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September 2005 Newsletter

Hurricane Katrina's destructive effects will resonate for many
years in many different fields. Given that 25% of all the green
coffee beans in stock in the USA were stored in and around New
Orleans when Katrina hit, the effects on the coffee industry will
be profound. There will almost certainly be an immediate jump in
green coffee prices, as well as shortages of certain coffees.
Note that my coffee prices will remain the same until at least
the end of the year.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for postage and courier
costs. Australia Post has just increased its prices yet again,
and increased petrol prices will mean that the courier cost will
probably go up next month. Website figures will be adjusted in
October.

Mind you, some good may come out of this. Coffee growers, who
have been suffering the effects of depressed world prices for
several years, may once again find that the demand for their
product exceeds the supply, leading to better incomes at
plantation level. The plantations themselves are now taking a
hand in adding value to the green coffee beans before they get to
the roaster.

This month's special is a good example. The product of the
Ipanema Agricola S.A. plantation, it has been produced by
specifically choosing certain coffee varieties, then processing
the coffee cherries in such a way as to emphasize various
qualities - in this case, sweetness and low acidity.

This emphasis on producing what is in effect a "designer" coffee
has obviously paid off, as the Ipanema coffees sell at a high
premium compared to ordinary Brazils. So the September special is

Brazil Ipanema Dulce
$36.00/kg

A sweet, extremely low acid coffee with good body and a
pronounced fruit and cocoa flavour. This coffee is (more or less
by design) ideally suited for espresso rather than drip or
plunger.

Those of you who are more involved with the online coffee world
will note that the specials over the last 3 months, including
this one, have also appeared at
www.sweetmarias.com , the
reference site for home roasters in the USA. This is not as much
of a coincidence as it seems, because Tom Owen, owner of
Sweetmarias, is an expert cupper who seeks out only the highest
quality beans available. So do I. There are only a few really
good coffees available worldwide, and quite often these days we
will both end up with the same beans.

A word of warning to Australian based customers. Do NOT, under
any circumstances, attempt to import green beans from Sweetmarias
or any other overseas supplier. Due to changes in interpretation
of various Customs and Quarantine rules you will be charged at
least $160.00 for inspection and permits, regardless of the
amount of coffee involved. I have refused several interesting but
unsolicited green coffee samples over the last 18 months for just
this reason.

Finally, as a result of the straw poll that I conducted among you
in the July newsletter, I've decided that service and serious
technical advice for non-customers is off the menu for the time
being. It's hard enough to find the time to look after existing
customers as it is, and I don't think that I can work out a fair
system for charging for this kind of advice. Note that customers
are entirely welcome to pick my brains (such as they are) at any
time.

Until next month


Alan.