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Peaberry beans are all the rage among coffee lovers. But, what exactly are they?
If you’re a true coffee lover, you’ve probably come across the term “peaberry coffee” at some point.
Also known as caracol (Spanish for snail), this naturally occurring mutation in Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties grows with only one bean (aka seed) inside the coffee cherry instead of two.
So, what’s the deal with peaberry coffee? What makes it so sought-after by coffee lovers? Why has it generated so much buzz?
This post will tell you more about peaberry coffee, what makes it so unique, and why you should try it.
Peaberry is a coffee bean that grows as a single seed inside the cherry fruit.
For the most part, when you buy coffee, it comes from regular beans that grew with two seeds inside the cherry.
Peaberry coffee beans are small, round beans that grow inside a larger bean (the “pea”).
The size of the peaberry depends on the variety of the coffee bean—some types produce larger peaberries, and some make smaller ones.
So, what makes peaberry coffee so special?
Well, first of all, these cherries produce fewer beans than ordinary ones do, which means they’re rarer and more expensive.
The smaller bean size also affects the flavor profile of your cup. Basically, since there’s less room for the beans to expand during roasting, they retain more moisture and produce a sweeter cup with a softer body than traditional coffees.
What does this mean when you brew your daily cup of coffee? Well, in general, a richer flavor profile and often greater jolt of caffeine in every sip!
Remember, different-origin peaberry coffee will taste different, just like regular coffee.
Mother Nature determines where and when these beans grow; they account for approximately 5% to 15% of beans in coffee plantations.
Consequently, this randomness provides a unique flavor experience for coffee lovers.
For instance, a peaberry from Ethiopia will have a different flavor profile than a peaberry from Brazil. In addition, Tanzanian peaberries have a brighter taste profile than regular coffee beans, but they have something else surprising – a rich chocolate flavor.
Coffee enthusiasts describe peaberry coffee as “highly acidic,” “brighter,” “concentrated” and even “sweeter.”
That’s because the shape and size of these unique seeds make them more compact.
They have less surface area for roasting, which results in an overall lower level of acidity and bitterness. You get all of the flavors of coffee without any of the sharpness or bitterness.
Because there are fewer chlorogenic acids in each peaberry bean, you’ll get more caffeine per cup than drinking regular beans. This means that your morning cup of coffee will give you a bigger kick.
It’s because of the rarity and the limited supply of these high-quality beans, and the fact that it’s more labor-intensive to harvest peaberries out of coffee fruit.
Most coffee farmers work at a loss when harvesting peaberries since manual harvesting is so labor-intensive. And, since it takes longer to cultivate and harvest peaberries, farmers are less likely to pick them.
These beans are hand-sorted after harvesting and sold separately. As a result, the supply is low, and the price is high – not to mention that the flavor of the coffee itself is way more acidic and intense (not a good choice for low acid coffee lovers, though).
If you love highly acidic, fruity coffee, then peaberry is likely to be the right choice for you – just make sure that you’re buying a peaberry and not a full regular bean. It’s easy to tell them apart. Regular coffee beans are shaped like a melon that has been cut in half, whereas peaberry beans look like a whole melon.
If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you know that roasting can make or break your cup of joe. To bring out the best in these high-quality beans, you must roast them correctly.
First, roasters must sort peaberries from regular beans before roasting. Although coffee farmers do this post-harvest as standard, it still pays to check.
Roasters use a slightly lower temperature than usual when roasting your peaberries. They tend to burn more quickly than other coffee bean varieties, so roasters oversee them carefully during the roasting process.
Finally, because peaberries are so small, they need more time to develop their flavor than other types of coffee beans. It’s best to roast them for longer than regular beans to develop their full potential.
So, now that you know more about peaberry coffee, you probably want to try it.
The good news is that it’s not hard to find peaberry coffee!
With a simple Google search, you can Buy 100% peaberry bags from roasters online. There are even reliable sellers on popular sites like Etsy.
Just make sure that you buy from a roaster that has ethical sourcing practices and that roasts the beans after you place your order. I mean, what’s the point of buying a high-end coffee if you’re just going to order old, stale coffee beans?
Peaberry coffee is more expensive than regular coffee because it's rare. It also undergoes hand-sorting, separate roasting and careful handling after harvesting and during the roasting process.
Some coffee lovers swear by the taste of peaberry coffee, reporting a unique and highly concentrated taste profile that’s more acidic and sweeter than regular coffee.
Yes. Peaberry coffee contains slightly higher levels of caffeine than regular coffee. For instance, Guatemalan coffee contains on average caffeine levels of 1.20%, Kona beans 1.32% and Ethiopian beans 1.13%. In contrast, Tanzanian peaberries have, on average, 1.42% caffeine.
Kona peaberries comprise only 3-5% of all Kona coffee crops. They take longer to mature and produce fewer yields per plant than their flat-side counterparts.
I hope I’ve adequately answered the question, “What is peaberry coffee?” for you.
Peaberry coffee is an excellent option for those looking for a higher quality, more intense version of what they normally put in their super automatic espresso machine.
It’s a treat and not something you necessarily drink all the time. But, every once in a while, it’s fun to push the boundaries of your daily brew. Peaberry coffee is as enjoyable as buying fancy wine!
Choose from these reviews of the best Kona coffee beans, and you’ll have an idea of one region that produces peaberries. That way you can give this rare bean a test spin.