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July 2011 Newsletter

My new shipment of Lelit machines has arrived more or less on time, and with some interesting changes. Both the PL041 and the PL042 Combi have an all new ball-joint steam wand that looks almost exactly like the steam wand on the Rancilio Silvia. As near as I can tell, only the steam tip is different, the Rancilio one is rounded and the Lelit is pointy.

However, the tip is an industry standard 10mm female thread model, which means that it can be swapped with a variety of tips as seen here . In fact, the whole steam arm assembly has that "straight out of the commercial parts bin" look about it. This is becoming  more common as machine manufacturers realise that consumers now have access to espresso parts supplier catalogues. And before anyone asks, sorry, but it can't be retrofitted to older machines.

The PL53 grinder has a much larger hopper (450 grams capacity) which is more transparent, but no other changes. It's nice to see incremental upgrades to the machines, although as with most things to do with Italian espresso the pace of change is glacially slow. It's only taken 16 years to get rid of the "froth-aid" thingies!

I've put up a new "How-to-repair" article on the website specifically aimed at the Lelit machines and element replacement. There are quite a few differences compared to the Imat and Nemox versions of these machines, most of them related to Lelit's use of quick release hose connectors.

For this month's special coffee I decided a complete contrast to June's lemony, acidy Yirgacheffe would be good, which meant a sweet, low acid type coffee. Naturally enough, my thoughts turned to Brazil, and finding a superb example of a typical Brazilian coffee. As usual, I started cupping, and lo and behold I happened on a microlot from Decio Bruxel.

Decio is the coffee grower, and his farm is the Fazenda So Joo in the Cerrado region of Brazil. If you type his name into Google, his bio and independent assessments of his coffee are available online. Basically he and his family moved their coffee plantation to the Cerrado area after the disastrous frosts in the 1990's. He is involved with "Nucoffee", a Brazilian sustainable agriculture organization which is also involved in improving conditions for farm workers.

The microlot thing means that there is only a teensy amount of this coffee
produced, a couple of dozen 60kg bags, and it's a one-off ... next years
production will be a different lot. So the July special is

Brazil Microlot Bruxel

A sweet, low acid coffee with chocolate and raisin overtones. Makes a stunning single origin espresso with a rich, dense crema.

Finally, and sadly, our postage charges will rise sometime this month. Australia Post has been increasing its prices on a six-monthly basis for the last couple of years and the difference between what we pay and what we're charging has become too big. Courier charges have gone up as well, so we'll move all the prices at once.

New prices will be:

Courier Satchel 2kg    $7.00
Post Satchel 400g       $6.50
Post Satchel 2kg        $10.00
Express Post 400g      $8.50
Express Post 2kg       $12.00

A quick check at your local Post Office will reveal that we're still subsidising
the postage a bit, just not as much!