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August 2007 Newsletter

Many of my customers seem to have the impression that most of my
day is spent slaving over a hot computer. Nothing could be
further from the truth, and I actually spend most of the day
either at or between various roasters. Since I do not own a
commercial coffee roaster myself, and have no intention of buying
one, I have to hire time on other people's machines to get my
roasting done.

This has a few disadvantages, mostly related to the time spent
travelling between locations, but it has some distinct advantages
too. One of the major ones is being able to alter the taste of a
coffee depending on the roasting machine used. A 60kg capacity
roaster has entirely different roast profiles to a 15kg capacity
roaster, so you can use one to emphasise sweetness, for instance,
and the other when you want more clean acidity.

Despite the difference in roaster capacities, the actual batch
sizes of the roasts remain pretty constant at 10 - 12kg per
batch. The reason for this is that it ensures constant turnover
and maximum freshness of our coffees. It's why I don't bother
with roast dating; all the coffees are packed to order, so except
on long weekends or holidays the oldest roast date you'll get is
the day before yesterday. After the holidays and long weekends
it's more likely to be 25 minutes ago, that being about as fast
as I can get a batch from the closest roaster to the office.

This is because we run the stocks down before long breaks. The
downside of this is that orders placed during holiday periods can
take a couple of days to fill as I sweat over a hot roaster.
Especially when I'm trying to interrupt the bloke that actually
owns the roaster, who is trying to do the same thing!

I normally don't do the actual packing. My packing person
downloads the orders, prints out the address labels and gets the
coffee into the bags. Some weeks the only time we see each other
is payday, so it's not a good idea to try to send me messages or
request spare parts via the "Comments" portion of the order form,
as I've said before. What goes into your satchel is exactly what
you've ordered and paid for on the form.

The actual order download is normally about 8.00 a.m. every day,
and orders arriving after this get packed the following working
day. With a bit of communication this allows me to roast about a
day ahead of the actual packing, once again ensuring maximum
freshness. By and large, the system works well, so that when bad
things happen e.g. chaff fires or blocked afterburners, I can
switch to another roaster while the problem is sorted out, at the
cost of a bit of extra travel.

Travel is one thing this month's special coffee has seen a lot
of, coming from the Caribbean via Canada to Australia. That's
because the good ole' US of A still embargoes Cuban goods. That's
right, it's

Café de Cuba

The original and best. Sweet, nutty (roasted peanuts) smooth,
rich, full bodied Caribbean island coffee. Stunning quality,
limited availability. 

My Cuban Analogue match for this coffee was pretty close, (must
try not to dislocate arm patting self on back) but still missed
out on some of the sweetness and body of the original.

The response to the Espresso Cioccolato has been so positive that
it has been added to the regular coffee list. My email problems
still persist, but only because I haven't had time to do anything
about them, despite some very kind offers from several customers.
I've been working on my repair article instead! I will be trying
to investigate my options in the next week or so.

Finally, the second half of my monster repair article is complete
and up on the internet at . There are a few
little bits to add but it's basically complete. Hope it helps!