If you’ve ever walked into a third wave coffee shop or explored the world of specialty coffee, you might have come across the divisive Peaberry Coffee. You might be asking yourself, what is Peaberry Coffee? Where does it come from and how is it different from any other coffee? That’s what this article is about.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Peaberry Coffee…

Roasted Peaberry Coffee Beans
Roasted Peaberry Coffee

What is Peaberry Coffee?

Before coffee finds its way into your cup, it is nothing more than a fruit – referred to as the ‘coffee cherry’. Normally, each cherry has two beans inside it. These are the beans that we extract, wash, roast, grind, and then brew.

Peaberry Coffee, also known as ‘caracol’ in Spanish, is a result of a genetic mutation causing the coffee cherry to have only one bean inside it instead of two. This genetic mutation occurs in only 5-10% of coffee cherries.

Check out this video to see what a coffee cherry looks like and how it contains two coffee beans within it:

What Does Peaberry Coffee Look Like?

Normally, coffee grows with two beans within each coffee cherry. These beans are pressed up against each other, creating a flat side on each bean. Peaberry coffee, on the other hand, is just a single coffee bean within the cherry, which is why most of its surface is rounded.

Peaberry Coffee gets its name because of its round shape that sometimes resembles little peas. All other coffee is commonly referred to as ‘flat beans’.

Green Bean Peaberry vs Roasted Peaberry
Green Bean Peaberry vs Roasted Peaberry

Why is Peaberry Coffee So Expensive?

If you’ve considered buying Peaberry Coffee, you’ve probably realized how expensive it can be. In some cases, it can be as much as $10 more expensive per pound. The reasons for the price premium on Peaberry Coffee is actually simpler than it seems:

  • Scarcity: Since Peaberry Coffee is only found in 5-10% of harvested beans, it is much more scarce than ‘normal coffee’. This scarcity increases its value, particularly among coffee aficionados.
  • Processing: Processing Peaberry Coffee is very labor-intensive, mainly due to the fact that it needs to be handpicked and sorted. This is a long and slow process and one of the main reasons why many coffee farms do not offer Peaberry Coffee.
  • Taste: Many coffee experts tout Peaberry Coffee as one that has a more complex and often sweeter taste. This is the reason some farms go to extreme lengths to remove it from the rest of the coffee during processing.

Does Peaberry Coffee Taste Different?

There are heated debates among coffee drinkers as to whether Peaberry Coffee tastes any different than non-Peaberry Coffee. Some claim that due to the fact that there is only one bean within the coffee cherry, it receives more nutrients and has an overall better taste. In addition, when the Peaberry Coffe beans are being picked out of the batch of coffee, the ones with defects are more likely to be eliminated.

Coffee after its been picked
Coffee after its been picked

Peaberry Coffee has been said to be more buoyant and be more brightly acidic, but also more complex in its aromatic ranges and somewhat lighter in body than comparable flat bean coffee. In addition, since Peaberry Coffee beans are round in shape and denser, it is believed that they roast more evenly than flat bean coffee.

While some believe that Peaberry Coffee has a taste that makes it distinct from flat bean coffee, others remain adamant that there is absolutely no recognizable difference between Peaberry Coffee and any other coffee beans.

Is Peaberry Coffee Worth It?

You might be trying to decide whether or not to try some Peaberry Coffee for yourself. Since the difference between Peaberry Coffee and flat coffee is so minor, it becomes something more likely to be appreciated by only the truest of coffee connoisseurs.

This is not to say that if you were to try Peaberry Coffee you would not enjoy it. On the contrary – you might end up loving your new batch of Peaberry Coffee. However, it may be indistinguishable to your pallet from flat coffee coming from the same batch.

Therefore if you’re looking to try Peaberry Coffee, it would be best to try it in small batches and compare it to its flat coffee equivalent to decide whether it’s worth paying the high price for it more regularly.

Where Does Peaberry Coffee Grow?

If you’ve spent any time reading and learning about Peaberry Coffee, something you might have noticed is that it is usually associated with Tanzanian Coffee and Hawaiian Kona Coffee. These two countries are the largest producers of Peaberry Coffee. However, Peaberry Coffee actually grows everywhere in the world on virtually every coffee plant. These countries have simply set up systems to pick out and separate the Peaberry Coffee beans from the rest of the batch.

If you were to buy regular coffee beans (that aren’t from Tanzania or Hawaii) you’ll most likely find Peaberry Coffee beans inside them if you look carefully enough. Since most coffee farms do not separate Peaberry Coffee beans from flat coffee beans, they end up in the regular batch and find their way to roasteries and supermarkets worldwide

Roasting Peaberry Coffee

Peaberry Coffee reportedly roasts more evenly than their flat bean counterparts because of their rounded shape. When roasted alongside flat bean coffee, they roast at a slightly different speed and could lead to an overall uneven roast. However, when roasted on their own, they are more likely to roast evenly and with more uniformity.

If you’re interested in roasting Peaberry Coffee yourself, consider checking out our ultimate guide to choosing a home coffee roaster.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about buying Peaberry Coffee and are just curious about what it might taste like, it’s definitely worth a try. Although more expensive, the increased price of most Peaberry Coffees won’t put a huge dent in your wallet like some other coffee varieties.

However, if you think that Peaberry Coffee will be a life-changing coffee drinking experience, it probably won’t be. To the average drinker (and even the professional coffee taster, in many cases), Peaberry Coffee is virtually identical to flat bean coffee. But give it a go and decide for yourself…

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