Fri May 20, 2011 7:31 am

My perspective... for the two cents it's worth: I started grinding whole beans just before brewing and using a Melitta cone for "by the pot" pour-over back in 1979. I didn't become involved in coffee in any professional capacity until six years ago . I continue to have just a few toes in the professional coffee pond and the rest of my body in the technology world where a healthy paycheck and benefits keep me for now. I'm also not a super taster, a Q-Grader and don't consider myself to have a golden palate. That being said... I'm in complete agreement with Nick on this. I always got much better results with Melitta than with any consumer home brewing equipment, have played with Fetco extractor series a fair amount, and more recently have begun brewing with Clever as well as the Hario V60.

When all is said and done I consistently get my best results from the V60 pourovers. Are they better than the best possible cup from a properly tweaked Fetco? Maybe yes and maybe no but leave that Fetco brewed coffee in an airpot for 20 minutes and the Hario will always be demonstrably better - IF it was brewed properly. The real challenge is maintaining cup quality in a commercial cafe environment when brewing by the cup for retail customers. If the same level of training, attention to technique and detail etc. is applied to pourover as we see applied to espresso preparation - then I see no reason why pourover should be scoffed at.
Owen O'Neill
Syracuse NY

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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby Tim Dominick on Mon May 23, 2011 12:20 pm

I can relate to Kevin and Chris in my experiences working with what I will call an above average coffee customer.

I think there is a small cult of prosumers who will go all in for brewing gadgets and like collectors, will buy every item that receives the nod from people they respect. They will post flickr and twitter updates of their brewing trials, tweak equipment to achieve something greater than the out of the box technology will allow and fill their kitchens with a coffeeshop worth of gear. Good on them, but this is such a tiny, tiny fraction of the home users. Hell, half of them are ex-coffee pros who have moved on to other industries but can't relinquish the desire to pursue the ultimate cup.

The above average consumer is the person who seeks out fresh coffee and has some interest in preparing it with consistency and ritual. In my case they make the long trip to the edge of town and deal with my "this is what I roasted today" attitude. They have a grinder, likely not a $300 model, and most have escaped the tepid Mr. Coffee for a Chemex, Press Pot, Melitta, Clever or some other device that they can produce a consistent and pleasing cup of coffee with in their homes. They don't want to invest hundreds of dollars into a coffee shrine. This group finds the Clever most appealing because it turns out a solid coffee for minimal investment and it doesn't require a special kettle or foraged stirring stick from the bamboo forests of Xanadu.

As the full time guy at a very small company with a walk-up, I get the chance to make a lot of Clevers for my wholebean customers who have a few minutes to chat. Conversely, as the cup o'coffee source for a big group of factory workers who have a break from 9:00-9:15 our fetco does a bang up job cranking out the 12L of coffee we need to have ready for their short window. If I had a brew bar they would take one look at me, crack me in the jaw and head over to the Chevron.

Most of us have to be careful to assess our customer's level of interest and work hard to give them the best possible tools for their scenario. There are a precious few roasting outfits who can make their living focusing on the ultimate prosumers. Alienating a customer because they have a brewing ritual that doesn't jive with the cutting edge is a real possibility if someone in your company takes a hardline approach when they are talking to an above average consumer.
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby theotherone on Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:28 am

First, Clever loses equivalent amounts of heat during the brew process as say, v60, due to a huge lack of insulation. v60 loses it though the top, Clever through the sides. However, the bigger issue is the absorption of heat by the grounds themselves, coupled with the loss from pouring. Whatever your start temperature is, you can always expect to loose 6-8 degrees immediately. Therefore, it's nearly impossible to have too hot of water. NEARLY. Because of this I use as hot of water as I possibly can especially because of how much heat is lost during the brew process. In reality with most cup at a time brews, you only maintain 195-202 for about a minute to a minute and a half depending on the brewer and how you approach additions of at temperature water. Luckily, this can work with the help of a little turbulence. I am able to extract my desired TDS in as little as 1.5 - 2 minutes. If I do a longer brew on Clever, it yields the same results with a courser grind size, but I don't see why I need to wait longer to achieve the same results. I was incredibly impressed by how many competitors at the Brewers Cup in Houston understood the importance of water temperature. I didn't see anyone use the "proper" temperature water out of the boilers. By the time it is transferred to the pour device, it is around 6 degrees cooler than the boiler reads.

That said, you can use any brew method to prepare well extracted coffee. Chemex, v60, aeropress, press pot, etc. Yes, some are easier to use than others, and some produce cups which we might prefer, but it is very possible to manipulate almost any brew platform to produce a desired strength/extraction. Knocking any brew platform is an exercise in futility. I still can get excellent and CONSISTENT coffee from a Fetco more easily than I can from a manual brew. I choose to manually brew mostly for the zero waste, and a little for the theater. I love the theater because it allows a chance to connect with the consumer in the same way that an espresso machine does.

Lastly, it is very possible to make a hot cup on any brew platform. Have warm cups, use hot enough water to start, and keep your total contact time as low as possible. The longer the water spends with the grounds, the cooler the resulting cup will be. Also, excessive bloom times cool the cup substantially, and are in my humble opinion, a waste of valuable time and heat.
Jonathan S. Jarrow
Harbinger Coffee, LLC

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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby sutono on Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:49 pm

+1 on the ultimo method. As for making more coffee, buy 2 clevers. Clever, eh? Heat loss seems the same as a cupping glass.
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Metropolis Coffee Company
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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby phaelon56 on Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:54 am

theotherone wrote:I didn't see anyone use the "proper" temperature water out of the boilers. By the time it is transferred to the pour device, it is around 6 degrees cooler than the boiler reads.


It's puzzling to me that no one has yet offered an insulated pouring kettle. Thermal carafes are common. As preheated thermal carafe can maintain water within a few degrees of its original temperature for longer than the amount of time it takes to do a manual pourover. That being said... it boils down (pun not intended) to how it tastes in the cup. if with the currently available kettles I can brew a cup with Hario or Clever that is "as good" as what a properly tuned Fetco delivers - yet have zero waste and offer a broader selection of coffees plus a bit of theater - then I doubt that there's much of a market for a thermally insulated kettle.
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Syracuse NY

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Re: Today, the Clever Coffee Dripper

Postby theotherone on Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:37 pm

Amen.
Jonathan S. Jarrow
Harbinger Coffee, LLC

"Happy Martinique! Hospitable land!
In a new world, you were the first
To gather and fertilize this delightful Asiatic berry,
And, in a French soil, to ripen its Ambrosia!
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