July 2011 Newsletter
My new shipment of Lelit machines has arrived more or less on time, and with
some interesting changes. Both the PL041 and the PL042 Combi have an all new
ball-joint steam wand that looks almost exactly like the steam wand on the
Rancilio Silvia. As near as I can tell, only the steam tip is different, the
Rancilio one is rounded and the Lelit is pointy.
However, the tip is an industry standard 10mm female thread model, which means
that it can be swapped with a variety of tips as seen here
http://www.coffeeparts.com/misc/steam-tips.html . In fact, the whole steam arm
assembly has that "straight out of the commercial parts bin" look about it. This
is becoming more common as machine manufacturers realise that consumers now
have access to espresso parts supplier catalogues. And before anyone asks,
sorry, but it can't be retrofitted to older machines.
The PL53 grinder has a much larger hopper (450 grams capacity) which is more
transparent, but no other changes. It's nice to see incremental upgrades to the
machines, although as with most things to do with Italian espresso the pace of
change is glacially slow. It's only taken 16 years to get rid of the "froth-aid"
I've put up a new "How-to-repair" article on the website specifically aimed at
the Lelit machines and element replacement. There are quite a few differences
compared to the Imat and Nemox versions of these machines, most of them related
to Lelit's use of quick release hose connectors.
For this month's special coffee I decided a complete contrast to June's lemony,
acidy Yirgacheffe would be good, which meant a sweet, low acid type coffee.
Naturally enough, my thoughts turned to Brazil, and finding a superb example of
a typical Brazilian coffee. As usual, I started cupping, and lo and behold I
happened on a microlot from Decio Bruxel.
Decio is the coffee grower, and his farm is the Fazenda São João in the Cerrado
region of Brazil. If you type his name into Google, his bio and independent
assessments of his coffee are available online. Basically he and his family moved
their coffee plantation to the Cerrado area after the disastrous frosts in the
1990's. He is involved with "Nucoffee", a Brazilian sustainable agriculture
organization which is also involved in improving conditions for farm workers.
The microlot thing means that there is only a teensy amount of this coffee
produced, a couple of dozen 60kg bags, and it's a one-off ... next years
production will be a different lot. So the July special is
Brazil Microlot Bruxel
A sweet, low acid coffee with chocolate and raisin overtones. Makes a stunning
single origin espresso with a rich, dense crema.
Finally, and sadly, our postage charges will rise sometime this month. Australia
Post has been increasing its prices on a six-monthly basis for the last couple
of years and the difference between what we pay and what we're charging has
become too big. Courier charges have gone up as well, so we'll move all the
prices at once.
New prices will be:
Courier Satchel 2kg $7.00
Post Satchel 400g $6.50
Post Satchel 2kg $10.00
Express Post 400g $8.50
Express Post 2kg $12.00
A quick check at your local Post Office will reveal that we're still subsidising
the postage a bit, just not as much!