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August 2006 Newsletter

The Imat Mokita and Mokita Combi have been out of stock for over
6 months now, due to the proverbial "circumstances beyond our
control". The circumstances have been a dispute over price
increases between the Australian importers and the manufacturer
in Italy. The importers (Lygon Imports) have finally come to an
agreement, so stocks should be arriving late October. When they
do arrive, they will be at higher prices than before, but I don't
know what the new prices will be.

While waiting for the new shipment to arrive it seemed sensible
to update my "Espresso Machine Evaluation" page at
http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/july2002.html . The updated
page reflects the influx of "Made in China" domestic machines,
which were not a factor in 2002. It also reflects the absence of
the cheaper plastic Gaggia machines (Carezza and Evolution) from
our market, as the importer apparently no longer brings them in.

A number of people have queried me on my recommendations for the
Gaggia machines, since I don't like the boilers and don't sell
the machines. All I can say is that at the current selling prices
they represent good value as a starter machine, the sort of thing
you buy, learn on and then sell on Ebay after you upgrade.

The evaluation page now also has an Australian contact list for
the various makers/importers of the machines discussed.

One of the things I have emphasized is that for espresso
excellence it is absolutely necessary to have a decent quality
grinder. You just can't get the best out of your espresso machine
unless you're grinding your own coffee.

Of course, you could always go the "Instant Coffee" route. Nestle
has recently released a new instant coffee called "Short Black".
In the spirit of adventure I bought a sample jar and tried it
out. It does indeed foam up and produce a pale yellowish faux-
crema when you pour boiling water on it, but the product in the
cup bears little relationship to a real short black.

Even at the much higher concentration (for instant) than normal,
one and a half heaped teaspoons in a 100ml cup, it lacks the body
and mouthfeel of a real espresso. While there is real coffee
taste (very much like bland Brazil) it is mouth puckeringly
acidic, like sucking a lemon. This may be an artefact of whatever
processing is used to produce the crema effect, but it's not the
sort of thing I'd drink for fun.

A coffee I would drink for fun (and one that makes an excellent
short black) is this month's special. This coffee is produced by
the "Miel" or "Pulped Natural" process (as also used for the NG
Siherini AX) where the coffee fruit is dried around the bean,
giving it extra sweetness, body and complexity. This is the first
Indian coffee I have seen processed by this method. It is

Indian Kelagur Heights
$36.00/kg

The coffee has a mild, sweet flavour with honeyed overtones and a
smooth medium body, with spicy malty notes in the aroma. Great
short black material, particularly blended with the New Guinea
Siherini AX.

Time permitting I'll also be updating the "Grinder Evaluation"
pages in the next couple of months, although there hasn't been as
much change there. The burr sets in use 4 years ago are still all
going strong, although the external appearance of the grinders
may have changed a bit.


Until next month

Alan.