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February 2008 Newsletter

Serendipity is a "happy accidental discovery" which happens when
you're looking for something else. In my case, I was looking to
complete my half-yearly stocktake and clean up my green coffee
storage, when I realised I had almost enough leftover green
coffees to make up a monthly special.

I end up with odds, sods and bag ends of various beans; some of
them former specials, some of them superseded blend components
and the occasional sample that didn't quite make it to "Monthly
Special" status. Usually they would be worked into a compatible
blend 5% at a time, but this time I decided to mix them all up
together, roast the end result, then taste it and see how it
turned out.

As it happened, it turned out spectacularly well. What I got
could almost be described as "sugar and spice", a sweetly acidic
green apple front palate with luscious, creamy mouthfeel and a
spicy cedar and sandalwood aftertaste. Which makes this month's

Serendipity Blend

Not only a unique blend (I couldn't duplicate it ever again) but
very limited in quantity.

There was another happy event at around the same time. A delivery
of Bodum Santos syphons arrived out of the blue. These have been
on backorder for over 12 months, and I'd just about given up hope
of ever seeing them again. They are the "Champagne Set" that come
with the stand and lid included, and you will find them on the
Equipment Order page of the website for $99.00.

I'm finally getting on top of business for long enough to start
doing something about documenting the October 2007 trip to Italy.
The last couple of months have been a nightmare of computer
problems culminating in last month's server crash, but thankfully
everything now appears to be working.

Anyway, one of the purposes of the Italy trip was to visit Gemme,
the manufacturers of the Lelit espresso machines. We discussed
some potential future improvements, as well as the Lelit PL053
grinder. This is a Lux based dedicated conical espresso grinder
with a complete stainless steel body and worm gear adjustment. It
should be available for under A$300.00, I think around May.

Brass boilers lined up for installation. These are 110v/60hz models going into LaPavoni badged machines. The almost completed machines post production. The Pavonis have push button switches and a pressure gauge, but no 3-way solenoid.

The PL053 Grinder, basically a Lux with "infinite" adjustment and no static problems. Discussing business with Cristina. The majority of Gemme's employees  (including the assemblers) are female, and extremely competent.

I am still in the process of writing up the Host exhibition at
Fiera Milano, but 2 things stand out.

The first is that with the exception of specialist companies like
Saeco, Gemme and Nemox, Italian espresso machine manufacturers
(except Rancilio) are no longer competing in the domestic market.
There are a number of "new" companies offering E-61 group semi-
professional machines, though. The "low" end of the market
appears to have been ceded to China.

The second standout is that a "new" commercial espresso machine
just HAS to have blue LEDs. I have never seen so many twinkling
blue lights in one place! However, there didn't seem to be many
huge leaps forward in technology on display.

The reason for the proliferation of E-61 units is that building
them is a doddle, with all the necessary bits now available from
standard component suppliers. All the "manufacturer" need supply
is a frame and an external case. I'll be sticking with the
Butterflys due to their proven build quality.