Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Intelligentsia's Clover Fetish

Say what you want about coffee, passions run high, especially here in Chicago. One of our leading coffee establishments recently announced the phasing out of standard drip coffee, to be replaced with made-to-order cups from a Clover machine. If you don't know what this is about, don't worry about it, you probably wouldn't care anyway. However, it's a rather contentious issue to those who know both Intelligentsia and the Clover machine (mostly for pricing reasons), and Gaper's Block's food page ran a post complaining about the shift (among other changes). I was kind of put off by what the post said, because I sometimes lose my head in battles of customer service, and wrote a letter complaining about the decision to Intelligentsia. I was pretty impressed with their response, which was sent less than a business day after I originally complained. Here's what Intelligentsia had to say:


Thanks for your email. Also, thank you for being a long time customer. I suspect some of your information you may have gathered from Gaper’s Block, which didn’t quite get the pricing right. Coffee of the Clover will not be twice as expensive as brewed coffee was before. Although it will not be as inexpensive as coffee out of the urn, there will always be a “Pick of the Day,” that will be quite reasonable and brewed to order. Here is what the new menu looks like:


Espresso - 2.50

Macchiato - 2.75

Con Panna - 2.75

Cappuccino - 3.25

Latte - 3.25 / 3.50 / 3.75

Valharona Mocha - 3.75 / 4.00 / 4.25

Americano - 2.75

Coffee by the Cup - Made to Order
Today's Pick - 2.00 / 2.35 / 2.65
Select Offerings - 3 & up

Chemex For Two - 6 & up

Valharona Hot Chocolate - 3.25 / 3.50 / 3.75

House Chai - 3.25 / 3.50 / 3.75

Most drinks may be served iced.

We really believe that brewed to order is the way to go as it highlights what we do, brews a better tasting cup and never sits on heat. We do feel that it is much more in line with our mission. I realize this may not be exactly what you wanted to hear, but we do feel it is how we need to move forward.
To take the sting out of all of this, if you would be so kind as to send me your mailing address, I’ll send you a gift card so at least the next few drinks will be on us.

Kind regards,

Doug Zell

Needless to say, I sent them my mailing address. [Update: Due to a comment made by James (below), I now have reason to believe that this was actually sent by Doug Zell. I am pleased and somewhat impressed.]


James said...

I work at Intellgientsia. It's a small company, and believe me, nobody has the job "reply to customer letters using doug zell's name."

Plus that's how he writes.

Funny story, I guessed his e-mail and e-mailed him in 2001 asking if he sold the tin signs. He offered to deal.

Matthew: said...


Thanks for the note. I'm glad to know Doug would take the time to respond to something like this.