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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Quaffee Newsletter Vol 3 Issue 4 2014

New coffees

Over the last few months we have had a number of new coffees arrive. Some are being released either now or soon. Others (see below) we will only release once coffees from that country are sold out. We are trying to ensure that we do not expand much further beyond the 28 coffees we currently have on offer, so that, as coffees from a country or a limited edition coffee runs out, we can replace it with a new coffee.

So which coffees are either available now or soon?

La Serrania

As you know, our key drivers are quality and freshness of roast. Our decaf option failed at the first hurdle, we felt we were offering a decaffeinated coffee since it was something we had to do.
decaf tubes
However, at the beginning of the year we started putting feelers out for a quality coffee that just happened to be a decaf. And we are happy to say that we found one. We love this coffee. It is really drinkable has at least 4 stars in flavour complexity and is a great coffee first. It uses a newer method of decaffeination that uses sugar cane’s natural by-product Ethylene Acetate (EA), so it is called naturally decaffeinated. You can read more about the coffee on our beanologies section or here:

The coffee is grown in the same province as our very popular Los Naranjos and Los Idolos, and has a taste close to Los Idolos, which has always been a favourite.
A leading coffee expert rated and gave it cupping score of 89, so we believe that is the final cherry on the top. We can truly say now we have a specialty grade coffee that is decaf.

Franco Garzon

Our last microlot from Leonel Trujillio is sold out. We will be releasing a new limited edition microlot , Franco Garzon, which is also from Colombia. It has great flavour complexity scoring at least a 5, and we believe it will be a worthy successor to Leonel. We will post a full write up of this coffee under beanologies when it is released.


Over the next month we will be replacing our inexpensive South American blend with a higher quality blend. We are finalizing the components to ensure that the blend is one we feel represents the best of central and south American coffees, while still sticking to a budget.

Coffee Pricing

Quaffee has always had three core drivers: Quality, Freshness and to be Ethical at all times. While the word Quality means different things to different people, to us it means a coffee that we all love drinking. Freshness means that we try to get coffee to our clients as close to roast date as possible, with all coffees not sold within 7 days after roast tipped into Last Weeks Surprise.

Like many industries, the coffee industry has many standard beliefs that we have not necessarily subscribed too. One of these is the belief that those that buy more, should pay less. We have never had a multitier pricing system, striving to reward those that are prepared to use their taste buds to judge our offerings rather than the price. To us it is more important that you enjoy coffee as fresh as possible, meaning as close to roast date as you ,the coffee lover, believe it should be.

Over the past 18 months we have seen massive increases in coffee prices linked to four things:
  • The C-Market price;
  • The rand dollar exchange rate;
  • The cost of transport of coffees from source to us, either for the directly traded or bulk imported, specifically the cost increase the port authorities have hit us with, with our last few imports;
  • The over reaction to the above by bulk importers driving prices up higher than should be the case.
CMarket prices
This has resulted in some of the coffees we source and use sometimes doubling in price, but in most cases increasing by about 30% over the 18 month period.

This leaves us with two choices:

  1. Substitute the quality product with a substandard product so we can charge the same price
  2. Increase our prices, ensuring we carry on sourcing quality product.
Since one of our primary drivers is quality we actually have no choice but to hand these increases onto you, the coffee lover.

However there is some good news. Even though we have been taking the knock for the last 2 months, we felt that it is not ethical to increase the prices until January, so consider this an early Christmas present.

Regular Buyers Note

We have also decided to run with a two tier price list. We will have what we call our Published price, which will appear on our website and when you ask for a quote. And we will be introducing a regular buyer’s price (for those that purchase more than twice in a 3 month period). Instead of adding more administration to our systems by starting a loyalty system that gives you credit back when you buy, we are going to give about 10% back as a discount on a regular purchasers price.

Here is an indication of the pricing per kilogram (inclusive of VAT):
Coffee Published Price Regular Price
Entry level Blends (e.g. Bunna / Armonizar) R 242.00 R 223.90
Bulk co-operative coffees (e.g. Limu, Yirgacheffe, Sidama) R 256.00 R 236.80
Direct co-operative coffees (e.g. Kiambara, Gatare, Antigua) R 312.00 R 288.60
Direct estate or small co-op coffees (e.g. Los Idolos, Sertãozinho, Triunfo, etc) R 342.00 R 316.40
Limitied Edition microlot coffees R 412.00 R 334.50
CoE coffee POA POA

These prices are not fully finalized; the final list will be available 1 Jan 2015 at

Coffees Pending

 With the newsletter getting a little long, here is a quick summary of coffees waiting backstage:
  • Nicaraguan COE winning lot 21 - Genaro Herrera, we have only been able to secure 70kgs of this, and it will be released once we have sold out of the Mexican COE. Watch our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • Nicaragua - La Cascada Maragogype (or elephant bean), this coffee varietal is sought after and once our Azul is finished we will release this. It will also form part of the new Armonizar blend.
  • El Salvador - Las Delicias – we will release this when we are sold out of La Palma.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Coffee 10 Facts and 2 myths about it

10 Facts about coffee


  1. The first Web Cam was invented to monitor if the coffee was empty.
  2. Coffee grows from seed to a shrub and then a tree. During the period as a shrub it prefers shade to direct sunlight
  3. To get a coffee 'bean' you start with a cherry, which is picked, de-pulped, dried, washed (or semi-washed) then sorted by size (or graded)
  4. Espresso in Italian means "force something out"
  5. The name Cappuccino comes from the resemblance of the drink to the clothing of the Capuchin monks.
  6. Coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried
  7. Caffeine increases your levels of adrenaline, and releases fatty acids from fat tissues, leading to a better physical performance by those who consume caffeine before working out.
  8. The original coffea tree has been traced to Madagascar
  9. Only water is a more consumed beverage than coffee
  10. Coffee without milk is fat free

2 Most common Myths about coffee

  1. It is often said that coffee is the second most trade commodity: This is FALSE. It is the second most actively trade commodity MARKET price, or C-MARKET price. This means that it the second most volatile commodity in price behind oil. In fact it is actually just outside the top 50 of in commodities behind Beef and Wheat
  2. Goats discovered coffee: This is probably FALSE. The first reason this is a myth is that it can only be tracked to the mid 1600s, and coffee consumption (although not roasted) can be traced to over 1,000 years ago. The second and more convincing fact is that when they have offered goats, dried leaves, dried straw or coffee cherries, the goats only eat the cherries when everything else has been finished.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

South African Coffee industry,has it grown?

Over the past year or so I have hear a lot of hearsay. This hearsay claims that the coffee industry in South Africa is grown at a rapid rate.

After here this for the nth time I thought I would look at the real facts. Is the industry growing? So I found this site: and they had info on South Africa, and yes there is growth, but it is marginal. 38% growth in ten years is a small amount. In the same period I population has grown from about 44 million to about 50 million that is around 14%.

So is this growth? You be the judge, it is growth but nothing to get excited about and hash tag and jump up and down about.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Two coffees we are going to order

We got some samples from Cafe Imports and after roasting them and cupping them we are looking at importing 2 of them.

Peru Cenfrocafe

Cafe Imports Info sheet - here.

The first we are looking to get is a Peru Organic Fair Trade coffee. It is a good coffee and we enjoyed it, but more as a proper brew, than as a cupped coffee. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just not a stand out. The result of the tasting is below in a spider graph:

Indonesian / Sulawesi Tana Toraja

Cafe Imports Info sheet - here.

We struggle to get remarkable Indonesians, and normally have to settle for the common-all-garden Mandheling, which while not terrible does not stand out in the crowd. We were told this was  great coffee, and even with that hype we were surprised how good it was, sporning an impromtu gather and tasting session, with anyone we could gather at the time.

Our tasting graph:

A great Indonesian at long last

Watch our newsletter for when these are available ...

Friday, 25 April 2014

Quaffee Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 2 - Coffee and Categorization

Welcome to the second Quaffee Newsletter for 2014.

We state on our website that; we offer coffee lover's access to the best we can source, roasted in a way we enjoy the most. Often these words are humbling to us. We are now a third of the way through the year and we are happy to say that we have experienced both year on year and month on month growth.

This is all thanks to you the coffee lovers that give us the opportunity to source and roast the finest coffees we can access.

Open Day

Our next open day will be on the first Saturday in May, the 3rd. While we are aware this is an unofficial long weekend, this may give those out of towners a chance to pop in.

Coffee News


The Commercial futures market (called C Market) dictates the speculative sector's pricing. Most coffee is pegged to that price. Almost three years ago this market was at a 36 year high. With coffees being priced at $3.60 (USD) a pound. This time last year this price was down to almost $1.20.

Weather and disease fears have allowed the coffee price to recover to over $2.00 a pound. During this period we have sourced about 50% of our coffee as direct as possible. The coffees we source are quoted as non-speculative and are normally C Market Plus a value, like $1.50. The other coffees we source through the bulk importers in South Africa, that dictate the prices to us. We tend to only take the highest grade coffees from the bulk importers, and these are the first coffees to increase dramatically in price.

Almost all the coffees the bulk importers provide are Cooperative coffees from a region or country. The traceability of these coffees is to the nearest sorting or production house. The coffees under this category typically represent the produce of thousands of farmers.

While we ensure these coffees are a good quality (we would not offer them otherwise), because they are cooperative and imported in bulk, they are cheaper than the coffees we source direct. We call these coop or coop+ coffees.

The coffees that fall into this category that are popular are Limu, Sidama, Mandheling, Antigua and, even though we did source it ourselves via a partner, Yirgacheffe.

These are the coffees that have been most affected by the price increases.

While we have been handed an increase of 30% (based on rand dollar and C Market pricing), we feel that this increase is not sustainable and within a month or two we are banking on these prices either decreasing slightly or stabilizing.

We have however had to increase our pricing, but not by 30%. Instead we looked at real rand values and have used those instead, so the increases will be less than 10% for roasted coffee.

New pricing will become effective from the week of the elections.

New Coffees

In our previous newsletter we mentioned the microlot coffee Leonel Trujillo. This coffee has sold well and was very well received, we have about 30kgs left and then it is gone.

brother's Lovos
We have also released the coffee from the brothers Lovos, which we have had other coffee lovers tell us they love it, while others being indifferent about it. We are a little disappointed with it, since we are used to the high quality that Virmax supply and we feel it is not quite up to their normal standard.

We have also released a replacement to Tesoro from the same province called Azul. This coffee is very good value, and we have had some great feedback already on it.

Our coffee from Burundi is suppose to be with us in the next few weeks so we are hoping to release it soon.
Please check either or to see the list of coffees. The modification date reflects the last date it was changed.

Categorization of coffee offered

Last month we mentioned our new categorization of coffees:
  1. Easy Drinking – a coffee you can drink all day.
  2. Medium and Balanced – a coffee that has a little more body and can tolerate a little milk.
  3. Dark and Bodied – a fuller bodied coffee that plays well with milk and sugar for those that like that, or is good in a more aggressive brewer.
  4. Limited Edition – We have separated the very good to excellent coffee that we receive in limited numbers into this category since they are special.
We have added to that the flavour complexity. This tells you how complex the coffee is aromatically (smell) or via taste. The more complex the higher the stars. We will never offer anything less than 3 stars (out of 5) in complexity. A rough guide though has been that the smaller the sample base of the coffee the more complex it is. So the coop and coop+ coffees very seldom score more than 3, while microlot coffees will score at least 4, and if they are really good 5.

Anyway this is our way of trying to help you choose the coffee for you. Some may find that a extraordinarily complex coffee they do not enjoy, while others do. As a general rule though, those drinking the coffee without additives like milk and sugar should try 4 and 5 star coffees, for the best results.

Jura News

There is a new F8 out, and the Ena 1 is now available with the manual frother for free again. See or


Thanks once again for reading the newsletter and your fantastic support, we look forward to hearing and seeing you at the open day.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Q: How do I set the hardness level on an Ena 1 micro

Descriptions of picture:

  1. Single bean button (top left, between the tiny and small cup)
  2. Triple Bean Button (top right, between small and large cup)
  3. Ristretto button - (tiny cup button, bottom left)
  4. Espresso button - (small cup button, middle bottom)
  5. Coffee Button - (large cup bottom right)
Programming hardness:

Precondition: ENA read for use.
  • Touch button [1] (one bean) and button [2] (triple bean) for at least 2 seconds
  • The [1] & [2] light up along with the descaling and cleaning lights
  • Briefly touch the descaling button
  • Touch the desired level of hardness (the number of cups lit up is the hardness, so fo SA touch button [3] - ristretto.
  • Touch the descaling button to save.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Quaffee Newsletter March 2014 V3 I 1

*|FNAME|* Welcome to the first Issue Quaffee Newsletter for 2014.
2014 is well under way and we have had a great beginning to the year. We are so indebted to you, the coffee lovers that drive us to source better and produce better coffee roasts. We believe we have some of the most extraordinary clients, that seem to notice the smallest changes we make in roasts, blends and coffee's we source.
Our first newsletter or 2014 is quite long, since we have had a busy few months, not only in coffee sales but in also looking at offers on the table, when it comes to coffee.

The good news is that our after burner and water scruber seem to have done the trick since this year we have been able to roast through the harvest without having to move to the old dairy.

Without further ado our news, in which we summarize this years story so far, so once upon a time ....

Coffee News

Leonel Trujillo
Leonel Trujillo

This month we have tasted a number of coffees that we have been keen to use to both supplement our range and replace some that have come to an end. With El Injerto coming to an end (once we have less than 10kgs left we remove this from the website), and the Nicaraguan Tesoro also coming to an end soon, we have been trying to get first a coffee we like and then also a roast we like.
We have tasted a microlot from Columbia a new El Salvador, a Geisha from Malawi, a natural from Brazil, and a Burundi that is from a single processing plant, run by Ben Carlson. Of all of these coffees we have decided to only release 3 of them. We also tasted some new coffees one which we will order later in the year from La Roca in Dipilto in Nicaragua, which blew our socks off.
The natural and Geisha were very disappointing based on our previous experience with these coffees. The El Salvador while not quite good enough for us to be sold on its own, we will however use to replace the one El Salvador we had in the Armonizar blend with this one, since we fell it improves the Armonizar blend.
The other three coffees we will release as single origin option. These will be:
  1. The Limited Edition microlot from Leonel TRUJILLO. The farm the microlot comes from is El Cafetal it is based in the Huila province of Columbia. The microlot is the best of his crop from his 1,000 trees, and we think the 70kgs of coffee we have (64kgs now since trying to get a profile we like) will be gone within 2 months. This is one of the best Columbians we have had in a while. Our rating is very good to excellent. This we will release this week.
  2. The second coffee we will release towards Easter. It is a Nicaraguan coffee from Finca La Pradera, in Dipilto province. We are still not happy with the profile for this roast, and have decided to wait until the Tesoro stocks are lower before we release this coffee. While it is good, it is not significantly better than Tesoro so we are not that excited about it.
  3. 3. The third coffee we are releasing as soon as we can (it is on the sea at the moment) is the Sogestal Kayanza COE lots from Longmile in Burundi. This is the first Burundi we have really been impressed with, must be Ben’s influence. While we current carry a Burundi, we have not felt it is good enough to release as a single origin. So this coffee will be available in both a blend and as itself, as soon as we get it. Oh by the way thank to Bruce Nygaard, for introducing us to Ben
Please check either or to see the list of coffees. The modification date reflects the last date it was changed.

What is a Microlot

A Microlot coffee is one that represents the best of the crop of a coffee estate that is already received accolades for their coffee. The amount of coffee in a microlot is normally small. Typically around 300kgs in total is released. Coffee lovers like us fight over what is available to get access to these lots.

Categorization of coffee offered

We have listening to everyone’s feedback, and will be moving to a more traditional way of categorizing the coffee. We have now got 4 main categories:
  1. Easy Drinking – a coffee you can drink all day.
  2. Medium and Balanced – a coffee that has a little more body and can tolerate a little milk.
  3. Dark and Bodied – a fuller bodied coffee that plays well with milk and sugar for those that like that, or is good in a more aggressive brewer.
  4. Limited Edition – We have separated the very good to excellent coffee that we receive in limited numbers into this category since they are special.

Jura News

The Jura range of coffee machines has had a 16% increase in price. Also some models have been discontinued; our website has all these details. You can access the Jura at or


Thanks once again for reading the newsletter and your fantastic support, we look forward to hearing and seeing more of you.
If you want to make sure a friend gets these invites and newsletters, then forward this newsletter to a friend: *|FORWARD|*

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A quick Hario brew guide

Are you using a Hario brewer? Here is a quick brew guide:
  • Boil water and let it sit
  • Temperature must be lower than 95 °C, above 90°C, but play to see how you like it, some go as low as 80.
  • Take the filter and place in Brewer. Poor water slowly all over the filter paper so that it is wet.
  • Pour out that water
  • Add fresh ground coffee to filter (use about 8grams of coffee per 150ml of water but you can use more or less for taste or body).
  • Pour water over the coffee added to the brewer but only just cover the coffee, wait for the blooming of the coffee and water pre-brew (should happen within 40 seconds)
  • Slowly add the rest of the water so that at no time the coffee and water combo over flow to touch the filter paper. The water must also be poured on to the coffee not the paper.
  • When the water is taking too long to drain then I normally stop, others go on, but for me this is when over extraction occurs
Enjoy a fresh brew.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Jan 2014, coffee weather news

The well respected Climate Protection Agency in the U.S.A. has forecasted that the El Nino and La Nina phenomenon factors in the Pacific Ocean shall remain neutral for the next eight months, which would indicate no threat of either droughts or excessive rains for the Pacific Rim countries.

So this should mean that one might be safe to speculate good crops for Colombia and Indonesia for this year, which shall assist with a par Brazil crop, for good and continued overall surplus coffee supply for the year.  Albeit that within this region the forecasts from Peru and with their new crop starting in April, are for the combination of Roya or Leaf Rust and lower inputs related to unprofitable prices, might result in another relatively modest crop of around 4.3 million bags

-source Reuters 10 Jan 2014