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December 2003 Newsletter

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and my well laid
plans for a "Christmas Special" coffee are no exception. After 2 years
of trying to get hold of this coffee, and a commitment to purchase 3
months ago, it duly arrived in port in the last week of November.

At this point the wheels fell off. There is apparently a paperwork
glitch with the container in which my three humble bags of coffee
reside, so AQIS (the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) has
sequestered the lot. I am told that If I'm lucky I may get hold of my
beans around the 15th of December.
All the work necessary to get the coffee ready for sale begins at this
point; first the test roasting and cupping to ensure that the coffee
is as good as the original sample, then determining the correct roast
profile and level. As soon as the coffee is ready I'll be emailing out
a "supplementary newsletter" to let everyone know, but realistically
there will only be the week before Christmas to buy this coffee. Looks
like the bulk of it will still be on sale in January!

So that no-one is totally disappointed (apart from me), I've managed
to cadge some of one of the more popular specials for 2003, the

Organic Peru Villa Rica

This coffee has been much requested after its initial appearance,
where I described it as having "smooth, rich flavour with balanced
acidity and a hint of smoke in the aftertaste. Best for filter and
plunger brewing, or milk based espressos."

Imat machine stocks are again likely to be limited over Christmas,
although their more expensive counterparts from Nemox will be
available for the desperate. I have excellent stocks of Rancilio
Silvias and Bases but only a few Rocky grinders, due to production
problems at Rancilio in Italy.

Having seen the way the production system works in Milan, I'm no
longer surprised by this. The espresso machine factories, instead of
keeping a balanced production line constantly running, make to order.
So an order placed in August will be made in September, shipped in
October and arrive in November, IF all the parts of the component
chain work. It only takes problems with a single supplier to throw the
whole system out of whack.

Speaking of which, I've refreshed the website, and put up a new
"Articles" page; the first new article covers some of the things I saw
during my Milan trip,
 the second covers the reasons for my retirement from writing for Coffeegeek,

As time permits I'll be migrating
material already written for Coffeegeek to my website, and adding new, non
newsletter articles as well.Some of the pages haven't got their full sets of
photos yet, due to time constraints, but it should be finished soon.

I still have a very few of the Bodum gift sets available as well, for
those contemplating a more "exotic" coffee related gift this year.

We will be closing down on the evening of the 24th of December and
reopening on the 12th of January 2004. During this time I'll be up in
Sydney and parts north, enjoying my only real holiday break for this
year. Thanks to you, my customers, it has been a busy and exciting
year with the business continuing its solid growth.

My family and I would like to wish all of you a safe and happy festive
season and a successful and prosperous New Year.