What is Peaberry?

by Whole Latte Love Updated: March 12, 2019 2 min read
CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive promotions and regular updates on everything coffee!

Peaberry is a type of coffee bean. Normally, the fruit of the coffee plant, called cherry, develops a coffee bean from two fertilized seeds within each cherry. However, sometimes only one of the two seeds gets fertilized, which results in an undersized bean with a tiny crevice that splits in half. The small oval bean is known as a “Peaberry”. Typically, around 5% of all coffee beans harvested are peaberry variety.

Called Peaberry in English and Caracoli in Spanish, these beans are often separated from normal-shaped beans and sold as a separate grade of the same coffee. Peaberry grades are considered superior to normal grades from the same crop, on the basis that, in Peaberries, all the flavor compounds that ordinarily goes into a double bean goes into only one bean. Typically, the Peaberry is more buoyant and more brightly acidic, more complex in the upper aromatic ranges of the profile but somewhat lighter in body, than normally shaped beans.

How Do They Taste?

The Peaberry beans are widely known to roast better than regular flat coffee beans. Peaberries roast more evenly since they don’t have sharp edges. They roll around in the roasting chamber easier resulting in a more even roast. They also have a higher bean density which improves the heat transfer in the roasting process.

As a coffee roaster of 7 years, I had the opportunity to purchase some really good peaberry coffee. One particular peaberry coffee I’ve been fond of is the Tanzanian Peaberry. The Peaberry that I roasted had some really bold flavors, with chocolate notes and some hints of spices. When working with peaberry I roast the beans to a dark roast to unsure that I’d get the full flavors out of the bean. I slow roasted the coffee at a lower temperature for the first stage of the roasting process, this allowes the coffee to be roasted from the inside out. For the second stage of the roasting process, I turned up the roaster to a higher temperature and roasted the coffee to the second crack.

Coffee will crack just like popcorn. The first crack starts out at around 400°F and the second crack at around 450°F. Most medium coffees are dumped out of the roaster before the second crack. How long you roast the coffee after the second crack determines how dark the roast will be.

After the coffee comes out of the roaster, it will need to degas for at least 24 hours. This process changes the taste of the coffee since it releases the gases that are trapped in the bean.

So there, we now know what Peaberry is. Have you had Peaberry coffee? If so, how does the taste differ from “normal” coffee?

We carry a peaberry here at Whole Latte Love that you really need to try, J Martinez Tanzania Kilimanjaro Peaberry.