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December 2013 Newsletter

Holiday closing dates will be as follows:

LAST ROAST will be on TUESDAY 17th DECEMBER 2013.



As always, customers are reminded that we will be running our stocks
of roasted coffee down to zero, and late orders may be filled by
whatever coffees are available, and not what you actually ordered.
This means that anything ordered after Tuesday 17th will be pot

The history of coffee records that in 1715 to 1717 coffee was
introduced to the Isle de Bourbon, modern day Reunion, a dot of land
in the Indian Ocean. Within 50 years of planting a couple of mutant
strains had become the most common cultivars. One of those mutant
strains was introduced to Brazil in the early 1800s, and Brazil
Bourbon coffee became the most successful coffee varietal ever.
Funnily enough, the other mutant variety didn't do as well. It
thrived on the little island, but gradually became much rarer as
overall coffee cultivation on Reunion declined, to the point where
it was more or less forgotten.

Fast forward 200 years or so and a whole lot of little things start
to come together to form something much bigger. The first was the
invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction in 1983 by a young
biochemist, Kary Mullis, while he was on a long drive with his
girlfriend towards a weekend away. Probably the most productive
dirty weekend in history, because it led directly to the DNA mapping
world we now live in. As Kary has since quipped, before PCA being a
genetic engineer meant that your grandfather, your dad and you all
drove trains.

After the PCA invention Monsanto and other huge agricultural would-
be monopolists started tinkering with genetically modifying common
foods. Fortunately coffee farmers have been breeding coffee plants
for higher yields and disease resistance for decades, so there was
no "Big Ag" interest, except in trying to create a genetically
modified decaff coffee bean that still tasted like coffee. To date
that effort has been a dismal failure.

The rediscovery of stunning heirloom varietals in the early 2000's,
in particular Panama Gesha, prodded the specialty coffee world into
investigating what else was out there. After all, Gesha had always
been there in Ethiopia, it just hadn't been singled out and
intensively researched to find the best combination of terroir and
climate for US$100+ per pound results!

Some of this effort went to checking out old origins like Reunion,
where the OTHER forgotten bourbon mutant was still growing. Called
"Bourbon Pointu" or "Laurina", seedlings were taken to Nicaragua and
Estate grown. This coffee is the

La Cumplida Laurina

This is the strangest green coffee I've ever seen. The beans are
long, thin and pointy, looking like overlarge rice grains.
Butterscotch aroma and clean, sweetly acid front palate, light body
and smooth sweet finish .. with naturally less than half the
caffeine of normal arabica!
We'll be seeing a lot more of this
varietal, and you're seeing it first!

Have a happy and safe holiday season!!

Until Next Year