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April 2008 Newsletter

Excellent  espresso is only possible if you have an excellent grinder,
as I have said many times in the past. The problem for a lot of
domestic espresso drinkers is that excellent grinders tend to be
commercial ones, and even the smallest commercial grinder is a great
big thing to have sitting on your kitchen benchtop.

When it comes to good grinders, as opposed to excellent ones, for use
in the home, my own ranking is:

4) Sunbeam EM0480
3) Nemox/Imat/Quaha Lux
2) Rancilio Rocky
1) Mazzer Mini

with the understanding that the Mazzer Mini is a commercial grinder and
not small. The exact same ranking applies to price and longevity, with
the Sunbeam being the cheapest and the Mazzer the most expensive. It
also applies to the build quality and ergonomics of the grinders.

Imagine my surprise when, in an article on comparing a number of high end grinders, the lowly
Nemox Lux beat the Mazzer Mini in terms of shot quality and taste.
There were the usual caveats on ergonomics, build quality and
adjustability, and the thought that one of the domestic manufacturers
should look at improving the Lux concept. You can read the whole
article by Jim Schulman at

Well, Lelit has risen to the challenge and introduced the Lelit PL053
Espresso Grinder pictured below.

Internally, of course, it's the standard Lux burrs and motor, but
rehoused in a new all stainless steel body. With a proper catch tray, a
metal exit spout to prevent static, "infinite" worm gear adjustment and
a 200g capacity hopper it reflects a significant advancement on the
basic Lux. Fortunately it doesn't cost any more, at $275.00 inc. GST,
but it is really only suitable for espresso.

It's been available in the USA since January this year and has received
rave reviews. The three main items mentioned seem to be the fact that
it's a bit quieter than the Lux, the better build quality and the lack
of clumping and static with the ground coffee.

This month's special coffee is an old favourite, especially for those
who enjoy a spicy, heavy bodied coffee.

Java Arabica

Low acid with rich syrupy body and a spicy dark caramel finish.

I'm no great supporter of "cause based" coffees unless the cause is
better quality (if you substitute the word "Subsidized" for "Fair
Trade" it can be perception altering) but I do support minimizing the
overall ecological footprint of coffee supply. So do many of my
customers, which is why I continue to be amazed by large volume of
small bag sized orders.

Skyrocketing costs are making small bag packaging very expensive, so as
from this month we'll be passing on the full cost. Orders in 400 - 500g
bags won't be affected at all, so if you're ordering more than 500g, go
for bigger bag sizes.