A Cup of Clio: This New Startup is Bringing Italian Coffee to North Texas

Clio's founders spent 10 years traveling to and from Italy to perfect its brew. Now, the startup—which bills itself as an "alternative to Keurig"—is ready to launch and grow its Highland Park-based team.

Gone are the days of trading taste for convenience when it comes to your morning brew. Clio Coffee, a subscription-based startup that ships top-grade coffee pods straight to your door, is now available to residents in North Texas. And, the team’s innovative brewing machine is said to outperform all its competitors. 

Crafted all the way in the hills of Northern Italy, the newly established Clio Coffee company has created a machine that is unlike any other brewing system ever made. 

The machine—also designed in Italy—deploys next-gen technology, which Clio says delivers “an amazing tasting, full-strength, rich full cup of coffee” with just one click.

Using an advanced high-pressure European brewing system and double-filter pods, Clio blends a premium taste in about 75 seconds. That combined with the top-grade coffee flavors produces a cup so good, Clio says coffee consumers chose its brew four to one over a leading brand.

“We control the whole system,” Sam Fahmy, Clio’s chairman of the board, told Dallas Innovates. “We kind of took a page out of Apple’s book with the software and the hardware. We wanted to make sure that the pods, the coffee—everything from A to Z—is beautiful.”

[Image: Courtesy Clio]

Fahmy and his team spent years traveling between Dallas and a small, hidden town in Italy (he hinted that it was near the Ferrari factory) conducting research and development for Clio. So while a Clio machine is similar to others on the market, Fahmy says there’s numerous differentiating factors that make it better.

He says the idea for the startup was born from the “crazy idea” to combine taste and convenience in a single cup. Then, bring that specific cup of coffee to the U.S.

“It took us many years just to put the whole system together. It wasn’t just coming up with the coffee machine. It was deciding on the capsules, choosing a manufacturing facility that makes the capsules, finding where to source the coffee, all that,” Fahmy says. “Then we had to make sure that it meets American tastes.”

Although the coffee beans are sourced from around the world, Fahmy says origin isn’t what’s most important to the Clio team. People often become “obsessed” with where their coffee comes from, but Clio is more about bringing that obsession to people.

“You can put the best coffee in heaven on a shelf somewhere in Whole Foods or some store. But if you cannot make it accessible to people, and make it easy to provide, then very few people want it,” he says. “So part of Clio is, ‘How do we bring it to everyone?'”

That’s why Clio’s direct-to-consumer model is so important.

Clio uses a subscription delivery service where the pods are dropped off right at your door every month. Think of it as a “never-leave-home convenience”; the costs incurred by third parties like roasters and distributors are eliminated, along with those pesky trips to the grocery store.

The brewer’s price varies depending on your subscription. A 30-pod monthly subscription is $29.97, with the machine discounted to $99. But buying 60 pods a month at $49.98 makes the machine $49.

And if you don’t want a subscription, the pods (10-pod packs are $11.99 each) and brewer ($199 for non-subscribers) can be purchased on-demand via the Clio website.

Fahmy says he might consider retail in the future, but for now, everything is online. And he hasn’t had a problem with that, as Clio’s first order was actually from all the way in Hawaii.

[Image: Courtesy Clio]

Another aspect of Clio that Fahmy points to is how it makes a 10-ounce cup of coffee, which he says is twice the amount of competitors. But, the pod is only half the size—and environmentally conscious.

Unlike traditional disposable coffee pods, Clio’s are fully recyclable and made from 70 percent less material. They contain 60 percent more coffee, resulting in a stronger, bolder taste for those difficult Monday mornings. And, they’re “no-mess,” because Clio’s hidden basket automatically stores used ones after brewing.

The design of the pod is also crucial: Clio can make both full-strength coffee and double espresso from the same pod.

For the coffee, Clio customers can choose from up to four signature blends. Rather than creating individual flavors, Clio tailors its individual brews to time of day. The Rise & Shine brew has more caffeine and less acidity, which Fahmy says creates a gentler way to kick-start the mornings. The Smooth Sailing (medium roast) and the Peak Power (dark roast) are designed to combat afternoon naps, and the Evening Delight (decaf) is the perfect way to wind down after a long day.

Clio also offers tea pods and anticipates additional beverages to roll out in the future.

Fahmy’s worked with a number of startups in North Texas, but he currently splits his time between Clio and New York-based AI company WorkFusion. That’s why he’s looking for coffee aficionados to be on the Highland Park-based Clio team.

“What we’re passionate about with this experience is bringing really good coffee makers to people for an easy morning,” he says. “There’s so many ways you can get great coffee. [Clio] is all about the complete experience.”

Alex Edwards and Payton Potter contributed to this report.

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