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July 2008 Newsletter

What's happening with the newsletter?? Has been a frequent
question over the last couple of months, for good reason. It has
become impossible to send out the newsletter by email via my
normal ISPs (both of them) as they have introduced filtering
programs which limit the number of emails you can send at a time.
The actual figure seems to be 38 emails in around 30 minutes,
which means my normal mailing list would literally take days.

At the same time my secure server host has been having frequent
breakdowns (fortunately not with security, just going offline so
customers can't place orders.) Having got heartily fed up with
all these problems, and what passes for "Help Desks" these days,
I've opened up my wallet, chased out the moths and commissioned a
complete rewrite of the order pages with a new secure hosting
company.

Part of the job will be a new subscribe/unsubscribe process, mail
shots via the secure server and a number of other tweaks. We are
looking for a seamless changeover sometime late this month.

You'll see a few other changes at the same time, mostly increases
in courier and postage rates. I don't think anyone will be
surprised that the increases in fuel costs are now flowing
through the system, particularly if they've filled up their car
lately.

I know I bang on about the need for cleanliness when it comes to
espresso machines, but you only have to look at the photo here 
to see why. No wonder the machine needed servicing!

Who knows what evil lurks beneath the showerscreen? In this case, 2mm of solidly encrusted coffee tars and complete blockage of the screen itself.

Anyway, to get back to the important things in life (COFFEE!!)
coffee producers are starting to realise that they can improve
and differentiate their product by changing the way they process
it. One of the newer methods now getting popular in Central
America is the Miel process.

In this method the tough skin is removed from the coffee cherry
but the sticky fruit (mucilage) is left clinging to the beans.
The beans are then sun dried on raised platforms. This allows the
sugars and flavours in the fruit to be absorbed by the green
coffee. The end result is a roasted coffee with less acidity,
more body and more sweetness than the same coffee processed by
normal methods has.

This month you will be able to compare the coffees side-by-side
if you want to, because the monthly special is


Costa Rica Dota Tarrazu Miel
$40.00/kg

"Miel" means "Honey", and when you taste the fruity sweetness and
smooth body which comes from this processing method you'll
understand why.

And finally, the last couple of months have produced a flurry of
interesting email. Some of the questions have been fun, "How do
we get rid of a cockroach infestation in our Silvia?", some have
been challenging, "I'm having chemotherapy and most coffees taste
metallic. Can you suggest a blend to overcome this?" but the
prize goes to the following email for most exasperating.
"I have just purchased a *$5000* brand espresso machine and a
*$2000* matching grinder but I'm finding the shots taste thin and
bitter with no crema. Please advise."

A bit of to-and-fro determined that the $26.00/kg beans from the
local supermarket ("Best before 2009") combined with zero actual
espresso experience had a lot to do with the problems!

 

Alan