Peaberry: A Love Story

Peaberry: A Love Story

Tom Maegdlin4/24/23

If you're a coffee lover, you have probably dabbled in the much-beloved Peaberry. This coveted type of coffee is unique because it is essentially a natural accident in biology. Unlike regular beans, which grow two seeds per cherry, a Peaberry only has one. This results in a smaller, rounder bean with a higher concentration of flavor.

How does Peaberry form?

A cross-sections of a Peaberry vs. a standard coffee cherry, Photo source Big Island Coffee Roasters.

From a botanical perspective, Peaberry coffee forms due to a natural mutation that occurs during the development of the coffee cherry. In regular coffee cherries, there are typically two seeds that develop and mature side by side. However, in Peaberry cherries, only one of the seeds is fertilized, resulting in a single, round bean. This happens because one of the two ovules in the coffee flower fails to develop, leaving only one ovule to be fertilized. The resulting Peaberry bean has a higher concentration of flavor compounds because the same amount of flavor compounds are now concentrated in a single bean instead of being spread out over two. This makes Peaberry coffee a unique and sought-after variety in the coffee world.

Peaberry coffee is grown in various regions, including Tanzania, Kenya, and Hawaii. Tanzanian Peaberry coffee is the most well-known and widely produced. The coffee is grown in the Kilimanjaro region and is known for its bright acidity and sweet flavor notes. Kenyan Peaberry coffee is also highly sought after, with a rich, bold flavor profile that's perfect for those who enjoy a stronger cup of coffee. In Hawaii, Peaberry coffee is grown on the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa and is known for its smooth, buttery taste. While Peaberry coffee may be harder to find and (sometimes) pricier than regular coffee, its unique flavor profile makes it a worthwhile indulgence for any coffee lover.

-Tom "Tommy Hansa" Maegdlin