May 7, 2012

Rethinking iced coffee

You might remember last summer our iced coffee was written up by the Boston Globe alongside Dunkin and Starbucks in a must-have-iced-coffee-in-Boston article. You might not know that I’ve never really been happy with our iced coffee method. It’s been nagging at me.

Our last big iced coffee change came when we moved from cold brew to our single-cup brewed iced coffee. The thinking at the time was that cold brew has WAY too much caffeine. The current method has undergone some tweaks, but basically we pour a cup onto ice when you order, not too different from our hot coffee. This method, pouring hot onto ice, may be the best thing in the world for iced coffee.

But I’ve been bothered by a few things. And these get sort of technical, a warning for those of you who just want your cup and don’t really care about this level of detail. (1) For our hot coffee we us the Melitta (that black plastic thing that holds the filter) to restrict the flow of the coffee. It lets us pour a very reliable cup. For our iced we need coffee that’s a bit more concentrated, because it’s hitting ice. So we cheat and try to restrict the flow by pouring more slowly. I’ve never liked this. It’s not consistent enough, and it just feels a bit jury-rigged. We also grind our coffee to a finer grind for our iced, also in an attempt to get a more concentrated brew. I don’t like that either. (2) I think some of the beans we sell make horrible iced coffee. Not every great hot coffee is going to be a great iced coffee. And to be honest we test all of our new coffees hot, sometimes glancing at what they are like iced, but the focus is always on hot. (3) Related to the second thing, most of our customers put milk/ cream in their iced coffee. While hot coffee customers use dairy 3 out of 10 times, iced coffee customers use dairy 8 out of 10 times. And really the lighter coffees don’t always stand up. So I wonder whether our iced should be darker. (4) It’s really hard to pump volumes. This is true for our hot coffee too, but somehow it feels like more of a limitation for our iced. Maybe because of our large lunch crowds in the summer?

This picture here is Chris (HUB/HSQ) meeting with Janet from George Howell Roasters. George Howell does a lot of blends so we asked her to bring in some blends that we could consider. I know, we’ve never done blended coffees before, but I was wondering whether this could be a good choice for iced. We also talked to her about brewing methods, especially for larger quantities. Yesterday she brought us a Bonavita. I’m going to try it out this week.

In the meantime, expect us to be asking your opinion about iced coffee if you stop in at HSQ. We’ll be sampling out different coffees/ blends/ methods as we sort this all out. I’m hoping we come out the other side with an iced coffee that’s even better than what we have now.

Recent Posts

May 14, 2024
About a year and a half ago, at an open-to-the-public food development meeting at Clover, we blind taste-tested a new plant-based pulled pork. This wasn’t a totally new thing for us to do—as a company with a climate mission, we tend to get a lot of samples of plant-based everything, and we love trying all of them. We’ve tried mycelium-based mushroom meats, wheat-and-soy nuggets, and burgers made from kelp. One bite in, and it was clear this pulled pork was special.
May 8, 2024
Squeaky paneer, mint cilantro chutney, chaat, and our first-ever collab with a local chef. Remember when Pushpir came into the kitchen and schooled us on Northern Indian food? That was 2013. A different CloverHSQ than the one you visit today (back then we were at 7 Holyoke St, across the street from where Kevin and his team now serve you). I still remember the smell of the cilantro, mint, jalapeños, and orange juice Pushpir was blending in the Vitamix. We hadn’t smelled that exact combo before…
April 16, 2024
This week has been a flurry of preparations as we kick off the 2024 food truck season. We did an event at Tufts over the weekend, in a few days we’ll be selling breakfast and lunch at a conference at the Media Lab at MIT, and this weekend we’ll be pulling up to a private party with sandwiches and appetizers.
March 27, 2024
Every year, just after Valentine’s Day, we start getting the same question in from customers: Will there be a Passover Box this year? Sometimes the pleas are more direct, sometimes more colorful. The glories of the vegetarian Chopped Liver are a common theme. This year, Sarah, an NYC-based friend of mine said she’s spent so much time thinking about the emails describing last year’s box that she’s DRIVING UP TO BOSTON to claim one!
February 15, 2024
We have a new sandwich out everywhere today. It’s a take on a Buffalo Chicken sandwich. We use celery root, aka celeriac, this nobbly, gnarled joy of a winter vegetable. We cut it into planks, batter it with panko, and fry it. We’re getting ours from Norwich Meadows Farm, a farm in NY state that’s known for creating really flavorful organic veggies using a cool irrigation system. 
February 7, 2024
For the week of Valentine’s Day, we’ll be delivering these Making Whoopie (Pie) Kits 😉. They have everything you need to make whoopie pies — more specifically, Chris’ favorite oatmeal cakes with beet buttercream frosting. You’ll also get a scoop for making the perfect size pie, and a roll of sugar cookie dough for more sweet fun.
January 18, 2024
Pull out your plaid and cue up the bagpipes because it’s Clover’s third-ever celebration of Burns Night, an introduction to Scottish food/drink/music/poetry and a reason to raise a glass during this dark and cold month! You may be asking yourself, what is Burns Night?
January 17, 2024
Chances are you’ve tried the new Clover Bowls. We’ve been running them since the Spring. After a few tweaks, we landed on a roster we love: the Mediterranean Bowl, the Verde Rice and Bean Bowl, and a Rotating Seasonal Bowl. The bowls have transformed our menu – Josh, a Kendall customer, recently wrote to us, “The beet poke bowl is the best new item I’ve tried at Clover in years. I love the freshness and bite of the mix of flavors.” We’ve also heard some very good suggestions about how to make them even better…
January 3, 2024
Meet the Veggie Monster Meal Box! Some of you are subscribers to our Friday newsletter about plant-based cooking. Now… that newsletter has spawned a meal box! Pack your fridge with everything you need to make an entire week of vegetable-based meals. Think hearty pot pies; sweet and spicy maple-roasted squash tacos; bowls packed with…
December 20, 2023
New Year’s Eve is no time to be buried in the kitchen, so we pack our NYE Box with Clover fan favorites that come together fast and encourage a night of Finger-Food Feasting. Can you think of anything better than digging into bubbling hot Brussels Sprout Cheese dip on a freezing cold Boston night? Or scooping up our bright nutty Romesco sauce as the clock ticks to midnight?  And our breakthrough Carrot Lox (probably the best thing to come out of our food dev in 2023) will have you resolving to spare more salmon in the year ahead.
December 19, 2023
Stop by Clover today (Tuesday 12/19) and when you order a Brussels Sandwich on the app, we’ll give you $1 off our new chocolate chip cookie! It’s a gift from King Brussels, on his final day in the Clover Kingdom. Use this link to get yours!
December 16, 2023
Are you looking for the perfect gift for a friend who loves Clover? We have online gift cards! You can specify a time that you’d like the card to hit their inbox – and there’s a new feature that lets multiple people pool money to send a card to one person. Pretty cool!