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April 2004 Newsletter
 
Launching an appeal is usually done for charitable reasons, but
I'm afraid there's nothing particularly charitable about this
one. I'd like to appeal to my customers and readers to send me
their expired, burnt out, dead and otherwise unusable pump
espresso machines, instead of chucking them in the bin. I'm
trying to organise a bit of "forensic" work on the main causes of
machine failures, which will be the basis of a later article.
 
Of course I'll reimburse the postage for any machine sent, and
also throw in 500g of free coffee of your choice for your
trouble. Please email me before sending your machine, if possible
outlining the reason it no longer works. Note that I won't be
sending machines back, since I plan on disassembling down to the
last nut to find out what goes wrong.
 
I've had it in mind to do this for some time, but going to
"Celebrate the Bean" (part of the Melbourne Food Festival) last
Sunday really pushed it along. The level of ignorance displayed
by the so-called "expert" machine demonstrators was simply
appalling. I could only bring myself to watch about half of the
presentation on domestic espresso machines; if I'd spent any
longer listening to the drivel being spouted I reckon I would
have exploded!
 
It was pretty clear that the people involved were more concerned
with sales than performance, and had no idea of what a REAL
espresso looked and tasted like. Sort of "never mind the taste,
look at the (artificial, pale, thin) crema."
 
One exception was Paul Bassett, current World Champion Barista,
who was pulling quite reasonable shots on the Sunbeam stand from
their most expensive thermoblock machine, backed up by his own
coffee blend and a $6000 commercial Ditting grinder. Overall,
however, the level of misinformation given to the public by
appliance sales people trying to sell espresso machines borders
on criminal.
 
**************************************************************
There won't be a "special" coffee this month as I'm off to
Atlanta for the SCAA conference. I leave on Thursday 22nd April
and return on Wednesday 28th April.
**************************************************************
 
Combined with the upcoming Easter weekend there's not much point
in trying to sell a new special. I still have some Dominican
Soliman left, but the last 10kg of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe will be
roasted on Monday 5th April, so I'll be out of stock in the next
few days.
 
Hopefully arriving mid-May will be my first shipment of Heat
Exchanger consumer espresso machines from la Scala in Italy, see
www.lascala.it . The la Scala Butterfly features a 2l. boiler
with all the right furniture, as well as the standard E-61 group
and "plumb-in" capability. I did an article for Coffeegeek about
HX machines last year
(
http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/alanfrew/05-24-2003) where I
said "My Ideal would be something with the Isomac's body and the
Brugnetti's insides, with the Brugnetti's price and a hot water
tap. I'll just have to keep on searching!"
 
Well, it looks like my search is over! I won't know the exact
pricing until after the shipment lands and I get all the GST and
shipping bills, but the basic model will definitely be sub
$2000.00. I'll need a couple of weeks to completely test them,
but they should be on sale in June.
 
Remember if you're ordering coffee this month that I'll be
offline while I'm away in the USA, so no orders will be filled
during that time.


Alan