With Jua, our new Tanzania peaberry arriving this week, we wanted to answer a couple questions you may have about peaberry coffee.
What does peaberry coffee mean?
Coffee begins as a fruit on a coffee plant. Inside this fruit are two seeds that face each other creating a flat face to face side and a rounded back side matching the natural curvature of the fruit. A peaberry bean or seed, occurs when a mutation happens inside an individual coffee fruit where only one of the seeds inside germinates. This creates a full and round single bean instead of two uniform half mooned shaped beans.
It is still not understood why this happens, but peaberry mutations make up about 5% of the average crop. Meaning that If you look closely, you may find a round little peaberry inside your coffee bag among the normal beans.
Why is peaberry coffee so expensive?
A “peaberry coffee” means the coffee producer had the peaberries from the harvest hand sorted and segregated from the rest. This extra costly labor may explain higher than average prices.
Peaberry coffees are not necessarily restricted by origin. The reason many peaberry coffee varieties come from East Africa is because in countries like Kenya and Tanzania, they take extra time and labor to hand sort in hopes of a really special coffee, not because they produce more peaberries than average.
Is peaberry coffee better?
There is a lot of argument over whether or not peaberries taste better and it is commonly said that peaberry coffees tend to have a sweeter, fuller taste with lively acidity. This is believed to be true because the sugars absorbed from the coffee fruit are condensed into one bean versus two, but there is no scientific study to support this claim. In Jua, our Tanzanian peaberry we found this lively acidity bright like sunshine with a beautiful sweetness of bakers chocolate.
The fact that peaberries consist of 5% of a regular crop makes them that much more special and though we cannot substantiate the claims of this mutation affecting cup quality, the current example we are drinking of this is proving those myths right.