Starbucks has been hurting recently, but if anything can save this flagging chain, it could be an $11,000 Clover coffee machine. The stuff of dreams for hardcore java addicts, the Clover has the potential to steer the coffee giant back to great coffee basics and, for once, justify the high prices.
As Wired reports, Starbucks discreetly purchased and installed a few Clovers at various Seattle and Boston stores in the summer of 2007, charging $3.05 for a cup of the fancy Clover brew. After thumbs-up came from testers, Starbucks purchased Clover's makers, the Coffee Equipment Company, and now won't sell any more machines to independent cafés. With plans to install 80 of them across the country this year, Starbucks has early Clover adopters outraged. Some have even tried returning machines in protest, shaking their fists at the Coffee Man.
Can the fancy machine save the 'bux, or was the Vivanno smoothie a better plan?