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March 2017 Newsletter

"Alternative Facts" are an interesting concept. When I was a lad in
school (which naturally I walked to, 2 hours, uphill both ways,
barefoot in the snow) they were actually called "Tall Tales", "Lies"
or "Fiction". Alas, it's becoming increasingly common for people to
invent their own version of reality, and it's not just confined to

There are a number of "Alternative Fact" coffee products currently
available, and they seem to be proliferating. The oldest of these is
Green Coffee Extract, basically what you get when you mince green
beans (they don't grind too well) and soak or boil them in water.
The extract is promoted as a weight loss supplement. I'm pretty sure
it works if you can put up with the caffeine jitters and the
chlorogenic acid diarrhoea, but I don't think laxatives are
generally recommended for weight loss.

The next product was conceived more as a marketing "hook" than
anything else. Again, it's supposed to be part of a "Diet
Revolution" and this time the claim is that replacing your breakfast
with a cup of extra special coffee blended with selected fats
(butter and coconut oil) will help you lose weight. The rest of the
diet is high protein/high fat/low carb so basically a rework of the
Atkins diet.

The "hook" is the extra-special coffee, supposedly free of nasty
fungal toxins called mycotoxins, which of course means that every
other coffee in the world must contain these toxins. Which also
justifies the exceptionally high price of the special coffee.

This is indeed a venture into the realm of alternative facts. The
truth is that we live in a world surrounded by fungi and their
toxins, but the concentrations are so small and our immune systems
so efficient that most of them have no effect, as anyone who
survived a uni share house bathroom, fridge and sofa can attest. The
other truth is that most properly processed coffees don't have
detectable mycotoxins, and specialty coffees have by definition been
properly processed.

The latest bout of reality alteration comes via yet another American
coffee roaster. Having apparently visited Bali and seen local
village level coffee processing (he calls it "unwashed" but it was
almost certainly Giling Basah) he has decided that unwashed coffee
is subject to all sorts of ills, poisons, dirt and toxins. Of
course, his "specially washed" coffee is guaranteed to make you
brighter and healthier than nasty unwashed coffee.

This really reflects a profound ignorance of actual coffee
processing techniques and the effect of roasting at over 200C.  A
washed coffee has simply had the fruit part of the coffee cherry
fermented away in water. An unwashed coffee can have the fruit dried
in the cherry then removed, or mechanically scrubbed away, or left
to dry on the surface of the bean and removed with the silverskin.
The last is the "Honey" or "Miel" process that makes such flavourful
coffees, including this month's special.

Colombia  Esperanza  Red Honey Bourbon

This is almost certainly the best coffee we'll have this year. It has
an initial jasmine and honey aroma. With a superb balance of fruit,
acid, candy sweetness and full malty finish it rates a 95 cupping

Of course, if it makes you feel unhealthy, it's not the coffee's
fault, it's just that your cup has bad cosmic vibes, and for $199.99
plus P&H we can sell you a cosmically aligned cup guaranteed to

Until next month


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