When I moved to a new neighborhood last year, my closest coffee shop turned out to be the Manhattan location of a two-store chainlet called Café Grumpy. To my untrained eye, Café Grumpy seemed a typical coffee shop, but I soon discovered it was famous in the coffee world for two reasons: 1. The shop owned two of only 250 Clover coffee makers then in existence. And 2. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz had seen a long line at my Café Grumpy, walked in to the shop, and later declared the coffee made by the Clover to be "the best cup of brewed coffee I have ever tasted." The Clover is a gorgeous stainless-steel device about the size of a microwave that makes just one cup of coffee at a time. It requires a special electrical outlet and more training than a nuclear sub to operate, but it produces coffee that tastes rich and true to the bean without acquiring the over-roasted flavor of most Starbucks coffee or the under-brewed flavor of what comes from most home drip machines. The downside: Clovers cost $11,000 or at least they used to. Starbucks ended up buying the company that developed the Clover which can no longer sell the machines to anyone else and is rolling out single-cup Clover brews in an attempt to revive the mega-chain's slowing business. You can buy Clover coffee at Starbucks locations in Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. Or at the Café Grumpy in my neighborhood.
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