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February 2011 Newsletter

"I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged
mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains." January 2011
proved the truth behind Dorothy Mackellar's poem, with a
vengeance. Coming off the back of a decade of drought, we got the
flooding rains, with added cyclones.

My own family was more involved than was comfortable. The picture
below is the view from my parent's bedroom window on the morning
of January 15th. I don't think they ever contemplated having
absolute waterfront views!

The view towards Brigg's Bluff, The Grampians, Victoria.

Fortunately the house wasn't damaged, but it was a close (6cm)

Some of their neighbours were equally lucky, but others weren't.
Which leads me to something I haven't done for 10 years or so, a
"political" newsletter. Last time I wrote on a political subject
it was to deride the government of the day for trying to impose
GST on green coffee on the grounds it was "unfit for human

This time it's to say that, although I didn't vote for the
current government, I do support the idea of a Flood Levy, and
will gladly pay it, regardless of other charitable donations. And
I'm getting heartily sick of an opposition whose first reaction
to ANY government proposal is always "No".

Whatever happened to "we think it's a good idea but would like to
see safeguards in place to prevent wastage and pork barreling"?
There are a lot of Australians out there whose lives, homes and
businesses have been shattered, as well as huge amounts of damage
to general infrastructure. Getting people and places back on
their feet should be politicians' first priority.

With that off my chest, we resume normal coffee programming.

Regular readers will be well aware of my fondness for "honey",
"miel", "pulped natural" or "semi-washed" coffees, all different
names for the same type of processing. We've seen the results
from Costa Rica, PNG and Brazil, generally more body and flavour
intensity and less acidity. This month's special coffee is a bit
different as it actually has LESS body ... but more fruit and a
hint of sweet acidity. In this case, less body is good, because
the "normal" coffees we see from Sumatra tend to be all body and
earthy flavours and very little else.

Sumatra Wahana Madu

This coffee has a lifted aroma, a mild, slightly fruity acidity,
a spicy mid-palate  and a buttery smooth finish. It is about as
far from a typical Sumatra as I have ever tasted, but it doesn't
fall easily into a general geographic category either. I suspect
that if I was trying to pick it out of a blind cupping lineup I'd
guess Sulawesi or PNG. It does make a nice change from the "in-
your-face" Yemen Mokha, which is the second most commented on
special we've ever had. (Haiti is still No.1)

Finally, in machine news, I'm pleased to announce that the
"plumb-in" version of the laScala Butterfly, the laScala Eroica,
is now back in stock. Having played with both Vibiemme and
Expobar equivalents this month, I have to say that the best
things about the laScala machines is that they just work out of
the box, with no fuss or muss.

If only we could get pollies that did the same (sigh).

Until next month