What is a peaberry bean?
Normally, the fruit (aka the “cherry”) of the coffee plant contains two seeds (“beans”) that develop with flattened facing sides. Sometimes though, only one of the two seeds is fertilized, and the single seed develops with nothing to flatten it.
This oval (or pea-shaped) bean is known as peaberry.
About 5% of all coffee beans grown result in this development difference.
The remaining 95% of beans harvested are what most of us know as our coffee beans. These are sometimes called ‘flat berry’ (as opposed to peaberry) beans and offer a slightly different quality upon roasting.
For example, the beans in our Tanzania Medium Roast are peaberry beans. We’ve noticed that many African coffees we have cupped tend to have fruity notes – something we love very much. Our Tanzania Peaberry however has notes of chocolate with very nice brown sugar sweetness. It’s a very smooth – balanced cup of coffee.
Some people in the coffee business have expressed that peaberry beans taste very differently from other ‘flatberry’ beans – mainly due to the difference in shape and how they roast.
Roasting peaberry beans is different from roasting flatberry beans. Since the shape is different, peaberry beans are separated during harvest from each other, bagged separately, and sold separately.
As a coffee roaster, we’ve developed the roasting profile for the peaberry taking into account the differences that take place in the roasting drum. Round beans hit the sides of the roaster drum differently than the flatberry beans hit, so we’ve had to experiment with roasting to come up with a production roast that works.
The peaberry only occurs in about 5% of coffee grown and is specially handled. We consider it a ‘treat’ to make coffee with peaberry beans and create a roast that compliments its uniqueness.
Our beans from Tanzania have a wonderful earthy, chocolatey taste with notes of sweet brown sugar, and it makes for a very balanced cup.