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  • of the discussion seems to me to focus on what people at the cutting edge of coffee be it baristas or well off hobbyists are doing Statements from the pro blends side that single origin is more popular with baristas because it presents repeatable easily describable shots for customers made me wonder about the last time a barista described a shot to me which outside of a trade show would be exactly never That goes double for the pro single origin side where Since you really can t maintain a blend in a way that it will taste more or less the same year in and year out not to mention month in and month out the whole exercise seems to me to be largely a waste of time just about had me foaming at the mouth Particularly since I ve been maintaining a blend for the last 25 years The secret to maintaining a blend is multiple redundancy where you have a wide palette of beans to manipulate the overall flavour Some of the premium Italian blends e g Illycafe have up to 12 different coffees in them Not all of the coffees are essential but by altering the proportions of say 3 different Brazil coffees Illy can ensure that the taste of the Brazilian component of their blend is always the same My own take on the whole argument is that it s basically ridiculous Yes most single origin coffees do not make well balanced espressos but there are definitely some such as Haiti or Yemen that do and are simply superb Yes there are a lot of really crappy blends out there usually designed to a price point rather than a flavour profile but there are a lot of good ones too The point that seems to

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/september2010.html (2015-11-27)
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    knowledge there isn t an overall shortage of green coffee but some origins Colombia in particular are in short supply This means that if you re committed to supplying Colombian coffee you wince every time you have to call your green coffee broker but if it s just a blend component you have other options As long as the coffee crops in Brazil and Vietnam No 1 Arabica producer and No 1 Robusta producer respectively are OK there are unlikely to be serious shortages The Futures Markets on the other hand can be less linked to actual events Apart from being subject to the usual spectrum of rumour innuendo and outright falsehood that generates most ordinary stock market turnover Futures Contracts are at best gambling on outcomes that haven t yet happened And every now and then a player or players will decide to try to tilt the odds in their favour This is especially true when there is a lot of money sloshing around and a lack of immediately profitable scams like dodgy mortgage packages to invest it in Like right now come to think of it So yes green coffee prices have risen a bit but not all that much in dollar terms To some degree it depends on which end of the market you re buying at If you are paying 4 00 kg for green large commercial roasters and the price goes up by a dollar it s a disaster If you re paying closer to 20 00 kg for some of your coffees like me a dollar increase is no big deal What is important is being able to get these coffees at all at any price Of course the effect in the cup is vastly diluted as well which makes interesting reading when people

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/october2010.html (2015-11-27)
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    my customers have recently tried a coffee which tastes very much the same the Haiti Grand Cru Real Jamaican Blue Mountain and there are only 4 sources Wallenford Mavis Bank Twyfords and Moy Hall had a touch more acidity than the Haiti and a little less body However recent JBM s I ve tasted have been extremely bland more like low grown Hawaiian Konas than anything else I can think of 10 coffees off the top of my head at least half of them previous monthly specials which are miles better Certainly the JBM s are not worth anything like the prices asked for them Which brings me on to The Most Expensive Coffee in the World Kopi Luwak aka cat poop monkey poop bird poop and just about any other animal that eats coffee cherries and excretes the undigested beans The Luwak is the Indonesian name for the Palm Civet a nocturnal omnivorous mammal which occupies the same sort of ecological niche in tropical Asia that the possum does in Australia Its official name is Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus it looks a bit like a hairy possum or a raccoon and when caught and eaten it is potentially a vector for the SARS virus The legend behind all the various excreted green coffees is that the animal in question chooses only the best and ripest coffee cherries to consume and that the subsequent passage of the green beans through their bowels magically produces a superior green coffee This of course ignores the fact that the beans in question may not be so great to begin with and in Java Vietnam or South China will probably be Robusta And yes all jokes aside will taste like crap I know this from personal experience having cupped Indonesian Kopi Luwak Indian Monkey Coffee the

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/november2010.html (2015-11-27)
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    will pack and ship an order the day after it is received the time in between is spent roasting the necessary coffees The large increase in order volumes over the next 3 weeks means that it may take 2 or even 3 days after receipt to get an order away Our Chrismas special coffee has been produced in exactly the same way for the last thousand years Coffee shrubs are grown in poor soil on rocky terraces in a harsh desert climate watered by hand and the morning dew The coffee cherries are hand picked as they ripen then laid out on the terraces to dry in the sun A local collector will then go door to door to each household getting a few kilos from each He will pass his haul of dried coffee cherry on to a bigger collector as will many others The large scale collector will then sell his tonne or two to a coffee merchant exporter for processing The dried skin and fruit pulp is husked off and saved to be sold as Qishr a sort of tea The green coffee beans are then laboriously winnowed and sorted by hand and hand sewn into 60 kilo bags for export The majority of the coffee is indeed exported because the locals drink the Qishr instead The country I am talking about is the birthplace of coffee as we know it and Arabica coffee in particular Indeed it was once known as Arabia Felix and was the centre of the Arabian spice trade all shipped through the port of Al Makka or Mokha The country is of course Yemen and the coffee is Yemen Mokha Ismaili 60 00 kg This is not a coffee for the casual drinker It has a penetrating cocoa like aroma and complex

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/december2010.html (2015-11-27)
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  • tamping routines were correct the shot volume settings were right but the actual shot timings and therefore the extraction qualities were all over the place A couple of times I was presented with 60ml doubles pulled in 7 to 8 seconds and my polite requests for an espresso pulled with a finer grind were met with blank looks or excuses that only the boss supervisor sales rep are allowed to adjust the grinder Yes it was over the holiday period and the staff were almost certainly lowly paid casuals but it appeared that they had been given precisely two thirds of the necessary training They knew how to froth milk and how to pull shots but had no idea of how to pull GOOD shots and the importance of the grinder to the overall process Even most of the average shots appeared to be more by accident than design with little attention during the shot On the other hand both of the good shots were produced by eagle eyed baristas who watched them to the last drop I suspect that it would be possible to improve the standard of espresso all over Australia simply by teaching café staff that a shot must run for no less than 20 and no more than 25 seconds and that this is achieved by adjusting the grind given that the espresso machine itself is set for correct dose volumes When it comes to improved espresso I ve been amazed by the proliferation of Synesso machines close to home There are at least four Synessos within walking distance the closest about 150 metres at 3 Station Pier and the others a bit further away They are generally matched with superb Mazzer grinders Kony E s seem to be popular and excellent baristas but while the

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/january2011.html (2015-11-27)
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    Last time I wrote on a political subject it was to deride the government of the day for trying to impose GST on green coffee on the grounds it was unfit for human consumption This time it s to say that although I didn t vote for the current government I do support the idea of a Flood Levy and will gladly pay it regardless of other charitable donations And I m getting heartily sick of an opposition whose first reaction to ANY government proposal is always No Whatever happened to we think it s a good idea but would like to see safeguards in place to prevent wastage and pork barreling There are a lot of Australians out there whose lives homes and businesses have been shattered as well as huge amounts of damage to general infrastructure Getting people and places back on their feet should be politicians first priority With that off my chest we resume normal coffee programming Regular readers will be well aware of my fondness for honey miel pulped natural or semi washed coffees all different names for the same type of processing We ve seen the results from Costa Rica PNG and Brazil generally more body and flavour intensity and less acidity This month s special coffee is a bit different as it actually has LESS body but more fruit and a hint of sweet acidity In this case less body is good because the normal coffees we see from Sumatra tend to be all body and earthy flavours and very little else Sumatra Wahana Madu 42 00 kg This coffee has a lifted aroma a mild slightly fruity acidity a spicy mid palate and a buttery smooth finish It is about as far from a typical Sumatra as I have ever tasted but

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/february2011.html (2015-11-27)
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    coffee prices are only up by 50 or so For us the problem is going to be less about what we re paying for coffee and more about getting hold of good quality green coffees at all Frankly higher green coffee prices don t scare me that much we can always tighten our belts a bit and wait to see what happens when next year s crops come in As with most agricultural products it s possible to go from shortage to surplus pretty quickly What does send shivers down my spine is being told Sorry none available at any price The growth of specialty coffee in the USA has made it more difficult for the rest of us to get access to the good stuff and even average quality coffee is more costly and harder to get which has to be giving some of our major roasters heartburn Bottom end espresso will be getting even worse As I ve said before Australia is at the bottom end of the chain when it comes to supply from most of the world s coffee producing areas and we re lucky to have skilled green coffee suppliers with long histories in the business to keep us going However even with their assistance and support we are not going to be able to get exactly the same coffees that we ve had in the past In the next few months there WILL be changes to the coffees we re offering some minor and some major Café de Cuba will become Café de Cuba Peaberry sometime this month a slightly cleaner tastier version of the current coffee but basically the same In other circumstances I would have put it on as a monthly special but right now I m just happy to have it

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/march2011.html (2015-11-27)
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  • is Yemen Mokha Ismaili 60 00 kg As I said in December this is not a coffee for the casual drinker It has a penetrating cocoa like aroma and complex earthy flavour with distinctive unsweetened cocoa coffee tastes There is little in the way of sweetness or acidity but swirling it in the mouth brings a continuous perception of differing flavours It probably makes one of the best most complex single origin espressos on earth Note that while it is not certified organic it is organically grown and processed and always has been It will never be a Fair Trade coffee because it always sells at a huge premium to the base Fairtrade price Given the current political turmoil in Yemen it may be a long time before we see any more of this I m supposed to be getting some later this year it s about a 6 month lead time so prior to the current troubles but I m not by any means sure of it Last month I had a few interesting problems from customers A couple of them related to wearing out rubbery bits on espresso machines and I had to say Sorry but this is inevitable No matter how resistant the rubber used in o rings and gaskets is the heat and moisture involved in the process eventually wears them down Water starts leaking around the portafilter during brewing steam wands start to drip internal pipes leak at the joints All this is quite familiar to commercial machine technicians as fixing it represents at least half of their income On the domestic side I keep referring people to my article http www coffeeco com au articles repair html so they can save money and DIY Several other problems related to delivery times in far flung

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/april2011.html (2015-11-27)
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