June 2003 Newsletter
May has been a troublesome month, in more ways than one. First,
the new shipments of Napoletanas and Juniors have arrived, bringing
consternation with them, as you can see from the text of the emails
I sent to all those who had machines on back-order.
"The new shipments of Juniors and Napoletanas are finally
arriving. The Napoletanas are already in stock and the Juniors are
due in the next couple of days. Unfortunately there is a major
problem with these shipments.
The machines that have been shipped are Napoletana and Junior
I's, NOT II's. This means that they come without the 3-way solenoid
pressure release valve. This does not affect the quality of the
brewed espresso or alter the look of the machine, but it does mean
1) Waiting time between shots is about 30 seconds 2) After
pulling a shot, you will get some drips of coffee from the
portafilter. 3) The spent coffee puck will not be as firm. 4)
Cleaning the group by backflushing is not necessary (or possible).
Since it will be at least 2 months until a new shipment arrives
the importer (Lygon Imports, www.lygonimport.com.au ) has decided to
sell the machines "as is". Current RRP's for the machines are:
Junior A$535.00 Napoletana A$749.00
I believe that it is unsatisfactory to charge full price for
these machines, since they have slightly reduced functionality, and
so they will be available from me at 10% less than RRP.
Junior A$478.50 Napoletana A$676.50
You may wish to cancel your order, or purchase one of these
units, or wait another 2 months until the new shipment arrives.
Simply let me know which option you'd prefer and I'll arrange stocks
This saga (which has been going on since last September) has cost
me a small fortune in lost sales, interest charges etc. I’m
determined it won’t happen again, so I’ll be off to the big Trade
Fair held in Milan in the middle of November to see what I can sort
out for myself.
Then, the new season shipment of Cafe de Cuba has been delayed.
This means that Cafe de Cuba is out of stock until the end of June,
but I’ve developed a blended "match" which is almost the same, with
a fraction more acid. It will be called "Cuba Analogue" to identify
it. Finally, the 2 bags of Dominican Cafe Josef, last month’s
special, turned out to be 70kg bags rather than the usual 60kg bags.
This means I’ve still got about 20kg of this much praised coffee
left to roast, so it will probably remain on the list for the next
week or so.
Below is a quote from Don Schoenholt, co-founder and past
president of the SCAA and CEO of Gillies Coffee in New York. Don
knows more about coffee than any 10 other people I can think of, but
is currently "taking arms against a sea of troubles." The City of
New York has established that the wonderful aroma of roasted coffee
emanating from the front door of Don's establishment is "air
pollution", following an anonymous (of course) complaint, and fined
him for it!
There's more to it than that, of course, since Don's factory is
in an Industrial area that's being yuppified, and said coffee smell
(and worse) emanates from the doors of every chain coffee store in
New York, but Don's a fighter and won't be giving in; he's taking it
to a higher court. Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to
quote him and wish him well in his battle with idiot bureaucracy;
the whole specialty coffee trade is deeply in his debt.
"Mocha & Java.
In coffee Eden first there was Mocha, and then there was Java.
The first blend, made either by accident or by design but probably
by the hand of man rather than the hand of God (but you never know
about these things) was made by putting the two original coffees of
commerce together in the same pot.
M&J is a remembered taste in the cultural history of American
coffee cuisine. It represents to us something warm and wonderful
tied to our simpler quainter culinary past.
M&J is the coffee equivalent of Sweet & Sour in other
foods. The original blends were formed by the mixing of two
distinctively different coffee tastes and looks. The deep smooth
heavy taste of old weathered Javas (they got that way crossing the
ocean in equatorial heat in unvented cargo holds of wooden bottomed
sailing ships) and the piquant, bitter-sweet cocoay taste of Arabian
(now Yemen) Mochas that were blended together usually after, but
sometimes prior to roasting.
The bakers term "Mocha" by the way comes from trying to recreate
the taste of those cocoay notes of pure Arabian coffee. They
succeeded in an overly sweet way by literally adding chocolate to
The traditional look of the M&J blend is small curled beans
(Mocha) and Large flat beans (Java) mixed together.
Today roasters try to recreate the taste of old any number of
ways; most often with lively small bean new crop Central American
coffees standing in for the Mochas blended with larger past crop
coffees of American or other origin filling in for the old Javas.
The nearest thing to an "old brown" Java today is India Monsooned
Malabar. The Mochas of course are still grown in Yemen, and can be
found in the better coffee lines here in the states.
A hundred years ago true Mocha & Java was already a thing of
legend no longer found in packages so named. At that time almost all
the "Mochas" we saw were Brazil coffees. Any "mild" of good bean was
sold as Javas. The purists howled but the stuff was sold as Mocha
& Java anyway. This ended with the passage of the first Food
& Drug laws in the US beginning in 1906. The big brands switched
to proprietary names to avoid being "scolded" by the Government for
When I was a boy (I was in High School when John Glenn made his
first orbital flight) there was only one brand of Mocha & Java
advertised in the land. The company was sold years ago, and no
longer makes the Mocha & Java claim. The rebirth of the
specialty trade brought with it a nostalgia for things past, and
Mocha & Java began, again to appear on barrels and bins, and
Roasters have an interesting time making the blend and marketing
their efforts. Some sell a blend of Mochas from Yemen and Javas from
Java. Others sell a blend of Ethiopian Mocha (sometimes spelled
Moka, Mocca, etc) and Javas from Java. Some use "Javas" from Timor,
or Sumatras or just don't give a hoot and use "Javas" from Ecuador,
Colombia, Peru or what-have-you.
There is almost no way for a roaster to get it right. If it's
Yemen and Java its correct by origin but most assuredly doesn't
taste like the legend though it may taste very good on its own
merits. With the real taste buried with the palates that knew it
well several generations ago roasters improvise.
If the origins in the blend are not Yemen and Java the blend
should be called Mocha & Java Style. In coffee Jargon "Style"
means "similar to but not the same as," unfortunately consumers
aren't really educated to that fact. The roaster should have some
additional descriptive on the package of Mocha & Java Style
coffee but most do not. Most do not bother to even say "Style."
Mocha & Java has become a coffee name without an origin.
Real Mocha is pricey. Real Java is too. And real Javas aren't
what they are cracked-up to be in the cup any more. So what's a
fella to do? The myth of Mocha & Java is mightier than the
passage of time, and continues to have a powerful pull upon the
specialty coffee world particularly here in the United States.
As long as the legend of Mocha & Java persists there will be
consumers who seek it out. Nature and commerce abhor a vacuum so
there will be Mocha & Java to be purchased.
As with all things Caveat Emptor.
Here's your chance to try my stab at it, anyway! I’ve used this
year’s Mocha Harar (which is more like Yemen Mocha than most Yemen
Mochas I’ve tasted) and real aged Java Arabica.
Mocha/Java Blend $34.00/kg
Full bodied, smooth, chocolatey, rich, yummie! Has a HUGE crema
brewed by espresso.
During May I finally managed to complete my assessment of some
High End domestic espresso machines available locally; it’s up on
Coffeegeek at http://www.coffeegeek.com/columnists/alanfrew/05-25-2003.
The last of the test machines is now for sale at cost, so here’s
someone’s chance to snap up a bargain.
Brugnetti Simona Top Automatic 1 group espresso machine, in black
& stainless steel finish, $1540.00 inc. GST. Full 12 month
warranty etc. applies. This is a Heat Exchanger machine with
automatic shot dosing, 1.5l brass boiler, steam always on tap, auto
boiler refill, tank water level sensor etc. Comes with single &
double commercial portafilters & baskets, scoop, tamper, blind
filter & espresso machine detergent.