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November 2006 Newsletter

Bad news is never welcome, but as a firm believer in keeping my
customers informed it can't be avoided. Bad news also seems to
come in threes, don't ask me why. The first bit of bad news
follows vigorous discussions with Lygon Imports, which have led
to the conclusion that they will no longer be dealing with Imat,
and there will be no further supplies of Mokita Combi or Mokita
espresso machines
.

This is a serious blow to both my business and the many customers
who have been querying the availability of these machines. The
only good thing to come out of the discussions is that spare
parts will be available for the future, as Lygon will continue to
import the Nemox machines, which are internally identical to the
Mokitas. I will also be looking at directly importing my own
equivalent machines (as I already do with the Rancilio Silvia and
laScala Butterfly) and spares. However, this will not happen
overnight.

The second piece of bad news concerns the Bodum Santos vacuum
brewers. Bodum Australia appears to have given up the competition
with Sheldon & Hammond, importers of Avanti plungers among other
things. Sheldon & Hammond are now Bodum's Australian
distributors, and will no longer be carrying the base Santos
sets.  Weird when you think that Bodum were suing S&H for
pinching their plunger designs a few years ago. However, for the
time being the more expensive Gift Sets are still available. I'm
also trying to build a good stock of spare parts so that I can
keep all my existing customers running.

My final bit of misery concerns the Organic Timor Maubesse
coffee. The current unrest in Timor has severely disrupted
supplies of the green coffee, and we were totally out of stock
for a couple of weeks in October. I managed to scrounge a bit
from a friendly competitor, but long term supply was looking
pretty dire. However, a bit of lateral thinking has rescued the
situation to some extent, so this month's special coffee is:

Organic Timor Maubesse Peaberry
                      $36.00/kg

A normal coffee cherry contains 2 beans. Peaberry beans form when
the 2 beans fuse into a single, denser bean shaped like a little
football. In my experience the extra density produces slightly
fuller, more concentrated flavours, and this is true of this
coffee as well. My cupping notes read "Medium acid, full body,
exceptionally balanced with cocoa and hazelnut overtones." The
green coffee is certified both Fair Trade and Organic.

On a more cheerful note, the Rancilio Silvia has received a
cosmetic upgrade and the new models are now available ex stock.
The visible upgrades are a new chromed group collar and a changed
drip tray cover design; internally the boiler casting is also
different. The group has been changed, with the addition of a
removable brass plate which can be swapped out to make the Silvia
"Pod Compatible". Pictures below.

The new look Rancilio Silvia, showing the chromed group collar and the new drip tray cover.
The group collar from underneath. Now the gap between the group and the body is invisible. The new collar is made out of some sort of plastic.
If you remove the showerscreen and water distributor...
...the new brass plate in the group comes off, too. This is so the machine can be converted to pod use.
New boiler design. Steam pipe now comes directly off the top of the boiler, overpressure valve is attached via a joiner fitting.
The overtemperature (red button) thermostat has been relocated to the front centre of the boiler, and you can see a small thermowell under the brew (red dot) thermostat.
The "old" boiler design. Thermowell at rear left, steam and OPV attachments on the right cast with the boiler, overtemp thermostat hole at front left of centre.

Note that I will NOT be carrying pod conversion kits. Coffee pods
are invariably stale (in this country, at least) and nasty, as
well as needing expensive equipment to produce. I have no
intentions of damaging my sales of fresh coffee by selling pod
using machines. I doubt there would be that much demand anyway as
the conversion cost appears to be quite high, in excess of
$100.00.

One final bit of good news is that I do have plenty of  stock of
the new Silvias, and my extra special Christmas Coffee has
arrived as well. It's nice to see some things are going right!

Alan