I still remember the first time I saw a Tanzanian peaberry coffee. I was searching for a brand new type of coffee and wanted something exotic.
I had been having too many of your standard South American coffees (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and was looking for a change.
When I saw it I thought “Tanzania? That sounds awesomely different.”
Then I thought, “Peaberry, what the heck is that?”
For the longest time I assume it was that it was not a true coffee bean, but that it was either some caffeinated similar berry, or that something was added to the coffee grounds.
And, welp, I was way off.
If you did not know, coffee beans are actually the seeds that come from the inside of a cherry-like fruit.
Now, what I did not originally understand was that inside of those cherries there are usually two coffee beans/seeds.
But, in about 5% of all coffee beans there is a mutation that leaves the cherries with only a single coffee bean inside. And that is what a peaberry is.
Think of it like a pea inside a berry, rather than two beans pressing against each other.
When two coffee beans are inside of one cherry, it causes them to flatten on one side.
Some people think this gives peaberries a superior flavor because they more easily roll around and get more evenly roasted.
Others think that it’s because peaberry coffee roasters must seek out the 5% peaberry beans, and because they’re being more picky, they leave out the worse beans, and this makes peaberry coffee superior.
And, many others say that they simply cannot taste the difference.
I personally would love to try two coffees from the same harvest where one is peaberry and one is regular, and where all other conditions are the same.
Tanzania peaberry coffee seems to be the most popular type, but there many other options out there (scroll to the bottom here to see). Some of the more interesting ones I have come across in my coffee drinking adventures are Turkish and Hawaiian peaberry coffees.
Peaberry coffees are tougher to come across, but are something that you should definitely try when you get the chance.
And, for our Spanish speaking friends? Caracol is the Spanish word for peaberry.
It has been awhile since we have done a peaberry in our subscription boxes– should we do them more often? Has this piqued your interest?
Let us know what you think- we love to hear from our readers.