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Starbucks is changing way it serves coffee

(KTLA) — For years, many of your favorite coffee chains have brewed a batch of coffee and kept it on warmers, then brewed another batch. You may have even seen the little timers Starbucks used to put on the brewers to dump the coffee when it got too old.

But if you’ve been to Starbucks lately, you may have seen them toss the old brewing machines in the back and roll out shiny new cylinders where the old coffee machines used to be. 

The new machines are called the “Clover Vertica.”

Starbucks says that baristas no longer have to waste an entire urn when a customer wants just one cup. Instead, with a couple of turns of a dial, a custom cup of coffee is ground and brewed as soon as you order it, with up to six different coffee choices.

The verdict: One customer found the coffee comes out hot and tasty. It seems much hotter than what comes out of batch brewing, although Starbucks tells KTLA they come out at the same temperature.

Starbucks Coffee
Joe Gormley, equipment development team senior manager, right, demonstrates a Clover Vertica, a single-serve on-demand coffee maker during Starbucks Investor Day, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Maybe that’s just the difference between freshly brewed and a batch that has been sitting. There might still be a learning curve with stores as well.

Recently, at one southern California location, the Clover Vertica wasn’t working, and they couldn’t offer drip coffee that morning. At another, the two cashiers seemed to be slowed down, both working to take orders and brew those single cups.

Despite these new innovations, basic drip coffee is still the king. According to the National Coffee Association, 63% of all Americans had a cup of coffee in the past day — some 440 million cups of coffee across the U.S. each day, enough to fill four Olympic-size swimming pools. And a majority of Americans still prefer traditional coffee to specialty drinks, although lattes remain the most popular specialty drink.

So what do you do if Starbucks isn’t your thing? Coffee can be very personal, and everyone has their favorites.

Nexstar’s KTLA wanted to know what the other big coffee retailers are doing. We reached out to some of the nation’s other top coffee giants to see if they’re going to follow Starbucks into single-brew land.

Here’s what we were able to find.

Dunkin‘: They’re selling 60 cups of coffee each second — some 5,000,000 cups each day. They’ve batch-produced coffee for years, and donuts too. They did not respond to tell us if single-serve was on the horizon.

McDonald’s: This fast food giant serves nearly 8 million cups of coffee a day. McCafe has come a long way since the early days, but there’s no word if they’ll move to custom cups.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: It grew up in the 1960s in Southern California and says “history” was made in 1987 when a barista made the first ice-brewed drink there. They replied to KTLA but didn’t offer any specifics.

Dutch Brothers: They started with a pushcart in Grants Pass, Oregon, back in the early 90s. They are now known for their traditional windmill design and drive-thrus. Dutch Bros. tells us all their drinks are ‘hand-crafted’ (but not necessarily single-brewed), and they hand-pull the espresso.

Peet’s: Alfred Peet opened his first shop in Berkeley, California nearly 60 years ago, ushering in what the company calls a “revolution that forever changed the expectations of American coffee drinkers.” Will they change expectations again? They’re not saying.

Philz: A San Francisco staple. The company says, “Something as simple as a cup of coffee has the power to transform your everyday into something special.” They say they’ve already been doing Brewed-To-Order coffee one cup at a time.

Tim Hortons: Special mention to this Canadian staple. It is Canada’s largest retail chain serving 5 million cups of coffee each day. The company says 80% of all Canadians visit a Tim Hortons at least once a month.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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