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February 2010 Newsletter

The massive earthquake that devastated Haiti has focussed the world's attention on one of the poorest countries in the world, but Haiti has had my attention for many years. Over ten years ago we imported a tiny amount of Haitian coffee as part of a USA church-sponsored aid effort.


In the subsequent years my wife and I have been involved with sponsorship of a Haitian child via Plan Australia and other charitable efforts. Fortunately it appears that our current sponsored child lives well away from the earthquake area.


Problems with the Haitian coffee industry, including weather, violent revolution and massive corruption have meant that we haven't been able to repeat our initial import. There has simply been no coffee available to us, with the tiny amounts exported ending up mostly in the USA. Despite this I have kept up a standing order with green coffee suppliers, more or less on the basis "you get it, I'll buy it and worry about the price later".


The reason I was willing to make such an open-ended commitment was the stunning quality of original shipment. It was a rich, sweet, full bodied low acid coffee, in many ways similar to the Cuba but sweeter.


You can imagine my surprise when my green supplier told me that some Haiti coffee had arrived with my new pallet of Cuba! Fortunately the quality appears to have held up in the intervening years. So this month's special coffee will be:


Haiti Grand Cru de Beaumont



It starts off with the sweetest aroma I have ever found, reminiscent of treacle or golden syrup. The front palate taste is lively and complex, blending into a full, smooth body, then finishing with an intense chocolate aftertaste, and that's just in the syphon. It's a killer single origin espresso!


Quantity limit will initially be 1.00kg per order, as I doubt we will see any more for many years to come.


Another "old favourite" of more recent vintage has also joined our list of espresso equipment this month. It's the Lelit PL041, the equivalent of what used to be the Imat Junior, the Lelit machine without the built in grinder.

The arrival of the PL041 was timely because I have decided to discontinue selling Sunbeam products. The "death" of the Bang Bang and their somewhat cavalier attitude to their smaller retailers decided me.


As part of introducing the PL041 I have updated my original comparison between this type of machine and the Rancilio Silvia. Considering it is $250.00 cheaper the PL041 stands up remarkably well. The internal layout has changed a bit over the years and the build quality is much better, using heavier grade stainless steel. Espresso and steam quality are identical.


The main difference now is that you can't "Hot Rod and Mod" the Lelit with aftermarket components as some Silvia owners are wont to do.