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May 2017 Newsletter

Continuing on from last month's newsletter, this month's effort is
about what happens when my coffee finally arrives. The absolute
first step is to get a sample of the green coffee out of the actual
delivery and roast it. I then cup it against the pre-delivery
sample, to make sure that it matches. Very rarely there can be
differences, due to damage during shipping or in one case supplying
old crop coffee instead of the latest lot.

Presuming everything is OK, it's then off to the roasters. I hire
time at a couple of well established roasteries, both of which have
15 kg capacity gas fired Probat roasters. Having worked out the
roast profile I want at the sample stage, it's just a matter of
matching it on the Probats. I roast in small batches, 10 kg at a
time (you only get 8.5 kg out after moisture loss) so there's quite
a lot of work involved.

Then when I get the coffee back to the office it's stored in sealed
tubs ready to pack. One thing that many of our customers don't think
about is that every single order is freshly packed to specification.
We simply don't have any coffee pre-packed, it's all out of the
tubs, onto the scales and into the bags. Another thing is that we
roast more-or-less to order, my schedule for any given day depends
on the orders we received the day before.

The filled bags are then packed in the appropriate satchels, with
the tracking stickers from the satchel stuck to each order. Couriers
then arrive to pick up the day's production and we start the cycle
again, as the satchels head safely to their destinations.

That's what used to happen. Since the start of this year the
"service" that Australia Post has been providing has slipped quite a
bit. In particular Express Post, which is supposedly guaranteed
overnight delivery, just hasn't been working. Worse than that,
complaints to Australia Post have been met with indifference. The
"Guarantee" states that in the event of late delivery a free
replacement satchel will be provided; to date, not one has been
offered or supplied.

As a result of this I've also complained to my local Federal MP, as
I figure action at a political level is the only way things will
improve. I urge my customers to do the same if they encounter
similar problems.

A couple of my industry peers have twitted me over my coffee tasting
descriptions, describing them as a bit terse. When the average
tasting notes read "Floral and tea rose upfront. Gentle balanced
acidity and a heavy silky body. Spiced apple and cinnamon notes move
into a dark chocolate and honeycomb finish." That's for our
Nicaraguan coffee.

This month's special is

Sumatra Wahana Rasuna

and my terse description is "very heavy body with dried fruit and
spice flavours and a sweet brown sugar finish, more or less a liquid
hot cross bun." It makes a fantastic espresso, really sweet and
spicy with thick crema.

Finally, some customers have asked why I don't set up an Autofill
credit card function on the order form. Put simply, this requires a
non-bank server storing your credit card details, and (in my
opinion) opens you up to hacking. There have been several high
profile examples of this happening.

As long as your card details never appear on our servers there's no
chance of them being stolen from us.

Until next month


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email: alanfrew@coffeeco.com.au

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