Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Increase in Postage and Packing charges at hvcoffee.com
Following this week's increase in postal charges (again!) and recent rises in the cost of our packing materials, we have been obliged to review upwards the cost of shipping which is added to all orders placed in our online store. The increases reduce proportionate to the amount of packs purchased and we have even managed a 20p reduction where 10 packs are purchased at one time due to special conditions from ANC, our courier service.
Considering the service we offer of roast - ship - at your doorstep in 3-4 days, we still believe that our pricing is competitive. It is, and will for ever remain, just the true cost to us of postage and materials - no hidden premiums.
Fuel costs and the cost of parking in towns and cities have spiralled out of control in comparison, making a special trip to a local coffee merchant even less attractive than ever to the true enthusiast.
Thankfully, you can still get a bag of our coffee, freshly roasted, each week into your kitchen for less than £4.50, just with several clicks of the mouse. If you are prepared to buy 10 at a time, this still drops to below £4.00.
We have also been obliged to raise the free shipping threshold from £100 to £120 to take account of increases in green coffee prices.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Coming Soon at hvcoffee.com
In East Africa, the main crop in Kenya is in and is drought ravaged! The best lots are the subject of great competition in the auction and it will be a fight to get the quality we need at the prices you will accept. We've made a tentative first purchase and will watch developments.
In Colombia main crop coffees are now at their peak - it's the time to drink it! In central america we await new crop arrivals before buying anything new, and this time we are hoping to again have some fine coffee from Guatemala to offer.
So the following will be the effects on our catalaogue over the next 2 weeks.
Stocks of Celebes Kalosi have run dry and we have removed it from the store. It will re-appear after easter - totally new coffee, new crop, new shipper. we hold out great hopes of an improvement in the somewhat patchy quality of the last few months. A really good Kalosi remains a total classic coffee drinking experience.
Ethiopia Harrar has now run out, gone, none left. We had a long run with this coffee and it is very much an acquired taste. Highly evocative to anyone with the imagination to visualise groups of tribesman huddled around a fire with the sun setting over the plateau and the chill descending in the Abyssinian highlands. Coffee roasts in the traditional pan on the open fire and the men chew their chat patiently, while pulling their robes around them to keep out the cold. It's time will come again for us, but I'm wary of turning the exceptional into the mundane. Hope you all understand why.
The return of Java is upon us. New crop Kayumas Estate is due the day after easter at our roastery and we'll re-launch e.caffe, Mocha Java and Three Islands Blend the next day!
Three recent introductions will remain for a month or so, two because of their exceptional quality and one because it became a quick classic. So FDE Espresso, PNG Kimel Peaberries and the fantastic Sumatra Lintong have been re-ordered / maintained. This Sumatra in particular is the best I have tasted anywhere for about 15 years.
Then that leaves Kenya.....
We've decided on a small purchase of Gethumbwini new crop AA and will offer it after easter as well. There will have to be a price rise, but I think Kenya fans will find it worth the expense.
April and May "Tour Dates" - Coffee in a field!
Well, we've just finished the first month of our outdoor event season with the usual blend of frozen pipes, "desperate for coffee", customers, early morning darkness, wind, rain and mud. And then more mud, and more mud. Business as usual then.
We trialled our new FDE espresso and then promptly nearly exhausted supplies in two weeks. Our Rancilio machines are being re-built one by one thanks to Steve and the engineers at Coffee Machine Company, but our old original Magister machine stood up to the rigours of a thorough frost while acting as stand-in. Thank goodness it is built like a Land Rover and not a Range Rover.
As more and more small businesses try to cash in on the popularity of speciality coffee at outdoor events, it's nice to be on familiar ground at the British Eventing Horse Trials we attend. Familiar faces, plenty of lively discussion, great coffee...just a coffee house on the road really. Thanks to all our loyal friends - we love you all.
The signs are that spring is "just around the corner" and April represents a quiet month before the season gets crazy from the second half of May onwards. It still promises to offer opportunities for a nice day in the country at some attractive venues though.
April 8th - 9th. Larkhill Horse Trials (Amesbury). Likely to be windy, cold, wet - bracing! A junior level event for the committed.
April 22nd - 23rd. Withington Manor Horse Trials. Perched on a ridge with superb views over the Cotswolds, 3 miles off the A40 between Northleach and Andoversford. A chance to see top international riders with some of their best horses on an advanced course 2 weeks before Badminton.
April 28th - 30th. Hambleden Horse Trials. On the Henley Show ground A4155 Henley - Marlow road opposite the management college. Unique viewing conditions and a walk in the bluebell woods as part of the day. Usually good weather the chance to sample the Hambleden Estate's game and the beer from the Stag & Huntsman.
May 11th - 14th. Aston le Walls Horse Trials. Off the Banbury - Daventry road, about 6 miles from M40 J11. Easy viewing, a huge volume of horses and riders and the first of three events at this venue each year. Come on the thursday to see the top riders exchange Badminton war stories before they head off to Chatsworth.
May 19th - 21st. Mattingley Horse Trials. Hampshire. 3 miles north of Hook and south of Wellington Country Park. 15 mins from M4 J11. Superbly organised, attractive course and a friendly event with good shopping. Mainly for the junior riders or the top guys with less experienced horses.
May 25th - 28th. Tweseldown 2 star 3 day event. Tweseldown racecourse near Church Crookham, Hants. The long format version of the olympic event at a reduced level of difficulty. Cross country day is Saturday. We'll be hidden in a competitor only area near the stables.
May 27th - 28th. Brigstock Horse Trials, Northants. A new event promising an Aston Martin Owners Club vintage rally. If you're nearby worth a look in.
May 29th - 30th. Borde Hill Horse Trials. A junior level Horse Trials in a scenic show gardens right by Haywards Heath in West Sussex. A good family day out on the sunday, certainly.
And all with the benefit of superb Hill & Valley Coffee on sale if you make the effort.