Clover Brewer at Root Hill Cafe in Gowanus/Park Slope
I was already running late this morning, and the Root Hill Cafe is, technically, out of my way as I make my morning beeline to the subway station. But I had a feeling. A thought slowly started to nag at me—What if they have a Clover machine?
Over the last few months, I've been watching this space on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Carroll Street in Brooklyn transform from a spottily run car service to a hip little coffee house with lots of thoughtful architectural details. And given that it opened just last week—at just the right time to have possibly snagged one of the last non-Starbucks Clover brewers—I didn't mind adding a few minutes to my commute by crossing the street to find out and put that nagging thought to rest.
As I approached, what did I see through the window? Boo yah! The telltale inverted-J water spigot. I'd finally have a chance to try this Clover thing that everyone's been raving about.
As one of the friendly baristas there started the brewing process, the other explained that Root Hill had gotten one of the last of these machines available to independent coffee shops (last month, Starbucks bought out the manufacturer and will essentially bogart the device from here on out). And though the shop had only Ethiopian beans today, it would be getting in different beans in the next week or so and then offer a rotating selection to try.
The clever owners are clearly hip to the hype surrounding the machine and know that folks love to watch how it works, so they've installed an angled mirror on the ceiling for your viewing pleasure.
This was my first cup of Clover-brewed coffee, and I have to say, it was pretty amazing. If I hadn't seen them make it for me (the Clover brews single cups to order, and its computer can be programmed and adjusted for all sorts of factors to optimize flavor), I would have sworn they dropped some kind of blueberry flavoring in the cup. It was an extraordinarily smooth drink, with no expected bitterness, and it almost had a creamy, slippery texture going down.
At $2.25 a cup, is it going to replace my $1.35 coffee every morning? Not likely, but it might be a nice weekend treat or one to jumpstart an especially hairy-looking day.
ROOT HILL CAFE
Address: 262 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215 (map)