— coaxing gleaming, mahogany beans from curiously grassy, green seeds. There’s few things that make *this* alchemist happier than a bag of new beans to roast, and Steve Ackman at Two Loons Coffee in New Hampshire has come through with a very nifty sampler pack — coffees from Burundi, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Java — a spiffy mix of origins and flavors. I’ve roasted them all up today, and I’ll start cupping tomorrow. You’ll find full results here by the end of the week, but I thought I’d post a few roasting notes in the meantime.

Burundi AA
While not quite so potent in its grassiness, the Burundi reminds me quite a lot of the phenomenal Uganda Bugisu I glommed onto last year — Burundi and Uganda are neighbors, after all. The Burundi is slightly more pale in color, but elegantly prepped. These are very uniform, chubby beans. Lots of promise.

Ethiopia Longberry Harrar Horse
The Horse mark is easily the most respected of Ethiopian coffees, but these coffees vary so much from lot to lot that a name alone simply isn’t enough to guarantee a great cup. For the record, then, this sample is from lot 24/55. Longberry could be something of a misnomer with this lot — the beans vary from small to tiny — which would make roasting in a machine like the Alpenrost pretty difficult, and even folks using air-roasters need to keep on their toes… small beans roast fast.

Costa Rican SHB Tarrazu San Rafael RZ
In last years’ Tarrazu Triple Play I profiled three Costa Rican coffees, each of which shared in some part the “Tarrazu Ideal” — a bright, clean, acidy cup — with notes that vary from of wood and chocolate to caramel and even beefy flavors. Truth be told, this isn’t the best time of year for Tarrazus… we’re at the tail-end of last year’s crop, and this year’s crop isn’t really due for another month or two. That’s all to say that, if the San Rafael doesn’t cup to last years’ standards, that’s okay… right now it’s not in its prime.

Peru Organic, La Florida
The La Florida is one of those coffees that, when you roast it, swells up to be a big-beaned beast. It also appears to be an excellent example of the latest organic coffees — it’s evident real care was used in its processing. Curiously, it sweats some oil almost immediately after first crack. I don’t know whether that would suggest this isn’t a terribly hard bean [which would suggest it’s not a high-grown origin] or whether it’s just a lipid-packed wonder… time, and cupping, will tell.

Java, Kayumas Estate
I haven’t been excited about Java coffees lately… this one might change my mind. Just a few hours after roasting this one’s developed complex, sweet aromas that I simply haven’t found in a Java — ever.

I’m looking forward to cupping tomorrow.

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