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May 2006 Newsletter

Around the world in 20 days sounds like fun, until you wake up in
the middle of the night and realise that while your body is
present, your brain is three continents away. There are some
compensations though, and one of them came early in the trip, at
our first stop in Hong Kong.

One of my long time Hong Kong customers, Terry To, has started up
a little café at street level of the Peninsula Centre in Mody Rd.
in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong. Terry started off (as
did several other customers who are now "in the business") with a
Silvia and Rocky combo, and now has a 2 group La Marzocco and a
Mazzer! He has gradually increased his knowledge and expertise,
travelling to Italy to train as a barista, and assisting as a
judge in the China heats of the World Barista Competition.

Proud new cafe owners!

So off I went to Crema Coffee, G36 Peninsula Centre, 67 Mody Rd.,
expecting to be impressed. And impressed I was. Terry provided
the best straight espresso I have EVER had in Hong Kong, and then
did it again. He roasts Josuma's Malabar Gold blend on premises,
and obviously does a good job of it. He and his SO share the
barista tasks and both are equally skilled. Next time the
question of "where's the best coffee in HK" comes up on
Coffeegeek, Crema Coffee will be the answer!

The Imex Roaster greets you at the door.

Pulling shots on the La Marzocco.

Bags of Malabar Gold lined up at the counter.

The whole point. This shot has been pre-slurped (by me.)

I also took the opportunity to meet with Paul Pratt, the HK La
Marzocco rep while I was there. In fact, we had a snack at
Terry's café then Paul took me off to the Mong Kok district where
he was  shopping for a PID controller for a La Marzocco. This
area is a gadget freak's heaven, hundreds of tiny shops selling
all types of mechanical and electrical components, and
metalworkers and fabricators one after the other.

I reckon it would be possible to conceive, design and build an
espresso machine from scratch without having to travel more than
100 metres in any direction. Not that I'm going to, but I can
always dream...

While we were away Tmanna did a magnificent job of keeping the
orders flowing, in spite of a sudden upsurge in business. I had
budgeted sufficient beans to cover 4 weeks worth of normal
business, and we ran out of some of them at the end of our second
week away! Many international phone calls later we managed to
cover some of the deficiencies, and a couple of days of frantic
roasting brought us up to speed when we got back.

There's a lot more interesting stuff to come (Bramah Coffee & Tea
Museum in London, visits to Rancilio and laScala in Italy, SCAA
conference in the USA) but it will have to wait for another

This month's special coffee is :

Indian Tiger Mountain

This coffee is very much in the mould of the original Café de
Cuba; it's a sweet, mild, low acid coffee with a medium body and
a smooth malty finish. Ideal espresso blend material.

Finally, the new coffee order form is up, debugged and working,
taking a great strain off my mind. The Green Coffee and Equipment
order forms should debut later this month. ALL future credit card
orders should go through these forms, which will mean we will
never see or keep records of any of your credit card information.
All such information will be processed directly by the bank and
their gateway, which will be much more secure for all concerned.
When it's all working we'll try to make it even more "user
friendly", but that's for the future.