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March 2003 Newsletter

Equipment supply problems are really getting serious! A glance at the Espresso machine page of my website will confirm this, as I'm out of stock of EVERYTHING Quaha except the Lux grinders. The last shipment of these grinders has arrived but the container has not yet cleared customs, so I hope to finally have some Lux grinders by Friday 07/03.

The reason that there won't be any more Quaha grinders, or espresso machines, is that Quaha no longer exists as a separate company. Long-term shareholder ILLYCAFE has taken over the whole lot and will now use the facilities to make the Francis!Francis range of machines, www.francisfrancis.com . In fact, the FF Espresso range has been made at Quaha for the last few years, but Illy has apparently decided to substantially increase the production. This doesn't mean the end of the supply of Napoletanas, Juniors and Lux, but the production of these machines has moved from Trieste to the Breschia area of Italy, under the supervision of IMAT, the original designers. All this to-ing and fro-ing has resulted in substantial production delays, with several promised shipping dates simply not being met.

So I will still get machines, but the existing shortage will continue until at least early April. Once the pipeline is up and running again things should even out, but in the meantime I just have to put up with it!Rancilio Base Set

Things on the Rancilio front are much smoother. I now have the Stainless steel bases available to match the Silvia/Rocky set. The Bases have a “knockout” drawer and an accessories drawer, and will be $143.00 including GST. Stocks of Silvias and Rockys are pretty good as well; there may be one or two weeks when I'm out of stock between shipments, but that should be all. Those customers who want to buy the whole stainless steel set can do so at a total cost of $1287.00 inc. GST (plus delivery.) If you’ve already bought the Silvia and Rocky from me and would like the base, contact me for a deal.

Some more good news is the return of the 58mm blind filter and espresso machine detergent offer for $11.00 inc. GST with any coffee order, I managed to get 30 blind filters so they shouldn't run out as fast as they did last time.

I've just finished checking out the Expobar Office Control heat exchanger machine. This unit is meant as a single group machine for small deli or office use, and is pretty cheap as such things go ($1700.00.) However, I wasn't that impressed with it; it lacks several major features compared to its higher end and slightly more expensive cousins, and doesn't pull significantly better shots than a Silvia.

Having finally caught up with my backlog, I hope to evaluate a couple of the competing machines this month, with a round-up in April or May. I won't be going to this year's SCAA conference in Boston, so I should be able to find the time.

To continue with the machine related theme, I managed to squeeze out an article for Coffeegeek last month about small "tweaks" for large results with espressos. You can find it at www.coffeegeek.com .

And now to the important bit, this month's special. I promised something really good for March, and indeed it is:

KENYA AA PEABERRY

$35.00/kg

At a time when it's getting increasingly difficult to find superb coffees, one like this comes along. It has the typical Kenyan "blackcurrant" aroma, but (unlike standard Kenya AA with its prominent acidity) this coffee caresses the palate with a rich, buttery mouthfeel, with the mild acidity just sufficient to cleanse the palate for the next sip. It is absolutely smooth, with no hint of bitterness or off flavours in the aftertaste.

For the small but dedicated band of home roasters out there, yes, the Kenya Peaberry will be available as green beans. My recommendation for roasting would be to take it about 10 seconds into 2nd crack but no further. The beans should be dark but without visible oil spots when just roasted.

Until next month,

Alan.