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Does Starbucks still use Clover machines?


The use of brewing machines plays a significant role in the coffee industry, impacting the taste and quality of the final product. Starbucks, being one of the largest coffee chains in the world, has always emphasized its commitment to providing exceptional coffee experiences to its customers. One machine that gained attention for its ability to enhance the flavors of specialty coffees is the Clover brewing system. In this article, we will explore whether Starbucks still uses Clover machines, the history and features of the Clover brewing system, and the impact it has had on Starbucks’ coffee offerings.

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Does Starbucks still use Clover machines?

The Clover Brewing System:

1.1 Introduction to the Clover Machine:

The Clover brewing system is a specialized coffee machine that was developed by the Coffee Equipment Company (CEC), which was later acquired by Starbucks. The machine gained popularity due to its unique brewing method that allows baristas to extract the full flavor potential of coffee beans, particularly specialty and single-origin coffees.

1.2 Method of Operation:

The Clover brewing system operates using a combination of vacuum and French press brewing techniques. The barista controls the brewing parameters, such as water temperature, contact time, and agitation, to extract the desired flavors from the coffee grounds.

Starbucks and the Clover System:

2.1 Starbucks’ Acquisition of Clover:

In 2008, Starbucks acquired the Coffee Equipment Company, including the rights to the Clover brewing system. This acquisition highlighted Starbucks’ commitment to providing a unique coffee experience and showcasing the flavors of specialty coffees to its customers.

2.2 Introduction of Clover Machines in Starbucks Stores:

Following the acquisition, Starbucks introduced Clover machines in select stores as a way to offer customers a premium brewing experience. The Clover brewing system was positioned as a way to showcase the flavor profiles of small-lot, single-origin, and limited-release coffees.

The Impact of the Clover System:

3.1 Enhanced Flavor Extraction:

The Clover brewing system is known for its ability to extract a wide range of flavors from coffee beans. The precise control over brewing parameters allows baristas to tailor the brewing process to each coffee’s unique characteristics. This results in a cup of coffee that highlights the nuanced flavors, aromas, and acidity of the beans.

3.2 Emphasis on Specialty Coffees:

The introduction of Clover machines in Starbucks stores signaled a shift in focus towards specialty coffees. Starbucks began offering a rotating selection of single-origin and limited-release coffees that were specifically brewed using the Clover system. This approach aimed to educate customers about the diverse flavors and origins of coffee while showcasing the craftsmanship involved in brewing.

3.3 Elevated Coffee Experience:

The Clover brewing system provided Starbucks with an opportunity to offer a differentiated and elevated coffee experience. Customers who sought a more refined and personalized coffee experience could choose from the selection of specialty coffees brewed on the Clover machine, providing a unique offering within the Starbucks portfolio.

Current Status of Clover Machines in Starbucks:

4.1 Limited Availability:

While the Clover brewing system initially gained traction in select Starbucks stores, its availability has become more limited in recent years. Starbucks made a strategic decision to focus on its core brewing methods, such as espresso-based beverages and drip coffee, and to streamline its equipment offerings.

4.2 Transition to Reserve Bars:

Starbucks has transitioned the use of Clover machines to its Reserve bars, which are specialized stores that feature a premium coffee experience. These stores focus on showcasing the art and craft of coffee brewing, including a variety of brewing methods, such as the Clover system. The Reserve bars serve as a platform for Starbucks to highlight its small-lot reserve coffees and provide customers with a more premium and immersive coffee experience.

Starbucks’ Commitment to Quality:

5.1 Consistency and Replicability:

One of the reasons for the limited availability of Clover machines in Starbucks stores is the challenge of maintaining consistency and replicability across a vast network of locations. The Clover brewing system’s more manual and customizable approach may present challenges in achieving this consistency.

5.2 Continuous Innovation:

While the Clover system may not be as widely used in Starbucks stores today, the company continues to invest in research and development to improve its coffee offerings. Starbucks regularly introduces new brewing methods, equipment, and techniques that enhance the quality and customer experience while aligning with the operational needs of its vast store network.


The Clover brewing system, with its unique extraction method and ability to highlight the flavors of specialty coffees, made a significant impact when introduced in select Starbucks stores. However, the availability of Clover machines in Starbucks stores has become more limited as the company focuses on its core brewing methods and streamlines its equipment offerings. Starbucks’ commitment to providing a consistent and replicable coffee experience, while also fostering innovation, drives its decisions regarding equipment usage in its stores. While the widespread use of Clover machines may have diminished, Starbucks remains dedicated to delivering high-quality coffee to its customers through various brewing methods and a continued focus on sourcing and flavor exploration.

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