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Archived News - 4

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Creative range and Sang Tao are the same - Metrang special offer stock half gone now get it now
The new shipment brought new product - we have Trung Nguyen Sang Tau which is the Creative range in Vietnamese local packaging - it was ordered with our new shipment but we didn't realise it was the 340g bag not the 250g so some substitution will occur as the old packaging runs out. Same coffee but the price will go up when all the old packaging runs out.

Metrang promotional stock almost all gone - But you must buy any other coffee and then you can take up our special offer - limited quantity limited time - over 1/4 of allocated stock gone in one day - half gone in two days and now over 3/4 gone today buy now ! orders of Metrang without other coffee purchase will be refunded - next week it will go up $2.49 pack from the bargain $7.50 to $9.99 - Free shipping offer on Metrang coffee with other purchase will be finished soon - Metrang Super clean at a super price!!

Limited time and limited product on offer then it's back to the regular price for this high quality Vietnamese coffee this offer and this price will not be repeated on this product. If there is any left on Monday it goes up to $8.50 - still not the Website sell price so buy this week end as I will up the price Sunday Night

Click here to go to the new Metrang MC1 super clean coffee offer - free shipping and special pricing with any other coffee purchase - $7.50 for 500g with free shipping - this pricing ends this Sunday night
New Product - introductory pricing $7.50 for 500g including shipping with any other order - Bucks off!!
The new shipment brought new product - We are pleased to offer a new Brand to our stable of quality Vietnamese coffee - Metrang with their MC1 an Arabica Robusta blend

Buy any other coffee and then you can take up our special offer - limited quantity limited time - over 1/4 of allocated stock gone in one day - buy now !

Metrang Pride themselves on clean coffee with meticulous attention to all processes in coffee production - we visited their factory in Nha Trang and were really impressed with their attention to detail and the cleanliness of the factory

Limited time and limited product on offer then it's back to the regular price for this high quality Vietnamese coffee this offer and this price will not be repeated on this product.

Click here to go to the new Metrang MC1 super clean coffee offer - free shipping and special pricing with any other coffee purchase - $7.50 for 500g with free shipping
Coffee back in stock EMC, House blend, Saigon Phin - successful WAVBC launch
The coffee in the warehouse so back in stock of our favourites and new products to come

Click here to go to House blend bulk pack

Click here to go to EMC bulk pack

Click here to go to Saigon Phin bulk pack

The Launch on Thursday 18 was well attended and we had lots of positive feed back Click here to go to our face book page pictures
Coffee on the wharf - new Saigon and Italian espresso in pods - WAVBC celebration
The coffee hit the wharf a bit late so the shipment has not yet even been through customs yet - no eta yet but very close now and we will be back in stock of our favourites and new products to come

Click here to go to our pods page and see the pods Bargain introductory price all pods $39.99 for 64 pods with shipping - this pricing wont last and we have added Italian Espresso and Saigon Espresso both of which made the transition to pods very successfully.

All pods flavour profiles have been improved following customer feedback.

Also Viet-coffee joins the WAVBC -Western Australian Vietnamese Business Council with Van as Vice President.

The Launch is on Thursday 18 as follows - feel free to RSVP
Western Australia Vietnam Business Council
Launch Event
The Consul General of the S.R. Viet Nam, Mr. Le Viet Duyen, and the Chairman of WAVBC, Mr. Graeme Sheard, invite You to celebrate the launch of the Western Australia-Vietnam Business Council.
Please join us for an evening of business talks and networking along with a demonstration of Vietnamese cuisine, and a live cultural performance. Background: It is widely recognized that Western Australia needs to work at diversifying its economy. Viet Nam has strong economic growth and its young and well educated population makes it an obvious business partner. WA’s ease of access and proximity to Viet Nam compared to the Eastern seaboard makes business and social contact and exchanges as straightforward for WA as dealing with the more distant parts of Australia. The WAVBC hopes to be a useful resource and conduit for Western Australian companies in using these advantages to their commercial benefit.
Guest Speaker:
Deputy Premier, Hon. Dr Kim Hames
When: June 18th, 2015 at 6pm (6:30 Program Start) - 8:30pm
Where: Ground Floor Theatrette
KPMG Building
235 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
RSVP: By 14th June 2015
E: wavbc@outlook.com, vnconsulate.perth@gmail.com.
Tel: (08) 92211158 ext.3
Proud Launch Partners:

New Coffee supplier to be added to our stable - Winner of award for "Clean" Coffee - coffee arrives with our next shipment
Me Trang Coffee Company is honored to receive an award from the Minister of Health Vietnam

On 23/04/15 Corporation Me Trang Coffee received the award of Merit "food brand gold" from the Minister of Health. It was awarded to filter coffee maker's brand MC super clean. The award once again confirms the quality of coffee products from Me Trang who are showing corporate responsibility for products and services as well as for consumers at home and abroad.

Receiving the awards, representatives of Me Trang Coffee Company, said: "We are extremely proud and grateful to be awarded by the Ministry of Health this compliment on the occasion of Me Trang Coffee Companies 15th anniversary.

The award is also encouraging for us when we bring clean coffee products with the best quality to consumers to ensure their health."  

"This is as a result of research and development in processing coffee and we welcome the demand for organic coffee that is good for the health of consumers. To meet the criteria for "clean", the company has implemented strict control process from input to product output. The entire area is managed with tight scrutiny of raw materials, minimizing the use of plant protection products. (Chemicals) Berries are picked at the right time to get the best flavour. Seeds are selected for quality and taste of the product. With modern production lines MC Ultra Clean has fully met the criteria of food safety."  

Established since 2000, nearly 15 years the company Me Trang Coffee always complies with the strict standards of Food Safety Department. The production of the product, from purchasing raw material to the product to consumers through many steps to test the quality of the company and the testing centers authorized by Vietnamese Health Certification . Me Trang coffee's regulated manufacturing processes meet the high standards of food safety, quality, labor safety and environmental criteria.  

We inspected their Nha Trang plant In April and were impressed with the cleanliness of the factory and attention to producing a quality product. We can't carry their full range yet but we have selected products that we think reflect the true Vietnamese style.

Viet-Coffee Australia expects to have part of the Me Trang range available in late June
Viet-coffee First in the world with Vietnamese coffee Pods (Nespresso compatible)
We have both been working overtime on getting our pods onto the market

Four of Viet-coffee range is now available in Nespresso compatible pods

As we get them on line we will be adding to the range and refining the web content - some of its a bit rough

Click here to go to our face book page and see the pods

Click here to go to our new pod section - bargain introductory price all pods $39.99 for 64 pods with shipping - this pricing wont last

Terms and conditions of specials apply- ie limited quantities - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer valid - Not sure please ask
New Facebook page for Viet-coffee
Van has been working overtime on our new Facebook page

She has found out some very interesting things and is planning to put out a number of new offers for Mothers Day very soon.

I will be updating you on some of the developments from my work trip to Vietnam - and as we don't want to bombard you with news the new face book page seems to be the way to go at the moment

If you are not a face book fan that's fine we will still try to put our regular news eg there is to be a Movie released soon about Christina Noble one of our partners so as we get more information about release dates and locations we will pass them on to you.

One recent story is about La Maison 1888 a pretty fine restaurant in Danang - read about it and other Vietnamese items on the new Viet-Coffee Facebook page - become a friend today

Click here to go to our new face book page and see the latest stories as well as some of the older ones

Terms and conditions of specials apply- ie limited quantities - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer valid - Not sure please ask
Back in stock of all Creative range and Gourmet Blend
We have just received our latest shipment and are back in stock of All of the Creative Range as well as the gourmet blend.

We are in for some big changes in the coffee area in the future. Van and I attended on 23/03/2015 and event presented with the collaboration of the Vietnamese Consulate in Perth, the Vietnamese Government the Perth USAsia Centre a seminar on Climate Change and its Geopolitical Implications in Asia Pacific.

Its not good news - in a nutshell 40% of the Mekong and Red river deltas will be inundated with salt water incursion and the temperature will rise buy such an extent that coffee which is the tenth largest export for Vietnam will be affected.

We have moved our major supplier to buy their green beans from Dakman who are one of the large suppliers of certified beans in BMT Vietnam. We will push harder to get clarification as to what type of certification of green beans our supplier is buying

You can find our more so you can make an informed choice about what you need to do to ensure you can still enjoy your Vietnamese coffee with its authentic flavour not affected by climate change and its supply continuing, here's a story  to start you on your way.

The Last Drop? Climate Change May Raise Coffee Prices,

Wild Arabica coffee could go extinct in 70 years, study warns.
Coffee is harvested in Colombia.
Farmed Arabica coffee strains, including these trees in Colombia, would suffer if wild coffee withers.
Photograph by Jose Miguel Gomez, Reuters br />

Amanda Fiegl

for National Geographic News < br />

Published November 8, 2012

What would life be like without coffee?

In a world that drinks 1.6 billion cups each day, the prospect probably gives a lot of us the jitters. But a new study led by London's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, warns that, thanks to climate change, the most consumed coffee species, Arabica, could be extinct in the wild by 2080.

Calm down; things aren't quite as black as you might think. The study is about wild coffee plants, while the stuff in our cups is brewed from their domesticated descendants. Still, wild losses leave cultivated crops genetically vulnerable to a host of enemies, which could ultimately lead to lower quality and higher prices for coffee consumers.

"Arabica's history is punctuated by problems with diseases, pests, and productivity problems—and growers have always gone back to the wild and used genetic diversity to address them," said Aaron Davis, head of RGB Kew's coffee research program.

There are only two main types of cultivated coffee, Arabica (which comes from the wild plant Coffea arabica) and Robusta (derived from Coffea canephora). But there are more than 125 species in the wild, with more still being discovered, said Davis, who has been researching coffee plants for 15 years.

"That's one of the things that really surprised me when I first started working with wild coffee," he said. "I mean, here's this immensely important crop, and we don't even know what all the species are yet! And among all those wild species, there are certainly useful genes."

Arabica's Shaky Future

Arabica is the backbone of the coffee industry, accounting for 70 percent of global production, according to the International Coffee Organization. But most of it can be traced back to a handful of plants taken from Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th centuries, Davis said, and its narrow gene pool makes it "very susceptible."

The new study, led by Davis and published in the journal PLOS ONE this week, combined field observations and computer modeling to envision how different climate scenarios could affect wild Arabica species. It focused on Ethiopia—the birthplace of cultivated Arabica, and Africa's largest coffee producer—as well as parts of South Sudan. (Explore an interactive map of the effects of global warming.)

The prospects are "profoundly negative," the study concluded. Even in a best-case scenario, two-thirds of the suitable growing locations would disappear by 2080—and at worst, nearly 100 percent. And that's factoring in only climate change, not deforestation.

Davis and other researchers visited South Sudan's Boma Plateau in April, intending to assess the feasibility of coffee production there. Instead, they discovered wild Arabica plants in extremely poor health.

"After a week or so in those forests, we realized that our objective had changed: It became a rescue mission," Davis said.

The study recommends that specimens from the Boma Plateau should be preserved in seed banks as soon as possible, because the species could be extinct as soon as 2020.

Arabica typically grows in the upper zones of vegetation on tropical mountains, explained botanist Peter Raven, who was not involved in the study. Because such species are already living on the edges of ecosystems, the plants have nowhere to go when temperatures rise. (See "Plants 'Climbing' Mountains Due to Global Warming.")

"The kinds of cloud forest climates where Arabica is native are disappearing, and the plants and animals that occur in them are going to be among the most threatened on Earth," Raven said. "Most coffee production throughout the world will be in trouble as the climate shifts."

In Ethiopia, the world's third largest producer of Arabica coffee, the mean annual temperature has risen by 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) since 1960, according to a report by the United Nations Development Programme. (Interactive map: "Earth's Changing Climate.")

Previous studies have established that both wild and cultivated Arabica are very climate sensitive, thriving only within a very narrow range of temperatures, Davis noted.

"So even if you do some very simple sums, it doesn't take much to realize that there's an intrinsic threat to these species from accelerated climate change," he said. "The logical conclusion is that coffee production will be negatively impacted as well."

Taking Action

The purpose of the study isn't to scare people, Davis said, but rather to inspire action.

"We're trying to understand: What if we don't do anything—what will happen? And what can we do about it now?" Davis said. "If we're proactive, we can avoid a dire situation."

The study identifies several "core sites" where wild Arabica can likely survive until at least 2080, and recommends that these areas be targeted for conservation.

Conservation activities have helped other species avert extinction, Davis said, so he remains optimistic about the future of wild coffee. Raven, however, takes more of a cup-half-empty view. While the goal of preserving plant species in the wild is "laudable," he said, seed banking is extremely important even in areas where extinction is not yet imminent.

"Regardless of what measures are taken in nature, we can confidently, and sadly, expect the genetic diversity of those populations to go downhill steadily year after year," said Raven. "Seeds from the most genetically valuable species should be stored now, before it is too late."

(Pictures: "Doomsday" Seed Vault Safeguards Our Food Supply.)

An Acquired Taste

Robusta—a hardier coffee domesticated in the 19th century in response to a leaf rust epidemic that decimated Arabica crops in Southeast Asia—is mostly used in stronger brews like espresso and Turkish coffee. It can grow at lower altitudes and higher temperatures, so it's somewhat better poised to cope with climate change.

(Related: how climate change could affect seafood supply.)

But that doesn't mean most coffee drinkers would simply switch what's in their cup without sputtering, Davis said.

"I can guarantee that we will not all be happy just drinking Robusta," Davis said. "As the name suggests, it's quite strong. Most people don't like the taste, and it has up to twice as much caffeine as Arabica. It's simply not the same drink. If we lost Arabica, I think large segments of the coffee market would disappear."

(Viet-coffee promotes Vietnamese Robusta blends as an enjoyable quality cup of coffee contrary to this articles statement)

Such a shift could cause a serious economic jolt: According to the International Coffee Organization, coffee is the second most traded global commodity after oil, and the industry employs about 26 million people.

Terms and conditions of specials apply- ie limited quantities - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer valid - Not sure please ask
French influence on Coffee - Special on out of code La Marais BX1 $29.99 with a tin of Longevity milk
French influence on coffee in Vietnam – special on Le marais BX1 less than half priced

The French were in Vietnam from the 1800’s until their ousting in the 1940’s. What is left behind is in the architecture especially in Hanoi and the country towns in the Highlands. Then there is the influence on Vietnamese cuisine not limited to the ubiquitous baguette and some dishes looking strangely French. To create bahn mi use butter, pate, sliced meat (often beef) vegetables, coriander and baguette . Yummo!! Crispy roll and cup of coffee!!

There is Banh Flan (baked custard with caramel). This is one of the boys favourites and we have to buy them by the six pack when we are in Vietnam. Hmm an espresso and dessert!. Then there is coffee with the production of the butter roast in the French style with a longer roast and a buttery caramel flavour. Coffee and Croissant anybody?

Indochine Estates Le Marais (talk about a French influence on the name!!) is typical of this style of coffee and we have a few BX1 packs that have not been properly labelled and would be out of code. They are packed in a double foil 250g pack and still has good crema with a smooth, nutty flavour, a touch of salty but would be very good with milk or as caphe sua with longevity milk or with da . I'll have them as half my double espresso this week - with some extra kick from a robusta mix.

This is going out at less than half price with a tin of longevity milk and shipping for $29.99 – click here

Terms and conditions of specials apply- ie limited quantities - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer valid - Not sure please ask
Demand exceeded supply on Gourmet Blend and house blend sorry
I have been very busy getting some coffee projects up and running and in the mean time the internet store has run out of Gourmet blend an house blend

If you are looking for the Vietnamese style try any of the EMC, Saigon Phin Daklak or the sun blend

I have put special pricing on the Sun blend for the BX1 with 5 packs of 250g and we have the Gourmet Blend on order with local supplies expected quite soon but I am afraid you will have to wait a little longer for the house blend probably not till July (perhaps try the chin phuc s.

buy Sun Blend here

Terms and conditions of specials apply - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer  valid - Not sure please ask
Working Hard!!! La Marais - espresso phin & spoon offer
This message is being created from my room in the Du Park Hotel Dalat - A very comfortable hotel in the center of Dalat

My brother (the camera man) and myself have been working very hard in our time at Vietnam - Our job is to get footage for our corporate video for when we go to to the Perth Royal Show in late September October

I wonder if my time here is in some way similar to the Western journalists reporting on the goings on in Vietnam in the 1960's as I tap away at the keyboard.

Currently we are in Dalat where on the way in to town we saw many coffee plantations where the coffee plants are in flower. Today we visited the Bai Di Palace and the Crazy house ( sorry no pictures a bit hard to sort out images at the moment ) just google them

This weeks special is the newly added La Marais espresso phin and spoon offer for the bargain price of $14.99 in the 450g section of the store

Terms and conditions of specials apply - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer  valid - Not sure please ask
Vietnam Adventure and Free Ice bag with BX1 or bulk pack order
I am off to Vietnam on Tuesday 24 Feb in the morning at 8.00- the purpose of the trip is to create a corporate video for our exhibition at the Perth Royal Show with the Vietnamese consulate.We will also be talking to our suppliers to see how they would like to present their product in the best light.

I am also going to the coffee festival in Buon ma Thout and when I left work Friday last I sent outthe following email – strangely nobody seemed to think I was working!!

I am away from the end of today for 3 weeks more work -

Flying to Vietnam to do a corporate Video for Viet-Coffee,

Image result for coffee plants

ride some elephants - open link below to see elephant ride https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdoB3Z393ac

Image result for buon ma thuot elephants in the sunset


drink lots of coffee

Image result for coffee drinks


 Visit the central highlands of Vietnam for the coffee festival

Image result for central highlands of vietnam


Have a Train ride to Nha Trang and Back

Image result for reunification express in Vietnam

While I am away Van will be looking after the store- some things may take a little longer as I will be supporting from Vietnam and not always contactable

This Weeks special - Free Ice bag with every BX1 or Bulk pack order - you must ask to help Van remember to put your special offer in your order - No ask no special offer


Try an Americano today - this weeks special
This week’s special enables you to get an entirely different perspective on Vietnamese coffee.

American Moka 250g ground taster, phin and espresso spoon with shipping  
American moka is prepared to be based on the style of coffee where hot water is added to espresso – of course it is often difficult to find an Espresso machine in Vietnam so it is interesting to compare the varying styles of preparation. Americano is reputed to have originated from American GI’s adding hot water to an Italian Espresso to make it more familiar to the style of coffee they were used to at home. Perhaps this was then extended in Vietnam from the traditional use of a Phin to give the shot and then the hot water added.

The drink would consist of a single or double shot with the addition or anywhere between 1 to 16 fluid ounces or 30 to 470ml of hot water. Interestingly the way that the water is incorporated into the coffee can make difference as to the flavour tones expected. For example a long black is adding the double espresso to the top leaving the crema intact to leave a fuller bodied flavour. Annihilation of the crema by adding the water on top is considered a more traditional Americano style.

The Viet-coffee blend of Arabica and Robusta provides for an interesting fusion allowing the more floral tones of the Arabic to be complimented by a lower brew temperature of a phin and accentuation of the mocha tones. With an espresso machine it can be made with a ristretto style to lower the bitter tones or lungo to increase the bitterness. Bitterness probably not being a problem if you look at this complimenting a American Breakfast

What’s an American Breakfast? Try coffee, two eggs (fried or poached), sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, orange/grapefruit juice. It interesting that this blend is a favourite of an Italian friends mum.

American Moka tasting special espresso better than half price $11.30 phin - iced coffee spoon with 250g American Moka and get free shipping. Click on this link to buy now - this price wont last

Terms and conditions of specials apply - it is assumed that offers in old news stories are no longer  valid - Not sure please ask
Hugh’s Definitive Guide to Brewing Vietnamese coffee Cashew special with BX1 or bulk packs
Hugh’s Definitive Guide to Brewing Vietnamese coffee

Your taste buds guide the best way to brew your coffee – people can be quite determined that their way is the best – I lied about this being definitive because at the end of the day only you know how you like your coffee but I will point out some common problems in making coffee

The flavour of your coffee is determined by:
• The coffee
• the brewing process
• water temperature
• extraction time
• grind
• what do you add

How to Brew Coffee
________________________________________ The Equipment – clean – grounds and old coffee oils can taint the flavour ________________________________________
The Coffee People say fresher the better – yes in some circumstances – no in others.

If your coffee is so fresh it hasn’t has time to degass it will not give its full flavour – freshly roasted coffee has to sit for a bit.

Packaging has improved significantly so coffee can stay ‘fresh’ for a much longer time with improvements in manufacturing and processing.

Keep it somewhere cool, dry and dark in a sealed container as this slows the oxidisation process associated with coffee going stale – fridge or freezer not recommended as the open coffee collects moisture every time it goes in and out of the fridge freezer this increases oxidisation.

Ground coffee packaged and stored correctly will give consistently good flavour for Vietnamese style coffee way past its expiry date.

The Grind

Burr grinder is best – but if you really need your coffee and don’t want to lash out use what you have as you’re probably used to it or continue to use ground coffee – the Vietnamese have been using ground coffee for hundreds of years.

Size of the grind – too fine will allow over extraction and block the holes in the phin – too coarse and there will be insufficient extraction time

The grind from most pre-ground Vietnamese coffee is set by the manufacturer to be the best for Phin use for the roast at the time – probably best not to mess with it

The Water

Distilled or softened water has lots of things taken out so perhaps not so good – in areas with very hard water this is perhaps a good thing – most areas have treated water that has chlorine – let the water sit for a while before using to let the chlorine escape – I let it sit in the automatic espresso machine or the kettle (I have a glass and stainless steel kettle)

Ratio of Coffee to Water

1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Pre moisten the coffee grounds to allow a bit of pre-brewing – its difficult to make Vietnamese style coffee too strong so err on the generous side

Water Temperature During Brewing

No boiling water – turn off the kettle to prevent it boiling its head off and use that water to heat up the phin and then in the time it takes you to sort that out and put the coffee in the phin and tamp it down it will be at about the right temperature – too hot = bitter - too cold – volatile oils not extracted properly

Brewing Time

The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important factor affecting the taste of your coffee.

With a phin tamp too hard and you will get your coffee slowly but due to the lower temperature its not really a problem, not tamp enough the coffee runs through more quickly but the holes at the bottom of the pin certainly restrict the flow when you have some coffee in the phin so again its not a biggie!

If you are using Vietnamese beans for Espresso, then its all different- we prefer a Saeco professional automatic coffee machine as the brew temp can be lowered and the grind and dose adjusted to suit your palate and as the name espresso implies, it means that the brew time is short—the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds.

If the taste of your coffee is not optimal, it is possible that you are either over extracting (the water run thought the coffee is too much) or under extracting (not enough water is run through) your coffee. Experiment with the contact time until you can make a cup of coffee that suits your tastes perfectly.

Adding the longevity condensed milk

How much do you add?! Depends on the cup size you want but I add about a quarter of inch to the cup or probably about 20-30 ml stir it with the coffee and you can use the colour as a guide – too pale and you have added to much too dark and you will probably not get the mocha, chocolate tones.

There are lots of You tube videos on the topic check them out - there's links on our Caphe Sua da page

Special - $1 for 100g cashews -
More Good Coffee News and Phin Special
The Institute for Scientific Information and Health on their web site Coffee and Health reporting on several epidemiological studies suggest that a regular, lifelong, moderate consumption of coffee/caffeine may slow down physiological, age-related cognitive decline, especially in women and those over 80 years old in particular.

And a British study of 9,003 adult subjects reported a dose-related improvement in cognitive performance with higher levels of coffee consumption. Higher overall caffeine consumption (from coffee and tea) improved simple and choice reaction times, incidental verbal memory and visuo-spatial reasoning. Older people appeared more susceptible to the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine on mental performance than younger subjects.

To help you age gracefully we have a special for this week  -$15.61 to buy espresso phin x 2 with 250g Saigon Phin daklak and get free shipping. Click on this link
Seasons Greetings from Viet-coffee
What a year! The only constant has been change.Thanks to our our customers and the good word you must be putting around we have maintained our continued growth.

When I go to the Coffee Festival This coming March we will look towards expanding our range further stay tuned

This year we are supplying more restaurants and Cafe's over Australia than before and continue to service New Zealand for wholesale and retail customers.

With your help we are confident now in saying that we are the largest internet retailer for Vietnamese coffee in Australia and New Zealand and our faces and business have been put all over Vietnamese Television on a number of occasions. Those in Australasia that have CAble TV and The Vietnamese channel HTV may have already seen us

As summer is here we suggest that you might like to practice your Cafe Sua Da skills and we can help you on your way with a free box of G7 plain (dissolves in cold water!) and our half price special on Ice bags for all orders over $40 - Remember to ask for your Christmas bonus with your order today

here's the link to the half price ice bag for $2.26
The perfect Cup of Coffee? Xmas Bonus 10 sachets of G7 3 in one - remember to ask for it - conditions apply

The perfect cup of coffee boils down to four factors

Grind, temperature, time and coffee-to-water ratio – nail these for the best coffee. 

Welcome to the second installment in our series Chemistry of Coffee, where we unravel the delicious secrets of one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world. Here we look at how tweaking variables can make the difference between a velvety smooth coffee or a scalding, bitter mess.

It’s hard to get a bad coffee these days. Plenty of baristas have fine-tuned the process of making espresso, but really there are only a handful of variables they can control:

  1. coarseness of the grind
  2. temperature of the extraction
  3. extraction time
  4. the all-important coffee-to-water ratio.

Coffee roasters and barista schools have produced many impressively complex charts plotting grams of coffee against volume of water overlaid with concentration and yield. In the middle is the ideal weight/ volume/ concentration yield target for the perfect cup of coffee.

(Of course, if you prefer a latte, cappuccino or flat white, the milk is a whole other story.)

Here is a little graphic of my own that I will use to describe what happens when we change our four variables.

On the horizontal axis we have relative time, on the vertical axis the numbers represent amount. The curves are extraction profiles.

Caffeine is very water soluble and the vast majority of the caffeine is extracted early. The volatile oils, which give coffee its complex flavour and aroma, extract more slowly. The organic acids, which make coffee taste bitter, are extracted the most slowly of all.

So let’s go through each of our four variables in turn.

1. Grind

The coarseness of the grind and the extraction time are inextricably linked. The finer a coffee is ground, the more surface area there is. Conversely, the larger the grind, the smaller the surface area.

Let’s consider the two ends of the extreme. If we grind coffee as fine as talcum powder we have maximised the surface area available for extraction. Therefore, we can very quickly extract the target compounds – but perhaps too quickly for some people’s tastes.

Mark/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Turkish coffee is very finely ground and boiled. This produces a coffee which is very strong and bitter and because of the fineness of the grind often contains a lot of suspended solids (muddy). The finely ground material may block filters too, causing the extraction to go on for too long – or not allow the water to pass through at all.

At the other end of the spectrum, let’s consider whole coffee beans. Of course, given enough time, we can extract unground coffee. This is quite wasteful of the coffee beans because the hot water may not penetrate all the way to the interior of the bean, so we throw away unextracted material.

Obviously, the optimum grind (coarseness) is somewhere between these two extremes, where we match the residence time of the hot water (flow rate) across the ground coffee beans with our ideal caffeine/ volatile oil/ organic acid ratio.

If you get a cup of coffee produced from a quality bean but it is too weak and insipid, the coffee may have been ground too coarsely. If the coffee is unacceptably bitter, perhaps the grind is too fine, with too-high levels of organic acids being extracted.

2. Temperature

Let’s hold all of our variables except temperature constant and see what happens. As with our coarseness experiment let’s consider the two ends of the extremes.

Temperature strongly influences solubility and rates of extraction. Yes, you can extract coffee with ice water. The three curves on our graph above get pulled to the right, so given enough time we can extract a decent cup of coffee. Cold brew coffee is made this way – ground beans are placed in cold water and allowed to “brew” in the fridge for up to a day.

Coffee can be extracted in the fridge overnight. jodimichelle/flickr, CC BY-SA
Click to enlarge

The solubility of caffeine is moderately affected by temperature and the solubility of the organic acids is strongly affected by temperature. We would expect that a coffee brewed using this method would be lower in caffeine and much lower in bitterness than a coffee brewed using hot water.

Now, let’s extract our coffee using boiling water. The curves on our graph get scrunched up on the left-hand side. Everything gets extracted much quicker and the margin for error becomes much smaller if we try to limit bitter organic acid content.

Another complicating factor is that our volatile oils are just that – volatile. If we boil coffee, our flavour and aroma compounds get carried away in the steam. This can produce a coffee that is weak in taste, yet high in caffeine and organic acids.

3. Time

Let us keep our coarseness, temperature and water-to-coffee ratio variables constant and only consider the time variable. If we consider the ideal cup of coffee is one that has maximum caffeine and maximum volatile oils while limiting the bitter organic acids, we would consider 4 on our arbitrary timescale to be just about perfect.

If we only extract to 2 on the timescale we will have a coffee high in caffeine but weak, or underdeveloped, in flavour, aroma and bitterness. If we extract for too long, say to 8 on our timescale, our coffee will contain high amounts of organic acids, which can make it unacceptably bitter.

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4. Coffee-to-water ratio

This brings us to our coffee-to-water ratio – perhaps the most subjective of all our tests. Too little coffee and even with all our variables optimised the coffee will taste weak. Too much coffee and the resulting brew will be too strong and overpowering.

This ratio depends on choice of extraction method:

  • for a French press, or plunger, where the temperature of the water drops quickly, we need to have more coffee per unit of water
  • if using a drip filter, the water temperature is higher than that in a plunger so a lower ratio is needed
  • in modern espresso machines the volume of water can be changed to taste. Generally, the water temperature is maintained within the machine at around 97C. Too little water and the coffee is weak and underdeveloped; too much water and the coffee is bitter.

The generally accepted rule of thumb for the coffee-to-water ratio is approximately 10g of coffee to 200mL of hot water. One heaping tablespoon is about 15g, give or take a gram or two.

So there you have it. Optimise the coarseness of the grind, match this with the water temperature and the extraction time and make sure your coffee-to-water ratio is in the right ballpark. Or you can go down and visit your friendly local barista, have a chat, and let them do the thinking for you.

Note from Hugh: In the case of Vietnamese coffee this is why a phin works so well - lower the temperature and the margin around bitter organic acid extration is pushed over to the right allowing for a smoother cup with less bitter and less 'damage' to the volatile oils that end up in your cup and not boiled away. - Good reason to get your new pin today - best prices with free delivery for the two up offer


Disclosure Statement

Don Brushett does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Southern Cross University is not a member of The Conversation and does not financially support the project. Find out more.

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Fair Trade? Sustainability? Ethical coffee pricing a story - Shipment on the Wharf expected in warehouse This Friday
The craft coffee trend: it's pricey, but farmers aren't getting rich- Shipment on the Wharf expected in store Friday - Courtesy of Amy Westerveldt - The Guardian

Consumers pay a premium for specialty products, in theory supporting higher wages for farmers. But it will take more to make these markets truly sustainable. Viet-Coffee only deals with companies it feels demonstrate ethical Practice in developing growers and or pricing

cup of coffee on counter Your cup of coffee is probably even less sustainable than you might think. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images Little of that higher-than-normal price is making its way into the pockets of farmers.

That belief is underscored by stories and photos lining the walls of the shops that sell such goods, or stamped onto packages, depicting subsistence farmers who have been given a lifeline out of poverty by your addiction to medium-roast Yirgacheffe. Similarly, socially conscious consumers will often opt to purchase products that are certified organic or fair trade, believing that these products go farther to support farmers than their non-certified counterparts.

Unfortunately, the emergence of specialty product segments in commodity markets like coffee and chocolate has not dovetailed with a rise in the quality of life of farmers producing the raw materials of those products. That’s not to say that specialty products are not helping at all, just that various market forces need to shift in order to make these markets work better for farmers.

“I’m not convinced that there is yet a model that works comprehensively,” said Simran Sethi, an expert on agricultural biodiversity and author of the forthcoming book “Bread, Beer, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Grow and Love.”

“The ones that support superior quality are good from the perspective of sustaining heirloom varietals that support biodiversity and sustain unique flavor profiles, but that means a significant amount of a crop will be rejected in order to sustain that quality. Farmers have bumper seasons and they’re subjected to every variability – weather, climate, politics, transportation. Most of the cost and risk is still going to be absorbed by the farmer.”

Peter Giuliano, director of the Specialty Coffee Symposium, an industry conference put on each year by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, says the specialty coffee industry is generally concerned about this issue. “At a recent symposium, one of our members stood up and asked: ‘We pay farmers more money for quality, but does that actually translate to a bottom-line better livelihood for them?’” he said.

“The answer we came up with was maybe not, we don’t know, more research is necessary. And that’s essentially where we’re at as an industry. We believe in the idea that better quality coffee, better sustainability, and a better life for farmers can go hand in hand, but systematizing it is a challenge.”

Once a commodity, always a commodity

A big part of the challenge for these markets is the fact that their prices are more or less set by commodity markets. Coffee is priced according to the coffee commodity market price (“the C market” as those in the industry refer to it). That price was set about 100 years ago to help stabilize the price of coffee, which had historically been fairly volatile, for coffee roasters.

“It did a really good job of that and it has been the dominant pricing mechanism for coffee ever since,” Giuliano said. “And that can be useful for farmers, too, because they can theoretically buy coffee futures and hedge like anyone else. So market theorists tend to think it’s good that the commodity price drives the coffee market.”

According to Giuliano, problems arise out of the underlying assumption inherent to commodity pricing: that all products within the market are interchangeable. Those problems are compounded by the fact that what’s driving the commodity price up and down may have nothing to do with the coffee market itself.

“Theoretically a specialty coffee company could work with the C price and just say this higher quality coffee is worth the C price plus a dollar,” Giuliano explained.

“But the things driving the commodity market are not necessarily the same things driving high-quality coffee farming. Then, there’s been a lot more activity in the C market recently from people not in the coffee trade at all, who are just using the market to speculate, and they benefit from market ups and downs that aren’t necessarily reflective of supply and demand or beneficial to those of us in the coffee trade.”

While the coffee and chocolate markets are not at all the same thing, commodity pricing has wreaked similar havoc on producers in both industries. On the chocolate front, the issue is how poorly the commodity market reflects retail supply and demand. Even when the commodity price does reflect what’s happening on the ground, it can unfairly affect some more than others.

According to Shawn Askinosie, founder and CEO of Missouri-based craft chocolate company Askinosie, the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa will affect the price of cocoa if it reaches Ghana or the Ivory Coast, where roughly 70% of the world’s cacao is grown. “It will affect the global price even though there’s no direct effect of supply in Ecuador or the Philippines.”

Beyond these sorts of issues – inherent to any sort of global commodity market – is the fact that demand for chocolate has been increasing rapidly over the past several years, with demand for dark chocolate at a 20-year high, but the commodity price has remained low.

“You look at that situation and you think: what the heck is gonna make that price go higher if higher demand doesn’t?” said Askinosie. “That’s where you get to thinking it’s never going to change, because you’ve got Cargill, Mondelez, Nestle, Hershey’s, Mars – all the big players want to keep that low price, and yes, you will find discussions and conferences and papers written about sustainability plans and efforts to help the farmers and that’s great. But really the market just needs to pay more.”

Weathering market forces

Breaking free of commodity pricing, however, is not simple. In the coffee industry, even specialty roasters who deal directly with their suppliers have to take the C price into account when they’re crafting those deals. “If the market goes sky-high, it can be very tempting for a producer who has a fixed rate locked in with a roaster to ‘lose’ some product in order to sell it at the higher price to someone else,” Giuliano explained.

“And it happens in the reverse too: if the market drops, suddenly a roaster might be rejecting product for quality reasons so that they can replace it with a lower-cost option. In most cases that won’t happen, but it’s important to include mechanisms in your contract that eliminate the temptation.”

Moreover, specialty coffee roasters still base the price they pay some producers on the C market price, and even if they’re paying 200% higher, the farmer may be barely eking out a living.

On the chocolate side, it’s more a question of the market’s willingness to pay for quality product at scale. Despite the craft chocolate boom, the poorer quality but higher volume-producing cacao plants are a safer economic bet for producers.

“The crops with the highest yield of cacao can transform the life of a farmer, but it tastes nothing like chocolate,” Sethi said. “Some of it is OK, a lot of it is awful. But the market doesn’t reward quality, so even the farmers growing heirloom cacao plants tend to also grow a commodity crop as a back-up, or they are farmers who had capital to begin with and can afford to just grow heirloom.”

The commodity chocolate crops are also typically less sustainable. They’re often grown in full sun to increase volume, but this also increases the potential for weeds and disease, which in turn increases pesticide use. Until the market rewards sustainability, social responsibility and quality, however, that’s not likely to change.

“I used to be such a very strong proponent of fair trade and organic, but now after visiting farms in Africa and South America, and speaking with a lot of people involved in specialty coffee and craft chocolate, I’ve realized that it’s more nuanced,” Sethi said. “You see it in Central America with ‘la roya’ – coffee leaf rust – and there are these cases where a farmer has paid for organic certification and then they’re in danger of losing their whole crop to this disease if they don’t spray. They have to decide whether to save the crop or save the certification.”

“These aren’t people who went to Ivy League schools and later decided to get into farming, these are people who can’t afford medicine for their children,” Sethi added. “There are very real concerns right now about hunger in these communities, and there is no fallback profession.”

The road forward

Although the experts agree that fair trade certification initially helped to raise awareness around the injustices suffered by farmers, particularly those in developing countries, no expert interviewed said they thought the label is effectively addressing the problem it set out to solve. Nor does either certification or direct-trade alone seem to be the solution.

“There are people closing these gaps through direct trade efforts but there is no oversight there so, ultimately, the consumer has to trust the story on the label or website,” Sethi said. “Areas where certification schemes do exist are laden with bureaucracy which means that farmers or co-op managers are forced to re-allocate resources (time and money) toward achieving and maintaining that certification which is, for many smallholder farmers, an impossibility.”

Askinosie said that while he appreciates what fair trade standards did to bring awareness and change around social and environment issues for farmers, at this point the label has become “a victim of its own good marketing.”

“Consumers buy it and feel like they’ve done a good deed, and the unfortunate reality is that the farmer doesn’t end up with a lot more money because of the intended goodwill of consumers,” he added.

Instead, those hoping to change these industries are betting on a mix of direct relationships between farmers and manufacturers, and new business models that help to distance specialty products from commodity prices.

Michael Jones, co-founder and CEO of coffee collective Thrive Farmers, is the architect of one such model. Jones jumped ship from the biotech industry into coffee 10 years ago when a trip to Costa Rica opened his eyes to injustices in the coffee industry.

“It was amazing to me that you’d have coffee selling for $80 a pound in Japan and yet the farmer was only making $4 a pound,” he said. “As a guy who didn’t come from that industry I couldn’t get away from the fact that coffee is worth more now than it’s ever been, there’s more consumption of and more demand for coffee than ever in history, and yet the farmers are in some cases making less per pound than it costs them to produce.”

In an attempt to fix that model, Thrive has signed on a network of small farmers whose beans it sells to various roasters and retailers throughout the world. Thrive pays producers a fixed percentage of the wholesale price it gets for selling their beans (75% if they sell the beans green and 50% if the beans are sold roasted), and Jones said that price stays relatively stable year over year, so farmers can better predict what their income will be.

Thrive has also helped to tackle another key issue with the coffee market: the fact that many producers don’t know exactly how much it costs them per pound to produce coffee. Giuliano said that has made it difficult to determine what the wholesale price (and thus the retail price) per pound needs to be in order for specialty coffee to be sustainable. But perhaps the most important shift in the Thrive model is the fact that it ties quality to compensation and enables farmers to sell quality product at scale.

“Beyond pricing stability, the most powerful outcome of the Thrive model is the alignment that is created between the farmer and retail consumers,” Jones said. “Increased quality allows sales at higher price points, and with predictable pricing structures, it is now worth farmers making investments of time and money to learn more about farming, which can increase both yield and quality. These both translate into more income, which entirely changes the paradigm they have historically been tied to.”

Various companies in both the specialty chocolate and specialty coffee realms also are working on getting both retail and wholesale customers to adjust their price expectations and to stop thinking of “farmers” as a homogenous group.

“What’s best for the farmers I work with in the Philippines may not be the best for the farmers in Tanzania or the farmers in Ecuador,” Askinosie said. “They’re not the same people. They’re not the same culturally, they’re not experiencing the same degree of poverty, they may have different religious backgrounds that affect what they want and need. Of course we can make some basic assumptions – people need clean water, for example – but it’s a mistake I think to not include farmers in the discussion about what’s best for them.”

Both Askinosie and Giuliano point to the need to educate the consumer market and push retail prices up further, too. “One thing everyone agrees on in coffee is that it’s too cheap,” Giuliano said. “And no consumer feels that way. The $20 bag of coffee from Blue Bottle is probably, in the long term, an unsustainably low price.”

Coffee already saw a shift in consumers’ willingness to pay more for coffee when Starbucks took the industry by storm, and Askinosie is hoping for a similar phenomenon in chocolate. “You can say what you want about Starbucks, but they had the wherewithal to do some things that moved the needle in the coffee market,” he said. “I firmly believe that in my lifetime we’ll see a $25 chocolate bar that the specialty consumer market will be willing to pay for.”

At the same time, specialty manufacturers are intensely aware of creating an access issue on the consumer side as they balance the cost of production with sales prices for farmers. The ultimate solution is likely a mixture of growth in the specialty markets and more realistic pricing in the commodity markets.

“There are a lot of people doing great things,” Sethi said. “We just haven’t developed a model that captures everything. We can’t. We prioritize in any given moment what’s important to us. If you’re saving the rainforest, you can’t also be hyper-focused on taste. You can try, but one priority will edge out the other. It has to.”

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