After reading the writeup in this week's Economist, I just had to try coffee made on one of those high powered Clover machines. Made by a small company in the Fremont area of Seattle, the $11,000 devices supposedly extract a whole new level of flavor from the beans. Naturally I wanted to try for myself and discovered there is one installed at Trabant, in Pioneer Square so I rushed over there this afternoon.
Unfortunately I missed today's coffee tasting, but the barista was super-helpful and patiently explained the entire Clover equipment process to me. You can think of the machines as essentially a reverse french press: instead of pouring water on top of the ground beans, a vacuum sucks water through them, at carefully controlled temperature and pressure. See that round disc under the water spigot in this picture? Just drop the ground beans there and in less than a minute it brews the perfect cup.
So what about the taste? I tried the El Salvador Mercedes and it was excellent. It's such a unique flavor, it almost doesn't taste like regular coffee. It's hard to describe, but it tastes more fruity, almost like an herbal tea. Later she gave me a sip of some of their $54/pound coffee (I think it was the El Injerto). It was phenomenal! I will definitely be back.