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December 2005 Newsletter

 As another year draws to a close I thought I'd take the
opportunity to look back over the last 10 years of online
trading. That's right, we're halfway through the 10th year of
doing this, and what a trip it has been. This has also been my
20th year of being in the coffee business, giving me a long
stretch of the past to look back on.

I think the thing that strikes me most is the rapid maturity of
Australia as an espresso culture. Almost any food business opened
in the last 5 years will have an espresso machine installed as
part of the initial fit out, and I do not know of any restaurant
that doesn't have a machine, regardless of the type of cuisine
served.

When I started in the coffee business there were no more than 10
wholesale roasters, and if you wanted a machine you had to lease
or buy it. Now there are dozens of roasters, most of them
offering machines and accessories "free" with a certain volume of
coffee. This has led in turn to concentrated efforts to reduce
the overall costs of the green coffees used in espresso blends,
and (in my opinion) a huge fall in quality.

Where I could once identify a roaster by the flavour of their
signature blend, these days they all taste more or less the same,
and what I can taste is the beans used, predominantly cheap
Brazils.

On the other hand, the overall level of Barista skills in cafes
and restaurants has improved dramatically, and every year things
seem to get a bit better, as more baristas and their customers
start to know what makes good espresso. The acceptance of an
espresso machine as a standard kitchen appliance has had a lot to
do with this as well.

5 years ago the idea of purchasing things online was a complete
novelty to most of the population. Today it is simply taken for
granted. In many ways I have been fortunate to be a pioneer in
the growth of online commerce, which has been reflected in the
growth of the business. At the same time it has been a lot of
extremely hard work, particularly as far as maintaining the
quality of our products and service is concerned.

The thing I have been most proud of is our monthly special
coffee. No one else in Australia has ever offered the variety and
quality of coffee experiences that we have managed to bring you
over the years, and one of the most difficult things about
current and future business will be keeping up the standard we
have set. Of course, it won't be hard this month, because our
Christmas Special Coffee is

Yemen Mokha Ismaili
$50.00/kg

"Subtle front palate acidity, moving into a malty, fruity middle
palate. The finish and aftertaste is absolutely smooth, pure
chocolate. This is an exquisite, aromatic, complex coffee with a
full body and beautiful balance."

CLOSING DATES
We will be closed for business from

WEDNESDAY 21/12/05
until
WEDNESDAY 04/01/06

Please get your holiday season orders in as early as possible;
last shipments will be 21/12/05 afternoon.

Except for Lux Grinders it looks like we will have full equipment
stocks for most of December and January.

Wishing all our customers a happy and safe Holiday season and a
prosperous New Year,

until next year,

Alan.