One of the benefits of being an "online" retailer is that you can sell stuff to people all over the world. This also means that people all over the world can ask you questions, and they do! I try to answer all the questions I get, but there are a few that are beyond me. Some of them certainly make you wonder a bit, such as:
"I'm thinking of opening an internet business. Can you tell me who you buy your coffee and equipment from? Also how did you build your website?" (Answered politely in the negative.)
"Do you know where I can get 8000 coffee plungers?" (Answered with directions to Bodum & Avanti agents.)
"I am looking for the answers to the following questions:
Do coffee beans grow in france?
What is french roast, where is it from, and is it french?" (No, dark, who knows and no.)
"I was wondering if you could help me with a little problem I'm having. I purchased the Saldo Napoletana machine some time ago (note: not from my shop, I may add) and not long after I started using it I found I could not make a cup of espresso without the coffee running out over the handle of the portafilter, because of this I am not getting the crema on top of the coffee. I have tried everything from a different grind to not putting as much coffee in the holder and tamping quite hard however nothing seems to be working. I clean the brew head every time I use it. Any ideas?" (Answered "Take out the crema disk." It worked.)
"It's no good. If I can create coffee with crema that thick and good, with small stable bubbles sitting on top of such nice coffee it means that I am constantly disappointed when I have a coffee when I go out. I look at "Baristas" (spelling?) driving their big expensive machines and wonder how they can sell watery coffee that is often burnt and usually has a very poor crema for more than $2.00." (This from a happy customer, and he's STILL wondering. I don't know how either!)
"I have just purchased a (blanked out), espresso machine valued at about $BIGBUCKS in Myer/David Jones/Harvey Norman, I have not found any information on them at all. Have you used one of these machines, if you have what is your impression of it and what are some tips using it. I don't see any references on your site in relation to the (blanked out) items and didn't know if this was for a reason.
Also do you have a comprehensive list on how to make, a latte, short black, flat white etc with exact measurements. I read one of your newsletter which explained a latte as 1/3 espresso 2/3 steamed milk, is the espresso supposed to be a double shot for a Latte? Also how do you make steamed milk? Is it the milk after u froth that isn't frothy?" (I get a LOT of these, you'd be amazed how many people buy a machine from someone else and then don't know how to use it. I help as much as possible with a standard reply, directing them to places on various websites and emphasising that customers. i.e. people who buy stuff from me, are welcome to both email and call me for assistance.)
"You say that the Sylvia (sp) is the best machine please explain why." (Answered with the URL of the reviews, a link to www.coffeekid.com and the phrase "best DOMESTIC machine in the AUSTRALIAN market in this PRICE RANGE".)
And finally, the question that I not only didn't know the answer to, I never wanted to find out!
"I am searching for organic coffee in order to be used for colonic irrigation. Please advice your recommendation for suitable coffees and your best prices for same."
(Answered with as straight a face as possible: "Unfortunately I am unable to answer your request as I have no experience in this area. (!) I can only recommend coffees for ORAL ingestion.")
Surprisingly enough, I got an order for 10kg of Organic Timor Arabica from Europe a couple of weeks later, but there's never been a followup. Maybe it goes a lo-o-ong way!!