What's a peaberry?
A cup of coffee is a complicated thing. It's origin, processing, roasting method, brewing choices, freshness, all factor into its taste.
But that taste all begins with the bean!
The Peaberry is a renegade coffee bean that is actually a mutation.
A coffee bean really is the stone inside the coffee cherry, or the fruit of the coffee plant.
Coffee cherries usually have two beans inside. Those beans are oval and flat but with the Peaberry mutation, one of the beans fails to grow, and the one bean that does is smaller and rounder.
This mutation happens in both Robusta and Arabica beans, in all growing regions and it occurs in between 5 and 10% of harvested coffee cherries.
From the outside, cherries with Peaberry beans look no different than other cherries. It isn’t until the cherries have been harvested and dried that the Peaberries can be separated out from the larger beans. This process is done by hand, which tends to make Peaberry brews more expensive, due to the extra labor.
In addition to being smaller and rounder than regular beans, Peaberries are also denser and all of these characteristics affect the roasting process. The Peaberries tend to roast more evenly, and require different adjustments to heat level and roasting time. Specifically, because of the density of these beans, doing a slow, steady, careful roast is required in order to ensure that the flavors fully develop throughout these dense beans.
While coffees from different regions and different varieties, and even different seasons, have different, distinct flavor profiles, it is generally understood that Peaberry beans tend to be sweeter and brighter tasting than others.