The $11,000 Coffee Pot 

Is Groundworks' high-end cuppa joe worth the investment?

Wednesday, Mar 28 2007

Dear Mr. Gold:

A couple of weeks ago, the L.A. Times wrote about an $11,000 machine that supposedly made the best coffee in the world. Have you ever tasted it? Is it better? Is it better enough to drive across town for? I’m a Peet’s girl, but I’m always looking for something new.

—Amanda, Studio City

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Dear Amanda:

The Clover company, which manufactures the machine, aspires to do for high-end drip coffee what Achille Gaggia did for espresso when he introduced a steam-free machine 80 years ago: make it quick, make it delicious, and make it proprietary. The Clover is a sleek metal object that supposedly combines the best of the French press and the vacuum pot. And employees of the handsome new downtown Groundworks, the only coffee bar to feature it at press time, approach the machine as reverently as a 90-year-old nun might the bones of a saint. The liquid that comes from the device, after the high priestess behind the bar has burr-ground a few grams of estate coffee and moved her hands about the machine in mysterious ways, is really quite unusual. The coffee is almost closer to wine than it is to the murky fluids that emerge from Starbucks spigots, almost exploding with the flavors of ripe fig and chocolate and lemon zest and rose petals that are usually subsumed by more conventional roasting processes. Really, there seem to be an awful lot of flavors in a cup of coffee. And after tasting them, I’m not sure that I don’t prefer the smoky blast of a properly made espresso, but I am glad to have had the experience. 108 W 2nd St. No. 107, downtown, (213) 620-9668

—Jonathan GoldGot a burning culinary question?  E-mail askmrgold@laweekly.com.

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