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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    finish I ve had a few communications from customers in the last couple of months commenting on my tasting notes and asking about my tasting methods so here goes FIRST TASTE is generally at what we call a cupping roast AKA Nordic Roast where the beans are just barely roasted enough to get through a grinder This is traditional cupping x amount of just off the boil water poured directly onto y grams of medium ground coffee We sniff the ground coffee the coffee that s just had hot water poured on it the coffee as we remove the crust of grounds on the surface and finally the brew itself Only after that do we dip a spoon into the coffee slurp swish and spit Now for me this stage of tasting is the least exciting bit of the process The very light roast certainly shows up any faults but it only reveals some of the potential Still if a coffee passes this stage I ll generally set about doing 2 or 3 test roasts SECOND TASTE involves cupping the different roasts against each other then deciding on which best brings out the qualities of the bean We use this to decide on a roasting profile then do a final test roast THIRD TASTE is quite specific and unique to Coffee for Connoisseurs I brew the final test roast in my Cona Model A syphon and have the coffee for breakfast Depending on how it comes up in the syphon I may then try it as a double espresso We then roast 10kg at a time in a Probat commercial roaster give it a final cupping to ensure it matches the desired profile and I sit down and work out my tasting notes Now as some of my customers have

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/december2014.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    the quality and performance have increased in line with the price so has the complexity of the machine internals Repairs on these machines are not a simple process and it s often cheaper for the manufacturer to simply replace the machine if it breaks during the warranty period The fact that all this slick but expensive technology exists has led some inventive people to propose that they can build even better and cheaper machines If only they had the money Which given the socially networked age we live in leads inevitably to crowdfunding via Kickstarter By pledging money to a project you can be among the first people to receive that item usually at a substantial discount to the eventual selling price The Granddaddy of these machines was the ZPM Nocturne Espresso machine a PID controlled machine with variable temperature and pressure profiles Initially 2011 supposed to cost around US 400 you can now preorder one for US 799 although a production machine has yet to ship Then came the Invergo filter brewer the Bonaverde Roast grind and filter brew machine and lately the Arist superauto espresso machine Sad to say it seems to me that the Arist machine is a total scam there is no way to get the performance and functionality at the price level and size they are claiming and the backers will never see a finished machine or their money back The Invergo is at least half a scam they used the money pledged to set up a company to seek venture capital not to make the product Bonaverde also seems to be in trouble as much from inexperience as anything else It appears that most of the offerings are from graphic designers and engineers who lack real life experience with actual coffee equipment I suppose

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/january2015.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    the Centre every day so extracting the odd parcel before it is scanned into the system appears to be the easiest way to do it My message to our customers is to email me immediately if you think your order is late and we ll follow it up within an hour or so So far every parcel that shows up on tracking has eventually been delivered Theft in a corporate sense also raised its head in the week after my January newsletter was published The people and company behind the ZPM Nocturne espresso machine Kickstarter went bust All the people who had pledged money to the Kickstarter campaign did their dough cold Nothing exceptional about that crowdfunding is a form of speculation anyway Where the theft comes from is that the ZPM company was actually accepting payment in advance orders for the machines and other goods separate from the Kickstarter They failed both to ship any orders and to supply refunds so they effectively pinched several hundred thousand U S dollars The most annoying thing to me is that most of the money was wasted trying to reinvent the wheel They tried to build their own thermoblock from the ground up ignoring the fact that several very competent manufacturers are already in business with decades of experience to draw on Without boasting I can say that I could build the machine they were aiming at in less than a year I know the right suppliers and engineers to get the job done So do dozens of other people in the business What I couldn t do and what was probably impossible in the first place would be to build it at the price point ZPM specified The same could be said for the Arist Superauto machine the technology exists to

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/february2015.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    kilometres and The Quantum Physics Delivery In which according to the tracking info a parcel exists simultaneously in Melbourne and Sydney until such time as somebody physically looks at it I m thinking of calling that one the Schrodinger s Cat Coffee Experiment Anyway on to some coffee related stuff There has been a fair bit in the news lately about the beneficial effects of coffee on various aspects of heath This has included colorectal and endometrial cancers multiple sclerosis heart disease and diabetes The amount of coffee involved is the equivalent of a daily intake of 2 double espressos or 4 6 cups of what Americans call coffee taken without milk or sugar Except for diabetes where coffee is known to affect a particular hormone all the other studies rely on statistics So while drink more coffee for your health might seem like a good idea now the odds are that some other statistical study will be telling you the opposite by next year On the other hand drink more coffee bought from me sounds like a great idea to me To help you do that this month we ve got a coffee sourced from the Ipanema plantation group in Brazil It s a varietal called Red Acaia a hybrid descended from the Mundo Novo varietal itself a hybrid of the 2 great Arabica types Bourbon and Typica Up until now it s been very rare As far as I know it s only grown in Brazil and I ve only ever tasted it as part of a Brazil Cup of Excellence cupping The coffee I tasted was eventually rated 87 which was pretty good but not enough to get it into the top ten finalists I would rate this one at least 89 and probably slightly higher Brazil

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/march2015.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    could only choose 3 coffees which ones would they be My third place coffee was the Haiti Grand Cru de Beaumont for everyday drinking pleasure Intensely sweet and complex brilliant chocolaty finish yet mild low in acid and caffeine so it could be savoured at any time of day That is of course depending on whether it s still available The Haitian coffee industry is gradually getting back on its feet after the 2010 earthquake but the only coffees I ve seen recently have been from various charitable agencies and somewhat lacking in quality Endemic official corruption is also delaying the rebuilding of washing mills roads and other necessary coffee infrastructure For my middle coffee I fancied something with a bit of upfront acid a bunch of ripe fruit flavours a decent body and a long cocoa aftertaste in other words something Ethiopian The coffee would be dry processed and probably either the Guji Sidamo or the Aricha Yirgacheffe High quality fruit forward Ethiopian coffees are becoming more common which is just as well The competition for these coffees both locally and from overseas is ferocious Price is determined by auction at origin and these days only goes up as more Specialty Coffee roasters recognise the quality My final selection was for a start the day coffee One that pries open the eyelids sharpens the reflexes and sends me out the door feeling optimistic At least until I hit the beginning of the local traffic chaos dicing with death with B Double trucks and white courier vans Wide eyes and sharp reflexes then become a necessity rather than a luxury My all time favourite coffee and I suspect yours as well is this month s special as well since it s that time of year It s from the Montez

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/april2015.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    coffee market We don t see it so much in Australia yet because we are less willing to pay 4 00 for a shot of Nespresso We expect to see a decent grinder and a high end machine serviced by a well trained barista for that sort of money However several of the places we stayed advertised Nespresso as a premium feature compared to the somewhat stale and weak filter or urn brews they also offered There is no doubt it is an improvement but at what cost In most coffee brewing systems to date the cost of the packaging is a tiny fraction of the overall cost of putting a cup in front of a customer Espresso in particular has a cost hierarchy of consumables coffee milk sugar labour then machine maintenance and other overheads built into the total price The packaging the coffee arrives in would be far less than 1 of this overall cost Capsule systems are disrupting this hierarchy with packaging suddenly costing more than the coffee it contains There is a very close analogy here with bottled water where packaging distribution and advertising represent 99 of the manufacturer s costs There s a flow on effect in the domestic machine industry as well Once upon a time people would decide to buy a beginner espresso machine and start with a little Sunbeam Breville Saeco or Krups machine Then they d progress to a grinder a Silvia or similar machine and then later on a heat exchanger type Talking with some old industry friends this progression has been totally disrupted Like me they have seen domestic machine sales decline steeply and a total halt in new beginner models coming to market There is still a market for higher end HX and Dual Boiler machines but even

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/may2015.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    PL041 PID and pressure gauge machine The current incarnation of this machine sells for 989 00 but it s 550 00 plus freight again first in best dressed The reason it s so cheap is that I imported it in 2011 for testing and it has been modified several times to improve the internal layout and fix some performance issues The portafilter boiler group etc are all standard Lelit 57mm and it has a particularly short steam wand but the basic brewing performance is on a par with it s bigger younger cousin the PL Plus Both machines come with our standard 12 month warranty Last month s newsletter drew a considerable response Quite a lot of the people emailing me pointed out that the worst feature of capsule coffees is the difficulty in recycling the used capsules Nestle will accept used capsules for recycling if you bring them in to certain places but as far as I know no other manufacturer will There are several reasons for this The first and most important reason is that capsules are generally made from mixed materials aluminium and several different plastics The second reason is the sheer difficulty of getting rid of the spent coffee grounds inside the capsule Coffee grounds are easy to recycle you can compost them or even use them directly on the garden Some capsules are all aluminium or all plastic so that shouldn t be a problem Separating the spent grounds from the capsules Aye there s the rub It s either labour or process intensive and ends up being quite expensive to do The sad reality is that in Australia less than 2 of all coffee capsules sold end up being recycled All the rest end up as landfill passing pollution down to future generations At

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/june2015.html (2015-11-27)
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  • Coffee for Connoisseurs Monthly Newsletter
    bought a machine a grinder and a big learning curve Convenience in the form of capsules and their exceptionally cheap machines Delonghi Nespresso 49 00 in Woolworth s this morning is rapidly shrinking the domestic market Our own exit from the machine business is now complete apart from spares and repairs and as a result we ll be moving to much smaller premises We simply don t need the storage space and the per square metre rent that goes with it With luck we ll have finished the move with no interruption to business by next week Of course it s probably going to take a couple of months to get everything sorted and to find all the missing bits and pieces that are currently living in cardboard boxes I m sure anyone who has moved house will sympathize One thing that hasn t changed much over the last 30 years is the necessity to find the best green coffees available worldwide This has only become more difficult as more and more roasters compete for access to what are still very limited quantities of coffee In the near future it s only going to get worse as ROYA coffee leaf rust rips through Central America I flagged the problem in my April and May 2013 newsletters and many of my worst case fears have come to pass In particular Central American maragogype growers are severely affected with crop losses of over 50 in some cases It s looking like we won t see ANY new crop maragogypes from either Colombia Nicaragua or even Guatemala so when my existing stock runs out that s it Of course I ll be testing out a variety of substitutes from both Nicaragua and Colombia for use both straight and in blends Which brings us

    Original URL path: http://www.coffeeco.com.au/newsletter/july2015.html (2015-11-27)
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