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Letters from our First Online Issues


From Carlo Pallotti, Italy
I'm very happy to learn something about coffee as I drink four Mokas every morning. I think there are very few people in the world who know the history, the method of production, the commerce and the uses of coffee. It is curious that "coffee" is one of the very few words that doesn't change much from one language to another.

From Simon Chua, Singapore
You might be interested in knowing that in Singapore, which has many cafes of reputable standards, despite questionable ambience, there are basically two groups of coffee drinkers - those that use the local coffee, mainly imported from Malyasia and Indonesia, and the others who drink the "Western Blend" like Blue Mountain and Columbian - which are prepared using espresso machines. The local coffees are boiled and then diluted with water. They are famous for their thick, black aroma.

From Larry Bourgeois, Ohio, USA
Your publication looks very promising. I used to live in the SF area and I opened the Phoenix Books and Expresso Cafe in San Jose (from 1985-1990). I now live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am opening a bookstore/coffeehouse in a very large, 120 year old former Catholic Church and Franciscan Monastery. My project is called Pilgrim Place. I will be focusing on "the great good place" concept from Oldenburg's book. We hope to make it a center for community and spiritual renewal.

From Michael Alexander, Colorado, USA
It would be great if Cafe Magazine could establish the ambience of a great, dark, smoky Kafkaesque cafe...
(We're trying - ed.)

From Mark Newstead, Director, CyberDine Ltd, UK
I was very interested in your interview with the proprietor of CB1, Daniel Sturdy in the recent Cafe Magazine . I agree with many of the points raised. By the way I enjoy reading the articles in the magazine, it makes a change from much of the rubbish found on the Internet.
I n your article you mentioned my CyberCafe in Harlow within the context of selling out. In this letter I would like to have the opportunity of putting the record straight. In my case the actual cafe side was much more important, as the cafe had a high weekly turnover. The Internet side of things was very small change by comparison. This would always be the case as the cost of using the Internet with three PCs could never generate much of a weekly turnover. No one should expect to make much money from the Internet side of any CyberCafe, in most cases it would have to be accepted as a loss leader to attract more customers to the main cafe or bookshop.
In business, one has to enjoy the work and the challenge, but the business must pay for itself. The operation must be commercially viable, and this has to take priority over one's love of the CyberCafe concept. The reason I turned my Diner into a CyberCafe was because I use the Internet on a day to day basis at BT Research Labs in Ipswich, where I help design the Internet for BTs 5000+ employees. I wanted to make my cafe customers aware of the usefulness of the Internet for non technical people. Also I wanted to merge my Internet / computer side of my life to my other cafe interests. I only wish I had more time to spend on the CyberCafe side of things, but my BT consultancy takes up most of my time.
The reason for trying to sell up was not because of the CyberCafe, but because the main diner was losing a great deal of money since the normal seasonal downturn after Christmas. I was forced to walk away carrying heavy losses. My other companies could not carry the Diner long enough until trade picked up at Easter. Pushing the CyberCafe for sale by emailing across the world was just a last ditched attempt to find a buyer / investor before I was forced to wind up the operation. Harlow, it must be said, is a dying town. Its people are too poor to spend much money, the people with money never go to the town centre, and prefer to go to places like Lakeside .
So the Harlow CyberCafe has closed with the main Diner closure. The CyberCafe company CyberDine will re-open its doors at a new location in Peterborough when I recover from my financial bruising. The Peterborough CyberCafe location will be in offices above my Fish & Chip shop outside the Peterborough United football ground, along London Road.
The new CyberCafe will be aimed at small businesses, offering advice and networked services. The operation will focus on the Internet and PC business software. There will be a CyberCafe feel, but I do not want to say much more at this time.
Peterborough is becoming a good Internet location due to the CityGate initiative (URL:, and I wish Michael and Santos (the owners of CityGate) the best of luck for the future (Santos, by the way, has his hairdressers next to my fish & chip shop!).

From Jeff Thompson, San Francisco, USA
I t is great to see someone who acknowledges the impact cafes have had on world history. I am the employee of an equipment, design and consulting firm which supports the specialty coffee trade based in San Francisco. The owner of our company also has a coffee house and coffee museum in New Orleans which was built on the original site where coffee was first warehoused in the United States. You can find out more on our web page:
( Cafe Magazine is collecting information for an article on coffee museums. Anyone with knowledge about any such locations is urged to contact us - ed.)

From Marcelo Paz, Bolivia
I have a coffee export company in green bean and roasted coffee. We are seeking the opportunity of buying either new or used machinery related to the coffee industry. We also need information on ways of commercializing our roasted coffee in the local market.

From Artuo Cruz Torres, Mexico
I'm trying to find some information about coffee machinery used to make soluble coffee and decaff coffee with water based process. I'd appreciate any help.

From Jani Grasic, Slovenia
I would like to enter into the cafe business in Kranji, Slovenia and would appreciate any business information which might help.

From Arne Froiland, Norway
I am currently in the process of opening two coffee shops in Oslo, Norway. My business plan is using the US example - ie. how specialty coffee consumption has 'exploded' and coffee drinking has moved out of the home and into cafes. I would therefore be pleased if you could help me find the following data: US coffee consumption 1960-95; relative development of coffee home consumption compared to total consumption in the US; the number of different coffee brands/types imported into the US; the percentage of total consumption of the top three coffee brands; coffee types in the US and one European country (eg. Switzerland or the Netherlands).

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