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What is Peaberry coffee? Everything you need to know.

We live in a world with an unlimited variety of coffee drinks. From drinking coffee brewed from unroasted beans to ice-cold frappe and coffee digested by animals. Peaberry coffee taking a special place. Partly, because of its natural phenomena and mystery surround it. Coffee crowds arguing for a long time about the value of peaberry coffee. In this article, we will go over what makes peaberry unique and what challenges farmers face to deliver peaberry beans.

What is Peaberry Coffee?

Coffee beans are seeds in coffee fruit, also called cherry. And in 95% of the cherries, there are two seeds grow together side by side. And that’s the reason why coffee beans flat on one side and round on another. However, in about 5-7%, there is only one seed. Peaberry coffee beans look smaller and more rounded since it doesn’t have to share space with another coffee bean. It takes the oval shape of the cherry and also affects the nutritional value of the seed. Its natural event and happening regardless of altitude, weather, or farming process. Peaberry beans found in many parts of the world like Tanzania, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Hawaii. Arabica and robusta both capable of producing Peaberry coffee beans.

Flat bean green (unroasted)

Flat bean green

Peaberry coffee beans green (unroasted)

Peaberry bean green

Harvesting Peaberry coffee beans.

There is no way to see peaberry  beans while it’s still in fruit. All fruits collected and processed in bulk. After beans washed, farmers separated peaberry coffee using screens. It requires extra time and labor to remove peaberries. Typically you get peaberry beans in your regular bag of coffee from your local coffee shop. Many farms don’t separate them from the bulk crop. And farms that offer pure peaberry coffee generally charge more.

Why It more expensive?

As stated before, selecting peaberry beans require extra labor. Even so, peaberry beans occurs in all places of growing coffee. Only a few of them offer pure peaberry and go through the painful process to separate them from bulk coffee crops. The most popular origins offering peaberry is Tanzania, Costa Rican, Kenya, and more expensive one is from Hawaii. As many believe by paying the higher price, you may get better quality coffee but, its not necessary a case with peaberry coffee. Low supply and costly processes are driving costs higher. 

Roasting Process.

Ok, now we know its different bean. But does it need to roast differently? Since the peaberry is smaller and has the shape of the oval, the coffee bean will act differently inside the coffee roaster. Add to this nutritional difference in the peaberry bean. Many coffee roasting companies will treat this uniquely. For example, the peaberry will roll inside due to its unique shape. Result in much, even roast. Roasters will try to preserve the natural sweetness of the coffee bean, so don’t expect to see peaberry coffee roasted too dark. Other things to consider due to the smaller size there are will be more beans per pound. And coffee beans will expand during the roasting process. 

Flat coffee beans roasted

Flat coffee bean roasted

Peaberry coffee beans roasted

Peaberry coffee bean roasted

Does Peaberry coffee has more caffeine than other beans?

Due to the limited market of the peaberry beans, we have only a few studies about the caffeine content. One of them published in the book “Caffeine and Activation Theory: Effects on Health and Behavior” by Barry D. Smith, Uma Gupta, B.S. Gupta. And it is stated that Tanzania Peaberry has 13.6% higher in caffeine than average arabica coffee beans. What worth to notice, there is no record about robusta peaberry. Robusta coffee, on average, has a double amount of caffeine than arabica. So we can assume that robusta peaberry has around 10% – 13% higher of caffeine than robusta beans.

Caffeine and Activation Theory: Effects on Health and Behavior” by Barry D. Smith, Uma Gupta, V.S. Gupta

Does Peaberry coffee taste different?

There are so many factors that can affect taste in coffee. Let’s go through some of them. First, the peaberry coffee bean developed differently. It doesn’t have twin bean next to, so all nutrition consolidated in one seed. Since it has a more rounded shape and doesn’t have sharp edges, it roasted more evenly, which in the end will change the flavor. You may ask, but how would it change? It’s consistently sweeter, balanced acidity, and medium body that I found in most peaberry coffee beans. Blueberry notes very pronounced to me. Other people are mentioning fruitiness. Whats very consistent that it has balanced acidity. 

Best ways to brew Peaberry coffee.  

Let’s take a look at which brewing method would help us to get most out of peaberry beans. First, let’s go over basics. Make sure your peaberry coffee beans no longer than two weeks old from roast. And if you want to get the best out of coffee, grind it right before you brew regardless of which way you brewing. Never store your coffee in the fridge or freezer. All of the above will dry coffee fast. Keep your coffee in an airtight container. Try to be consistent with measurements. Little kitchen scale would be handy. 

You may have to adjust the grind. If you grind too fine, it will slow down water flow and increase extraction time. In this case, you may over-extract and make coffee bitter. On the other hand, if you grind too coarse. It will increase water flow and decrease the extraction time. In the end, you’ll get under-extracted coffee. It will taste flat and will have a body like water. Use this information to adjust correctly.     

Auto drip 

Most accessible and straightforward way to brew a delicious cup of coffee. And when it comes to peaberry coffee, auto-drip is the best way to brew without putting too much of the effort. Auto drip will extract enough acidity and body and will highlight fruitiness. This method is suitable for any roast of peaberry beans. The downside of the auto-drip coffee machines it may not be as consistent in the long term as it requires regular maintenance. Lack of adjusting water flow water temperature may prevent to extract the best out of coffee beans. However, I still consider it is the best way if you don’t have barista knowledge and skills.

Pour-over   

Now, if you don’t mind to spend 5 minutes to create a masterpiece cup of coffee. Then pour over is the ultimate way to brew peaberry coffee. Pour-over method allows you to control the temperature of the water, the flow of the water, time of extracting. You may end up spending a few days to develop the profile. Pour over with the right settings will obtain the best out of light to medium roast of peaberry beans. I wouldn’t suggest to brew dark roast in pour-over. Due to lack of acid and flavor in dark roast. The downside is required more effort on your part. There is a learning curve. And that the reason you pay around $5 per cup at a coffee shop.

French Press

French press another way you can consider to brew peaberry coffee. It is simple and has less learning curve. It is suitable best for medium to dark roast of peaberry beans. I wouldn’t recommend for light roast since the french press tend to over-extract acidity. In light, coffee roast acidity presents more than medium or dark roast. Downside still required to put time and effort. On average, you’ll spend around 5 min to make a cup of coffee.

Which Peaberry coffee should I buy?

Many places offer pure peaberry  beans. But for some odd reasons, only a few recognized in the US. Most popular peaberry coffee comes from Tanzania. Tanzania has been increasing the export of coffee in 2019 to the US. There is a high demand for peaberry coffee, and Tanzania is the most recognized name when it comes to peaberry beans. Kenya also is known for its peaberry. It may be harder to find, but thanks to eCommerce, this problem can be resolved by searching online. Don’t mind paying the premium? Hawaiian Kona peaberry available on the market for around $50. 

Peaberry coffee at RocKaffe.

At RocKaffe, currently, we offer Tanzanian peaberry. We grow our inventory rapidly, and near the future, we are planning to add Costa Rican and Kenyan Peaberry. Our promise to deliver the freshest coffee on the market. We roast and ship on the same day. Sign up for newsletter to receive updates and discounts. 

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