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This illustration comes from a Starbucks Coffee Company document retrieved from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, released to the public on May 30th, 2013.

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Screen Shot 2013-06-01 at 12.44.43 PMIt is speculated that this new product is the long-awaited three-group super automatic version of the company’s Clover® Brewing System, the $8,000 (some report its worth up to $13,000) one-cup brewer that once upon a time stole the hearts of specialty coffee and captured the public imagination. It was invented by Zander Nosler and his team at Seattle’s Coffee Equipment Co. back in 2004, and went on to be embraced by the likes of Stumptown, Intelligentsia, and several independent cafes. Howard Schultz and Starbucks purchased the rights to Clover 2007, and many independent shops in the United States were quick to drop the device. In a 2008 interview with the Oregonian (archived here by the Portland Mercury), Stumptown Coffee Director of Operations Matt Lounsbury told reporters, “We’ve never purchased parts or service from Starbucks in the past, and we’re not going to start now.”

Starbucks has focused the Clover on brewing single-cup “blonde roast” coffees to order in their shops, and we’ve watched as Clover Coffee machines have quietly held on in corners of the specialty market, at places like Trabant Coffee and Chai in Seattle and The Brunswick East Project in Melbourne. Padre Coffee, the roaster that owns Brunswick East, own more than eight of the original “1S” brewers, most of which are in operation and on brew counters throughout Melbourne.

Clover 1S at Padre Coffee's East Brunswick Project, Melbourne.
Clover 1S at Padre Coffee’s East Brunswick Project, Melbourne.

This new machine will automatically grind, dose, and brew a cup of coffee, and then self-clean. According to the document’s claims, the device can brew coffee in “under thirty seconds“:

In one embodiment, a system for brewing a single-cup portion of coffee is provided. The system comprises a first brew module, a second brew module, and a third brew module. The first brew module, the second brew module, and the third brew module are each configured to brew a single-cup portion of coffee in about 30 seconds or less. In such an embodiment, the first brew module comprises a first doser assembly, a first upper subassembly, a first interior subassembly, and a first dispensing portion. The first doser assembly is engaged with the first upper subassembly and is configured to receive one or more hoppers. The first upper subassembly comprises a first wiper assembly for automatically cleaning the upper subassembly after a brew cycle. The first interior subassembly comprises a first piston configured to raise and lower coffee grounds during a brew cycle. The first dispensing portion is engaged with the first interior subassembly and is configured to provide brewed coffee to a drinking receptacle after a brew cycle.
Photograph of an original Clover Brewer tag in the wild.
Photograph of an original Clover Brewer tag in the wild.

You can read the entire 71-page patent document here.


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